Water Source Heat Pumps

Recently, we attended a seminar on Water Source Heat Pumps (WSHPs). It seems that the HVAC industry is pushing the installation of WSHPs, in commercial buildings, in order to help reduce green house gas emissions. In effect, WSHPs are taking the place of gas fired furnaces and boilers. Why should the insurance industry be concerned? As shown in the diagrams below, WSHPs use a water loop, much like a chilled water cooling system, to transfer heat to or from the space to be cooled or heated. The amount of piping used in these systems indicates that the volume of water can amount to hundreds of gallons, depending on the size of the building. If a leak occurs, the cost to repair can extend into the hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Similary, the cost to repair or replace property can extend into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Possible causes of water leakage can include faulty workmanship by the installing contractor and defective materials used during installation.

Water loop used in water source heat pump systems

Beware of Dishonest A/C Dealers

From time to time we have reported on air conditioning companies that are less than honest in their dealings with the public. Recently, we had a case where a homeowner had some wood siding replaced with a masonry exterior. During the installation process, some refrigerant lines were punctured by nails from a nail gun. The refrigerant subsequently leaked from two systems and wasn’t discovered until warm weather arrived and the cooling units were needed. According to the dealer, the compressors in both systems were damaged as a result of the refrigerant leak and subsequently justified the replacement of both split systems. Both systems were replaced at a cost of $12,000. However, upon investigating, the cost of repairing the damage and placing both systems back into operation was found to have been much less than the cost of installing two new split system heat pumps. The cost to repair was estimated at approximately $2000. In short, the insurance carrier for the masonry company was only willing to pay for the cost of repair, not the replacement. Since the homeowner had approved the installation, the homeowner was responsible for the additional cost of the installation above the cost of repair. It is unfortuunate, but, there are dealers out there and when they smell an insurance claim, there prices tend to escalate accordingly. Before, agreeing to any kind of replacement, get several estimates for comparison. That way, if you, the homeowner, have to pay anything out of pocket, you can at least have some warnning rather than a rude awakening.

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