Inspection Failed to Notice HVAC Pipes Under High Pressure

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Inspection Failed to Notice HVAC Pipes Under High Pressure

I recently purchased a home and found that the air conditioning system was extraordinarily loud. Both our realtor and the inspector gave two thumbs that everything was okay. My wife and I wanted to quiet the system down so we got some HVAC guys to come over. Upon hearing the sound when the system was on, they mentioned that is too loud and shouldn’t sound that way. In addition, the air conditioning unit sounded incredibly loud as well. They had suggested that we replace the furnace with a newer, variable speed unit which would be much quieter. In addition, we had a second opinion from another HVAC company and they also mentioned that the system is incredibly loud and shouldn’t sound that way. When the HVAC guys removed the old furnace, they noticed there was a brand new evaporator coil installed, but the housing was all screwed up. The intake opening to the coil was normal, but the exhaust opening was a small cutout, basically creating massive back pressure within the ducting. In addition, they also noticed the freon piping vibrating extraordinarily. The HVAC guys went to check the pressure in the piping and discovered that was it was just over 500psi They explained to us that pressure as high as that, there could have been quite a large explosion if the pipes gave out or a special valve within the evaporator coil which has a max PSI rating. The reason for the high pressure? The system was overloaded with freon. The reason for the overloaded freon? The poor evaporator coil housing causing reduced cooling effectiveness and forcing the evaporator coil to freeze, the freon was the solution for this issue. In addition, it seems that the evaporator coil was also undersized compared to the air conditioning unit itself. So why was the evaporator coil new? Before we bought the house, the old air conditioner broke down. The seller replaced the air conditioner before the purchase date which, I guess, included the replacement of the evaporator coil. The inspector that came to look at the house ran the air conditioning system after the new air conditioner was put in and, apparently, wasn’t bothered by the extremely loud air HVAC operation. Again, they claimed that everything is okay. In addition, they didn’t even notice the freon pipes violently vibrating right next to the furnace Both HVAC experts we had invited could immediately tell there was something wrong with the HVAC system. The team that actually installed our new furnace was that one that ended up going outside and check the pressure within the pipes. In the end, my wife and I spend our own money to replace the furnace, evaporator coil, coil housing, move ducting and install insulation under the floor. It is not fair that non-experts, such as myself, was able to identify that something is wrong with the system and needs to be fixed and a professional inspector couldn’t be bothered to check. The inspector simply walked around and put inspection tags on everything without bothering to examine. This is my wife and mine’s safety I am talking about. If you have ever seen a tire blow on the highway, that is only around 35 psi, our pipes were just over 500 psi. Do I have any legal right to claim some sort of compensation for the repairs I have made? Repairs that would have otherwise been done by the seller prior to purchase? I have contacted my realtor they recommended the inspection company I used with no response. I have contacted the inspector’s area manager, also with no response.

Asked on September 28, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the inspector and realtor for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable inspector/ reasonable realtor would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Your damages (monetary compensation) for negligence would be the cost of repairs you have incurred and any other items caused by the negligent acts of the realtor and inspector.
You can sue the seller for fraud.  Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent to induce your reliance upon which you justifiably relied to your detriment.
In other words, you would not have purchased the house had you known the true facts regarding the HVAC system.
Fraud is also applicable in cases of nondisclosure of a material fact by the seller which the buyer could not have reasonably discovered prior to purchase.
Your damages (monetary compensation) in a lawsuit for fraud against the seller would be either benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means that a defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property purchased regardless of the fact that the actual loss suffered might have been less.
Out of pocket determination for damages for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the property acquired.
You would file one lawsuit naming the seller, realtor and inspector as defendants.
 


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