Consumer reviews and reports on scam companies, bad products and services
Thermia
Thermia fraud shoddy design poor quality horrible product false advertising false claims no customer service rude adhorent behaviour Arvika, Sweden
21st of Dec, 2010 by User192111
In April of 2009 my family purchased the house at Landsvagen 21. At some point, perhaps during the month of August, we noticed some water leaking from a pipe and called the previous owner who in turn put us in touch with the plumber (VVS), Christer Gustafsson, who had previously worked on the house - specifically the pipes where the perceived leak was. As it turned out the water was a result of condensation and of no real concern. Upon conversing with Christer about our old boiler system and the expensive electricity bills we were incurring, he told us of a new boiler system he was installing made by the company Thermia which used an "air to water" conversion system to create heat, effectively lowering your electricity consumption "...by a lot", he told us.


After further consultation with Christer we were sold on installing the new heating system. The Thermia Atria was installed in October 2009, for a total of 105 475 :- . During the course of the 4 or 5 day installation in October of 2009, Christer hired an electrician to supply the unit with electricity, the electrician was part of the installation service. At the completion of installation Christer went through the unit with Yasmine and myself explaining how to turn the heat up and down, and telling us he would service the unit once a year - leaving a blue container of something called "Brine" (which he warned was very harmful to people and animals). he told us not to touch it or throw it out, that he would use the brine when he serviced our unit.



Now, my family and I went to the U.S.A for the Christmas Holiday. We were out of Sweden for 6 weeks. We had a house sitter check in on the property near everyday. During this time Sweden encountered a very cold and heavy winter. The new Thermia Atria heating unit encountered it's first problem late in December 2009. While we still have never been properly apprised of the nature of the problem - we do know the issue involved electricity and how the unit was installed. During this problematic period, as we understand it, Christer set the Thermia Atria to run on electricity while the unit was being repaired. Apparently he left it on this "electricity" mode for quite some time (again, my family and I were out of the country at the time) our Electricity bill from Eon for December 2009 was 3 768:- and January of 2010 was 8 372:- Due to some error in installation, during the peak electricity billing season, we were unable to benefit from the Thermia's main functional ability to lower our electricity consumption. Our bills had previously and since been lower, otherwise. I'll remind you, we were not even in the country during most of the month of January 2010. My family and I returned to Sweden in late-January 2010. In February 2010 we noticed the house was very cold despite the setting on the new heating unit. We called Christer who told us we must have a leak in our closed heating system - in one of the pipes or elements. During the installation in October of 2009 Christer and his assistant did something called "bleeding" the system to let the air out of the pipes and ensure proper water pressure. It is my understanding that one of the valves on one of the elements was not working properly. We had hired Christer to do other plumbing work including preparing the system for in the floor heating - which involved removing one of the heating elements in our home, so naturally we asked him to help us find the problem. Now, upon inspecting the new heating unit Christer told us it was not holding pressure, he examined the system and found the problem and replaced one the bleeder valves on one of the elements.


In early July of 2010 the heating elements began to make a very loud and steady high pitched "tone" or "whine" sound. It took us quite a while to pin point where it was coming from but over several weeks it grew louder and louder. Once we knew It was coming from the elements and pipes all over the house, we promptly called Christer who told us he was too busy to help, stating the problem was not in the new unit but had to be in the heating elements and piping. The sound persisted well into August, and since it was coming from the heating system we called Christer again who said he would come down Thursday or Friday. Thursday and Friday came and went with no sign of help.


I called yet again because the sound was getting louder and louder, at this point it was impossible to sleep in the house. Christer was convinced the problem was not his to deal with and told me it was because we have a leak in our pipes or elements of the heating system, that the problem was not with the new Thermia unit. After persistent calls for help he finally came to look things over, as it turns out, upon reviewing the Thermia unit the problem was in fact with the Thermia Atria in that it would not hold "Brine". The brine was all over the top and sides of the unit and all over the floor of our laundry room.... we have two dogs and feel lucky they had not yet tried to taste the rather nasty liquid. Christer replaced the brine with the brine from the blue container he had left on our premises for his prescribed "service" visits.



Later in the same month of August this Thermia unit yet again began to make the whine sound in our pipes again. This time I was quite upset. No pressure, brine all over the unit outside and the floor (again), just a high pitched whining sound which kept all of us, including our 4 month old new born awake EVERY night. It was so loud on September 1, 2 and 3 that I called Christers mobile phone at 3AM so his voicemail could record the sound. Christer took his usual one week to answer the call and Upon this inspection found no Brine in the Thermia unit . It seems a valve on top of the unit to be open when it should have been closed. At this point Christer began blaming me for tampering with the Thermia, using language to the effect that personally upset me and my family. Of course I have never touched this thing in such a way.... all the language on the read out is in Swedish and I am not fluent. I have never touched the Thermia Atria installed in my house other than turning the heat up or down - which is the push of a button.


Two weeks later, in September we noticed the problem was back. The high pitched wine, No brine in the outside resevoir. It was well into September 2010 when we called Christer only to be told he was too busy installing Thermia units to deal with our situation. After some pressing from us he called the Thermia representative Anders Ohlsson who showed up and assessed that the very valve that Christer had recently serviced was not properly adjusted. Again the dangerous Brine (glycol) was all about the outside of the unit and all over the laundry room floor - an area my family frequents in order to clean our clothing. Anders adjusted the unit and even showed me how to set the device to display it's language as English so I could read the communications from the unit.


