With the turn of the calendar, Americans in much of the country are moving closer to air conditioner season, when units seem to run all day just to keep the summer heat away.
It’s important that central air conditioners be maintained in good working condition, especially since supply chain issues and rising demand might mean a lengthy delay before a repair can be made or a new installation becomes available.
But an analysis of online reviews on ConsumerAffairs and other online forums reveals a pattern of issues with some models of Lennox residential central air conditioner units. The most common problem cited is the presence of leaks in evaporator coils.
Consumers cite expensive and frequent repairs
A central air conditioner works by drawing warm air through a home’s ductwork and across an evaporator coil that is filled with coolant. This removes the heat from the air before returning it to the ducts. Kira, of Spring Hill, Fla., uses her air conditioner system all year round. She told us that she replaced her air conditioner with a Lennox model in 2018.
She said the unit was problematic from the start, requiring annual service that usually came in the form of a hot water flush to get rid of mildew and keep the system running. The unit apparently stopped working again last December, so Kira called her regular service provider.
“We expected another flush was needed and called the guy out to do the usual work,” Kira wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “Except this time, he said the coolant was low and we likely had a leak. We paid the $250 to have him check just to confirm that yes, we needed a new coil at a whopping $1,600 cost!”
Kira said the new part was covered under the company’s warranty, but she said the service technician told her she still had to pay $1,600 for labor to have it installed. “I'm livid that a 4-year-old AC unit has major parts breaking when I haven't even finished paying it off,” she wrote.
Jeffrey, of Spring, Texas, told us that he also had to replace the coil on his unit last summer because it was leaking. He said the unit was only installed in 2019.
“Called different service company -- was told coil indeed needed to be replaced -- 2 years in service,” Jeffrey said.
ConsumerAffairs contacted Lennox’s media relations department with a request for comment on these issues. The company did not respond to a request for comment on the issue by the time of this article’s publication.
Uncoated copper tubing
Michael Clarke, the founder of a home services app called Pulled, told us he is familiar with the issue that consumers have reported. He said the problem comes down to the tubing that Lennox uses.
“Lennox uses uncoated copper tubing inside their systems, while most other manufacturers have switched to aluminum coils,” Clarke told ConsumerAffairs. “Because the copper tubing used today is so much thinner than years ago due to cost-cutting from competition, the coils fail much faster and oftentimes the air conditioner units stop blowing cold air.”
Clarke confirmed that consumers will probably need to pay an expensive bill if their coil fails. He said certain failures require the entire coil system to be replaced, which can cost upwards of $1,400.
Problems persist despite legal action
Issues related to Lennox units are well-documented and have already been tied to one massive legal settlement. In late 2015, the company settled a class-action lawsuit (Thomas v. Lennox) for $1,250,000, with payments made to consumers who “purchased on or after October 29, 2007 through July 9, 2015 at least one uncoated copper tube Lennox brand, Aire-Flo brand, Armstrong Air brand, AirEase brand, Concord brand, or Ducane brand evaporator coil.”
Unfortunately, consumers who weren’t aware of the lawsuit continued to hire Lennox to install systems that they eventually had trouble with. Yulia, of Gardena, Calif., told us back in 2019 that she had a hard time working with Lennox to resolve her issues.
“We purchased a Lennox system about 3 years ago not knowing that there's a class action suit against them. Our system has a faulty evaporator coil unit that leaks. But it's been a real pain to get Lennox to do the right thing. They've been extremely evasive, irresponsible, and frustrating to deal with. Their product is obviously inferior and unreliable,” Yulia said.
“They cut corners to boost their profit margin by reducing the wall thickness of the copper tubing. And this contributed to the premature failure of the system. As long as I live I would never allow myself and everyone in my family to spend money on Lennox ever again.”