Furnace leaves family without Heat for almost all of December!

But baby, it’s cold inside: Furnace woes put chill on couple’s new home purchase

Article by Tyler Dawson, from the Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — After three chilly weeks without a working furnace in their new home, and a Christmas Day spent cuddling for warmth, an Ottawa couple are more than a little frustrated.

Julien Benoit and his partner, Melissa Prevost, took possession of their new house in Leslie Park on Dec. 4, and ever since they have seemingly run into one piece of bad luck after another. Direct Energy has tried to help them out, but it’s taken several weeks to get everything sorted.

At this point, Benoit and Prevost are mostly moved in, with a few boxes left unpacked, and a stack of pictures in a nook that haven’t been hung. Their two-year-old mini-schnauzer, Magdalene, runs around the house, barking like crazy when the doorbell rings.

“We had planned to do our first ever Christmas party at the new house,” Benoit told the Citizen.

“And housewarming,” Prevost interjected.

“We had to cancel everything. We had started preparing, but it just fell through,” Benoit said. There are young kids, and a new baby in their extended family, and they didn’t think a Christmas party in the cold would be a good idea.

As of Friday, it had been over three weeks that they haven’t had heat in their house.

After the big move the weekend after they took posession, the couple discovered the furnace wasn’t working.

On Dec. 9, a technician came out to look at the furnace. Billing them $184.75 for the visit, the technician told the couple they needed to replace a sensor in the furnace.

While they were waiting for parts to come in, Direct Energy promised it would send heaters. Benoit and Prevost say they were offered six. Two arrived, so they bought some, and borrowed some from Prevost’s parents.

Jeff Lanthier, manager of external relations with Direct Energy, explained that many heaters have been tied up due to the ice storm that swept through Ontario and Quebec last week.

By Dec. 13, the sensor had come in, and a technician came to replace it.

It was then that Benoit said they found out it was not the sensor that was broken; it was the heat exchanger.

Benoit and Prevost were then quoted around $700 for a new heat exchanger.

“We asked them to refund the $184 we had paid to have someone come out and tell us the wrong thing,” Benoit said.

Lanthier confirmed to the Citizen there would be a rebate given to Benoit and Prevost on their Enbridge bill, as a refund for the service and attempted fixes that hadn’t worked.

“We went in and when we were there, we did a quick fix, and we knew full well that it was the heat exchanger and we advised the customer of that,” Lanthier said.

The repair to the sensor was intended to hold Benoit and Prevost over until the heat exchanger could be tracked down.

Twelve days later — on Christmas Day, in fact — Alex Seaman, who works in the office of the Direct Energy president, informed them that the heat exchanger was no longer being made, Benoit said.

Then, finally, Friday morning, the company said it had actually managed to locate a heat exchanger. It was in Tennessee.

A company representative spoke with Benoit and Prevost on Friday about their options, whether or not they would just buy a new furnace or wait for the part to arrive.

“We love the house. But, the whole furnace thing has definitely taken out a lot of the joy of being a home owner, because we’ve hit a wall that we were not prepared to deal with, and it’s been really stressful, really frustrating, we’ve sunk a lot of money into this that we hadn’t planned on spending,” Benoit said.

Article by Tyler Dawson, from the Ottawa Citizen

A few Hogg Tips to try and avoid this from happening to you:

1. When purchasing a house the top 3 things to look at are Heating/Cooling Units, Roofs and Windows. The “Big 3” are most often the most overlooked items in the house and cost the most to replace.

2. Always get a great house inspector, if they cost more it is worth the return. If you don’t know of anyone ask your realtor. They should know the good ones.

3. Check the furnace for prior preventative maintenance inspections, tune-ups and warranties (Should be on stickers). Ask to have a licensed, honest, trustworthy service technician come in and inspect the furnace if there is anything in question.

4. If a new furnace is needed read the fine print on the warranty. Most warranties on most brands only cover limited replacement parts and very seldom do they cover labour. See our other blogs on Brand Comparison. For example, the American Standard Furnace warranty covers parts and labour for 10 years.

5. The quality of a service technicians work is key. They should be licensed, insured and have the experience to work on your equipment.

If you have any questions, concerns or require additional information please feel free to comment below or contact us at any of the sources provided. info@hoggmechanical.com, 519.579.5330, Twitter @HoggMechanical, Facebook Hogg Heating & Air Conditioning

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