This will be my review of Antartica Mechanical Services, Inc., which I ended up using when my Rheem air conditioner failed. Rheem RA1660AJ1NA – Classic 5 Ton 16 SEER Condenser, 208-230 Volt, 1 Phase, 60 Hz.
About three years ago I had to replace my previous Rheem air conditioner. After 16 loyal and hard working years of service in the South Florida heat, it finally failed. Since the previous AC unit worked so well, I decided to again go with another Rheem unit.
The Rheem AC unit was not installed by Antartica. After three years from installation, the compressor failed. There is an old saying, they just don’t make things like they used to.
Luckily I had previously purchased an Artic King portable AC unit which I keep in my home office.
How I figured it was the AC Compressor
I had noticed that my Air conditioner was not cooling as it once was and over the last two months my electric bill had increased a bit. But it is summer, and I did have some house guests over for about two weeks. When I noticed the house felt hot, i checked the AC thermostat. It read 85 degrees in the house, but set to 78 degrees. The fan was working, I can hear it. Checked the fuses in the electrical panel and one of the AC Fuse for the outside unit was tripped. I shutdown both the AC fuses, and shut down the AC at the thermostat.
After a few minutes I reset the fuses, and had my wife turn on the AC at the thermostat. I heard the compressor try to turn, the fan spun for a second, and then I heard the fuse trip. This is normally an indication that they AC compressor failed and is locked.
Researching and Calling AC companies
Rheem provides a ten year parts warranty, but you have to pay the labor to replace the failed parts.
Before calling AC repair companies I wanted to do some research and have an idea of the scope of work required to replace the compressor on the Rheem AC unit. Watch a couple of youtube videos and they all said pretty much the same. Drain the fluids from the lines, unsolder the AC compressor, unscrew the compressor and replace. There was a of diagnosing that needed to be done to determined if the fluid was contaminated and if it was there might be more parts to replace. This is because when the compressor fails it could send particles throughout the AC system and cause further damage. You need an AC repair technician.
To replace the compressor you also need to replace the R-410A refrigerant in the AC system. I check and the R-410A refrigerant is available on Amazon and Ebay, average about $120 for a 25 pound bottle. You want to make sure it’s not made in China, as the quality is not the same.
Prepared with some knowledge, let’s call some AC repair companies in Miami and Fort Lauderdale and get some pricing.
Getting quotes for AC Repair
Right away, I felt like the AC business was a dirty and most of these AC contractor were just out to take advantage of the situation. They knew I was hot, they know it’s Summer and they know I want my AC fixed. But I am not the average consumer.
I called several South Florida AC repair companies getting quotes.
First AC company I called did not want to give me a quote to replace my AC and said that they needed to send out a AC repair technician to diagnose the AC repair before they could give me a quote. THIS IS THE TRICK – AC Repair companies have a service call charge, normally $49 to $99. Once they come to your house you are on the hook for that service charge. Now they diagnose and since they know that you already owe them money for the AC diagnostic, you are not likely to check with other AC companies and will take they price. Not with me.
I told them no, I want a quote as to what you would charge me to replace the AC compressor, which is under warranty, on my Rheem 5ton system, and have my system back to functioning property.
Two Air Conditioning companies said they would not give me an estimate over the phone, even after I explained the process I went through to diagnose my conclusion. Obviously they did not want my business.
One Air conditioning repair company said it would be $1200 to replace the Air Conditioner compressor. And most of the AC repair companies were between $550 and $800.
Antartica Mechanical Services was at $500. I had spoke with Nicole on the phone (954-927-2000) who was very nice. She said she would call me back with the estimate, and did within minutes.
Antartica Mechanical Services to the rescue… (Well Sorta…)
After collecting all my ac repair quotes, I called back and schedule an appointment with Antartica for the AC repair.
Ever looked at beautiful apple tree with all these beautiful apples, and there is one rotten one?
Roberto Arencibia was that rotten apple. Roberto Arencibia arrived at my house in Pembroke Pines about 30 minutes early, which was great. After his assistant had removed the R-41oA from my Rheem AC, Roberto says that he would need to replace several parts inside the AC unit because the compressor had damaged the filters, and expansion valves. He now says that he would not be able to do the work for the agreed $500, he would need to charge me $700.
He never even once looked at the fluid that was removed from my AC, nor test that fluid for contamination.
This was clearly a price hike (Bait and Switch) from an unscrupulous AC technician. Roberto Arencibia is apparently an AC sub-contractor for Antartica Mechanical Services.
I called Nicole right away and she spoke with Robert. He said he would refuse to do the work and that it was too much labor for the work needed. Before any further communication Roberto Arencibia left my property, never replaced the R-410A fluid that was removed, left the valve covers on the floor, and left my side wood gate open which hit one of the vehicle parked in my driveway (no real damage).
Nicole from Antartica Mechanical Services quickly apologized and reschedule for one of their AC technicians to come to my house to do the work for the agreed upon price.
The Next Day
Xavier Lobo arrived on time, even text me 15 minutes prior to his arrival to let me know he was on the way. What a different experience, Xavier Lobo was honest, quick, very clean and organized and a true quality AC technician. He replaced my AC compressor, made sure it was cooling correctly and even carried great conversation with me making sure I was informed about this AC repair process.
Xavier Lobo complete the job, stayed until he noticed that the Air Conditioner was properly cooling the house and then gave me the bill. $500 as agreed, and he even gave me a warranty on his air conditioning repair services.
Overall Review of Antartica Mechanical Services
I think the price quoted by Antartica Air Conditioning was very fair, their customer service was good (Thank you Nicole). Xavier Lobo is an outstanding Air Conditioning technician and Person.
Thanks to those two at Antartica Mechanical service I was able to write this review in my now cool home, currently 73 degrees (in Pembroke Pines heat)
I might consider using the air conditioning services of Antartica – as long as they don’t send AC Tech Roberto Arencibia.