A/C Lines in the Attic


How do you guys deal with a homeowner that is holding you responsible for a nail puncture in an a/c line? We do not have x-ray vision to see that when the lines were ran, there wasn’t a metal plate installed to protect the line from roofing nails. He says" You’re the professional, your guys punctured the line, you have to fix it. How do I respond when clearly the home should not have passed the mechanical inspection when it was built? ( no plate where lines change to vaulted ceiling)

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I have paid.

It is like pissing in the wind. The longer you do it the more gets on you.

Pay it and get out of the wind.



If it isn’t covered in your contract or disclosures you gave the homeowner (best is in the contract), then just pay it.

Then make sure you put it in the upfront paperwork for the future. It’s amazing what crooks customers can be.




How does that make the customer a crook?



Pay it and move on.

I know it hurts cuase its not your fault, but it is your problem. Fix it and forget it.




How does that make the customer a crook?[/quote]

When a customer tries to make you pay for something that is outside the scope of the job, and is the result of something that was done improperly by someone else, and when all would have been fine if the “something” had been properly (and should be expected to have been done properly) in the first place, then that customer is conning/stealing/extorting from you. That makes him a crook.



To customers, perception is reality. If you had advised or warned in advance that he was taking a chance, then you’d have a shot. But now, his perception is he had AC line that worked just fine, you showed up, and now he doesn’t. He now believes you should take care of it. I don’t see how his mind will change at this point.

If it were me and knowing that at this point the job is most likely a loss, I would atleast try and make a reference out of this guy. In other words, not only pay to have the AC lines fixed, but take him out to dinner or gift certificate to a nice place to eat that he likes.(or something similar). The goal would be to go above and beyond his expectations so that you can refer future potential customers to him re: when contractors have issues…a very powerful method of advertising. This is the only way I see to get something out of this.



I didn’t think about going above his expectations and possibly making a great reference. Thanks



Hi Neville,

He seen which bay the ac lines were in. If he trusted an hvac guy and an inspector to do the right thing. Then it is his fault.



I agree with d531, even “trash can be recycled and turned into something good”. A good experience to learn from. I always take the extra time to access the attics of the house I bid for( if possible) I know sometimes is a new famliy who just purchased the home and have a closed attic, they just dont know whats in between. By checking the attics you will find how far apart the beams and rafters are installed,structure soundness, ac units, mildew presence,antiques and valuables( oh yeah!!, believe me I had issues before with a piece of roof tear hitting old grandmas wedding dress) type of substrate( dont just trust people who just tell you they got half inch plywood on their roof over the phone) I hate surprises and customers hate them too.I would rather take 5 minutes and check the attics, than one full day fixing something at my cost for being careless.



take lefty’s advise.now you know the new question to ask your future customers dont you!



This is not really a case of it being anybody’s “fault”.
It is unfortunate that this happened to you but you should just fix it and make it right.
You can probably turn it in to your liability carrier for reimbursement if you wish.
This is why we carry liability insurance.

Even if you religiously check the attics you will eventually miss something on some job at some time.
Guys on here that say they see every issue everytime are full of chit.
Not every attic is accessible, even the ones that are do you really climb up into the attic and inspect every truss/rafter?
Is it even possible?



out of nearly 2,000 roofing jobs last year, we hit A/C lines 5 times total.

we also hit our first one this year, about two weeks ago.

we ALWAYS fix it. in a contract, or not, the customer only sees it one way. “it was working fine before you were here, you fix it”

ive had customers upset, but they ALL understand. its all on how the situation is handled.

D531 hit the nail right on the head.



I have had to deal with this two times. Fix it. Be done with it. Apologize.

Also once had a new guy cover up the AC unit with plywood during a tear off so nothing would get in it. He forgot to take it off and it quit working. Luckily for me my ladys brother in law is an HVAC guy. That saved my toosh.



I have done this many times installing siding and installing plates and screws in flat roofs.

It is not your fault. But it is your problem.

A good contractor will fix it no questions asked.



I have no experience with this but I would like to learn what to watch out for. What AC line? We are almost exclusively electric heat around here, it may not apply.



AC = Air Conditioner.



the one that happened 2 weeks ago to us, was on a 2 story house, and the AC lines were between the bedroom wall upstairs, and the decking.

it was either rip out the drywall, or tear the decking off in that area.

we tore the decking off.



thanks axiom for that wealth of knowledge. i thought it stood for Air Craft. Oh wait is that one word air…



Ok sorry not trying to be a wiseass. i guess what I was trying to understand is why an AC line, which stands for Air Condtioner, would be run anywhere near a roof deck. I’ve never had a problem but I think most guys here have done substantially more roofing than me.