Home System Failure

What is commonly termed a “home system” is nothing more than one of the many connected appliances that keep a home livable and comfortable. This includes everything from a home’s air conditioning and heating system to the home’s theater and alarm systems. If these home systems are installed, removed, or repaired improperly, the value and livability of a home can be drastically affected. Powers Taylor assist clients with the following claims:

  • Improper and defective installation and removal
  • Improper and defective repair or service
  • Breach of repair or service agreements
  • Fraud and misrepresentations relating to installation, removal, repair, or service
  • Water damage and black mold
  • Violations of applicable city or municipal codes and permitting requirements
    Violations of industry standards and licensing requirements

Types of Home Appliance Claims

Modern residential HVAC systems contain many interrelated structures and parts, such as furnaces, condensers, the delivery system, and controls. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which is the umbrella licensing agency for the State of Texas, only licensed air-conditioning and heating contractors are required to carry insurance, are properly trained, and have demonstrated that they have the required experience and skills to work on an air-conditioning or heating system. In addition, many city building codes and permit requirements apply to residential HVAC systems and incorporate various national standards and codes, such as standards set forth by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The plumbing systems in most residences consist of water and gas pipes, sewer and drain lines, and fittings and valves. Because these systems are intended to safely deliver natural gas, provide safe and sanitary drinking water, and remove waste, their proper design and installation is critical to health and safety. Additionally, because most plumbing in residential homes is hidden behind walls, in ceilings, and even in a home’s foundation, improper or defective installation, repair, or replacement of plumbing fixtures and systems can have devastating results. Persons who repair, replace, maintain, or install plumbing in the State of Texas are regulated by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (TSBPE), and no company or person may advertise or provide plumbing services without having at least one responsible Master Plumber holding a master plumber license. It is important to verify that any person performing residential plumbing installation or repair is licensed with the TSPBE because licensed plumbers are not only required to maintain a minimum level of competence through examinations and mandatory continuing education, but they are also required to maintain a certificate of insurance through a Master Plumber.

Improperly installed or defective electrical components or wiring can not only result in costly repair and demolition, but faulty electrical work can create a serious risk of harm to a home’s inhabitants. Absent certain limited exceptions, any person who performs electrical work in the State of Texas must be licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Further, beginning March 1, 2008, all persons who perform residential appliance installation must also be licensed electricians.

Persons who sell, install, service, monitor, or respond to an alarm system in Texas are regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Private Security Bureau. Further, to the extent that the installation, repair, removal, or upgrade of a home security system or home alarm system includes electrical work, the persons performing the work must be licensed electricians. In addition, when a homeowner purchases home security products and services, various contractual and warranty rights may apply, as well as the protections of Texas consumer protection statutes, such as the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices – Consumer Protection Act.

Similar to home security and home alarm installers, home theater system sellers and installers are not specifically regulated in Texas. However, the installation of a home theater system may, in certain circumstances, trigger the licensing requirements of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and the procedures and limitations of the Texas Residential Construction Liability Act. Further, home theater system sales and installations may also involve contractual rights, warranty rights, and rights and remedies under various Texas consumer protection statutes, such as the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices – Consumer Protection Act.

Purchasing home systems products and installation, removal, replacement, or repair services may involve written or oral contractual rights. Depending on the circumstance of each case, written contracts for the sale of particular home systems may provide contractual limitations of liability, damages, and rights. The residential construction attorneys at Powers Taylor review all contracts related to the purchase of a home system or home systems services to ensure that all aspects of a home defect clam are evaluated.

The cost of replacement or repair of some home systems may be covered under various warranties, such as express or implied warranties provided by the manufacturers or sellers of specific equipment. In addition, legal warranties, or warranties created by law, may also cover the sale, installation, and repair of certain home systems equipment. And lastly, for homes covered under the TRCCA, certain home systems and related equipment are covered under the statutory minimum two- year warranties. The home construction attorneys at PT assist clients in evaluating home system claims and determining which, if any, warranties may apply to the equipment.