Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Samsung Refrigerator RF263AEBP

Our new refrigerator has had a loose handle for a month or so. There is a very small set screw that holds the door handle on. It has come loose. I tried tightening it myself, but I don't have the right size allen wrench. Today, it came off.

It has a 1 year warranty, so I called Samsung up and asked them to send me the correct size wrench. The first person I talked to said that the refrigerator shipped with the allen wrench, I would have to pay for a new one. I did receive an allen wrench, but it is large and is for taking the doors off the refrigerator, not for tightening the set screw on the handle. I explain all this and the representative says they don't cover damage due to abuse. I claim defect in workmanship and she claims abuse. Obviously an impasse, so I request a manager and I'm put on hold. For a very long time. I explain everything to the manager and he gives me a part number and tells me I have to pay for it because one was included with the refrigerator...Argh.

I then proceeded in my calmest voice to say, "This refrigerator is approximately 6 months old. I have a warranty that states it is covered for 1 year for defects in material and workmanship. I am requesting a warranty call to repair a defect in workmanship." Which must have been the magic words because he gave me another number and told me I would be hearing from their service people in 1 or 2 business days.

So let's recap, he could have spent a couple bucks to send me an allen wrench but he instead chose to make it a service call which will cost Samsung ten times that...Total time on the phone to get the problem fixed - 32 minutes.

UPDATE: Received a call from Samsung. They're sending a 7/32" allen wrench so I can do the repair myself. This representative said he didn't want to send a person to replace the whole door, which is what they would likely do. This guy just saved his company some cash.

Update: In the end, I received a brand new stainless steel handle (my refrigerator is black) and a couple of other things that come with refrigerator. I ended up buying a set of english allen wrenches and tightening the screw myself. Great job Samsung! Wonderful warranty program you've got there.

Update: Samsung called and asked if I wanted to buy an extended warranty on the refrigerator. Umm...NO!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do Not Install Solar Hot Water

While I love the idea of getting free hot water from the sun, in practice, it leaves a lot to be desired. My system was installed almost two years ago and is already facing major problems. The glass on the collectors has clouded over with some sort of white film on the underside of the glass. Here are the pictures I sent to SOLARHOT, the manufacturer.

They have offered to honor their warranty. All I have to do is get the 4' x 10' collectors off my roof and to their facility in North Carolina for an inspection, where they will repair, replace, or charge me to fix depending on the outcome of their investigation, then I can transport the panels back to my home and reinstall them on my roof. I'm estimating it will cost several thousand dollars to remove the panels, ship them to NC, and then reinstall when they are done.

They did say it would probably be better if I removed the glass and cleaned it with KABOOM. Which looks all well and good when the panels are flat on the ground, but not on a pitched roof.

Bottom line: DO NOT purchase a solar water heating system. If you want to save money on your heating costs, buy a hybrid heat pump water heater like the ones by Rheem and GE. These cost around $1500 and install like a regular hot water heater which means your plumber can do it for a couple hundred bucks. My SOLARHOT equipment costs were over $3800 plus another $3k or $4k for install. A hybrid hot water heater would have been about a quarter of the cost, would have saved me about the same in electricity, and would have provided maintenance free hot water.