This lawsuit alleges that Goodman Amana violated state consumer protection laws and express and implied warranties with certain of its air conditioners, because the air conditioners’ evaporator coils were prone to leaking. The action covers people and entities in Florida who bought these Goodman Amana products from July 1, 2006 through February 2, 2012, and who suffered damages because of the leaking refrigerant.
The plaintiff alleges that evaporator coils used in the products were defective and that they developed leaks prematurely under normal use. Buyers of these air conditioners have therefore had to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to diagnose and repair the problems and to replace the leaked refrigerant.
The life expectancy of central air conditioning units is thought to be about fifteen years. Consumers can thus expect them to work for about ten years, or even longer, without needing major repairs.
An air conditioner’s evaporator coil is made up of piping filled with a refrigerant. As air passes over the coil, the coil takes heat from the air, and the cooler air is sent back out. An air conditioner should never use up or run out of refrigerant because the refrigerant is simply a medium used to transfer heat from the inside to the outside of a building. The only way refrigerant is lost is through a leak in the system.
The plaintiffs allege that the evaporator coils in Goodman products leaked because the copper tubing was too thin and prematurely corroded and had holes or cracks. They point out that chemicals common in indoor air, such as formaldehyde from cleaning products, can convert to formic acid in the copper coil and cause pinholes that allow the refrigerant to leak.
Also, the Clean Air Act of 1990 required that the refrigerant Freon be phased out in air conditioning systems, and that more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient substances be used. However, these newer refrigerants operate a much higher pressures than Freon. According to the complaint, this worsened the leakage problem with Goodman air conditioners.
The complaint quotes numerous online postings from buyers (and even HVAC technicians) who have had leakage problems with the Goodman products; some mention having to make the same repair more than once. The complaint alleges that one Goodman dealer said that 80% of the Goodman products handled by his company had had leakage problems. It also alleges that, for a time, Goodman offered some of its distributors an allowance of $300 per unit because it knew how widespread the leakage problems were.
Despite the vulnerability of the copper coils, Goodman’s warranty only offered to replace defective parts. It did not cover the expenses of having HVAC repair people diagnose the problem and install the new parts, or the cost of replacement refrigerant.