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Question DetailsAsked on 8/20/2016

CAN YOU TELL HOW LONG AN AC UNIT HAS BEEN LEAKING FREON?

OUR INSURANCE IS REFUSING TO PAY FOR AC REPAIRS BECAUSE THEY SAY IT'S BEEN LEAKING FREON FOR A LONG TIME. WE DIDN'T KNOW UNTIL WE TURNED IT ON AND IT WOULDN'T COOL THE HOUSE. THEY'RE SAYING ITS A PREEXISTING CONDITION.

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Ways to tell how long it has been leaking:


1) prior tests/inspections/servicing visits where the pressure was checked or refrigerant was topped off, providing a time point where it was in a known state - i.e. had a certain pressure in the system. Would of course involve finding who serviced it in the past few years.


2) at the leak point, if the surrounding area is quite clean and not crudded up with dust mixed with the oil, that would indicate it is a pretty new leak - though no definitive time on that - likely days or weeks, not months or years but depends on how much dust is in surrounding air.


Homeowner's insurance would almost never pay for an A/C leak - they pay for near-instantaneous "damage" or "loss" of an immediate nature like storm or fire damage or leaks causing damage to the house or possessions - almost always never cover long-term deterioration or failure of appliances or such.


Home "Warranty" companies, which they DO cover major appliance failures, commonly play the long-term failure or pre-existing card to get out of paying - but then denying allowable claims is how they maximize their profits. Do a dated and signed written statement (signed by a friend or neighbor also is even better) stating that the unit has been working fine for X period of time and now does not cool, hence was NOT a pre-existing condition and you demand they pay for the repair (assuming A/C repair is a covered service under your agreement). Then it would be incumbent on THEM to prove it was a pre-existing problem - which they obviously not only cannot do, but because they issued the policy they accepted the equipment as in operating condition when they wrote the policy.


If this house is new to you and you did not test the unit when you bought the house (a mistake unless it was winter and too cold to run it but that is unlikely if you are just turning it on now), then no one could know whether it was a pre-existing condition unless the prior owner fessed up to that. Which if he knew that and did not disclose it in the disclosure statement (assuming one was done or is required in your area) could make HIM liable for the repair.


Also check if your home inspector (if you used one) tested the unit or noted in his report that it was non-functional. That would be a pretty definitive statement on whether this is a new issue or not, is he was able to test it.


But bottom line - unless they can prove it was pre-existing, they have to cover it if a covered item in the contract at the time they issued it, assuming this is a home warranty plan rather than Homeowner's Insurance.


If something that should be covered (per above items) and they balk, start mentioning the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission - they do NOT want them on their case and will usually come through. Or if not interstate company, mention going to your state consumer protection agency.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD




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