While Anders could not explain why the unit seemed plagued with issues he did mention that it seemed the leaky valve on top of the unit was because something had been "....only hand tightened". That it had become loose since Christer tightened it, it seems Christer had not tightened it well enough. I spoke with Anders at this time about Christer and his poor attitude toward our service needs for such a complicated and expensive product and his general lack of concern. While Anders told us he could not do anything except speak with Christer, as Christer was not a Thermia employee, he said he understood our problems and also hinted that we were not the only ones with issues of this type. Anders even went on to say that it was not the problems were not in the product but felt it was the person who installed it. I suggested Thermia regulate the number of units a certified installer could install per year to ensure the customers who put out the massive investment for a Thermia would have some form of customer service after installation.

On October 21st we noticed the hot water was not very "hot" - like it usually was. By October 23rd we had no hot water and the house was quite "cold" - colder than outside. I checked the Brine reservoir and it was empty, again. Further inspection revealed Brine under and around the base of the inside unit. Reluctantly we called Christer, again. This time Yasmine spoke with him, and while on the phone with him I asked her to tell him that it was not holding Brine again - Christer promptly and rudely told Yasmine that he would "... not help (us) if I did not shut my mouth", that the problems we were having with the unit were because of my tampering with it. When pressed about the problems we had with the unit and with him and his services he went on to say we could ask our lawyer if he could get our Thermia Atria to work for us.


Yasmine told him we have had 4 or 5 problems since the Thermia was installed - Christers reply was "...that's not bad for 18 months", even though the unit had not been in even a year at this point. He rudely told Yasmine it was not his problem, that we were on our own. I called Anders next who told us he could come by and look it over Monday. Upon inspecting the unit Monday the 25th of October it was discovered that a fitting had failed deep inside the unit. Anders explained this has happened before, albeit rare, it was a known default within the units design. Anders told me we would have to run the unit on electricity, he would order the part and get it fixed within the week. I asked for clarification and told him we could not afford another electricity bill like the one from January earlier in the year.


He said he would order the part right now (Monday - 25th) and they ship it Monday or Tuesday (26th) and it gets installed Wednesday or Thursday (28th) - within the week. He said he was going to call a different plumber and get us a more reputable firm to handle this service. The week went by, I heard nothing, I called Anders on Friday he gave me the number for the plumber from Malmo, Marcus who was supposed to get the new part and handle the installation. I spoke with this plumber that Wednesday the 27th of October who had no idea where the part was. He said he would call me "next week" when he knew where the part was and when he would find the time to install it.


That next week came, I called Anders again on Tuesday (Nov. 2nd) and asked the status. He said the part was in and it was up to Marcus to call us and make a time. We heard nothing. Finally, the following Monday (Nov. 1st) I called the phone number to Thermia's central office as I found it online to complain. I spoke with 2 different people left my number and was eventually called by Lars Gyllander of Thermia, who told me he would look into our situation. Lars called me back on Tuesday November 2nd and said Anders had told him there was a problem with the part - the wrong one was sent to the plumber, that the new one was on the way and they should get it fixed. Lars told me they thought the part would be in Thursday the 4th and repaired Friday the 5th.


Friday came and went. Monday the 8th of November, in the afternoon I called Lars again who told me the problem was actually Christer's and that I needed to deal with him on it. I called Christer who said he was going to call Thermia and then hung up on me before I could speak and ask any questions. Lars then phoned me back and said he understood the part was in and that "they" were going to fix it this week "... when they found the time". I was upset and tried to explain to him that it seemed we were abandoned and that there was no sense of urgency on anyones part - it was getting quite cold outside, we ran the unit on electricity at night but turned it off during the day to hopefully avoid another high electricity bill. At 5:30 in the evening I called Christer again who very quickly said maybe "... they fix it tomorrow." Meaning November 9th, I told him we were sick of the situation, had no faith in him or the product and wanted him to remove the unit and refund our money as soon as possible.....

part 2:


The first problem with this Thermia unit occurred less than 8 weeks after the initial installation - "the electrical issue". The next issue, the Glycol leak from the "bleeder in the brine circuit" (as you have called it in your letter), did NOT come after "...a year" as you so mentioned, rather this Glycol leak and the associated high pitch whine began in June which is only 7 months after the unit began operation. Evidently, the valve you mentioned was found to be the problem with the leaking Glycol brine and in so tightened by Gustaffsson (who told my fianc at the time it was leaking because I had been "... messing with the unit"). Amazingly the high pitched sound also went away once this valve was tightened and more brine put into the system. However, due to Gustafsson's incompetence the unit continued to leak this poisonous Glycol from the very same valve and in September Mr. Ohlsson came to inspect the unit.


It seems Gustafsson was too busy, he went on to say we were ".... on our own." when we called him with the problem the second time. Ohlsson found the problem to be the very same valve and suggested that Gustafsson had only hand tightened it. Once more upon tightening the valve and introducing more Glycol brine the unit began working properly and the high pitched noise coming from our heating elements went away. As much as your company would like to sidestep responsibility for any or all of these problems, it is our position that the company Thermia is responsible for WHO is capable of installing and maintaining their complicated systems. Your company designs and manufactures these products. Your company trains and certifies the installing agents. Your company is liable to me and my family for our problems directly relating to the poor performance of this unit, the expenses derived from such poor performance and especially the shoddy installation and maintenance practices of your company's agent, Christer Gustafsson.

Further, it is my intention to draw your attention to the real problem here. On top of deplorable service support we have had to endure, we have suffered problems directly related to the engineering and design of the Thermia Atria unit to which it has not functioned as warranted. Importantly when we have had a problem with the Thermia it simply takes too long for anyone to address the issue. The first problem, the "electrical issue", took 2 weeks to address (during the coldest and hardest winter in Sweden's recent history). The second issue, the "high pitched whine and Glycol leak", caused by the leaking Glycol-brine valve - (in which the unit would NOT hold the brine essential for its proper performance), began in June of 2010 and was not resolved until Septemeber of 2010.


Our most recent problem, the "broken fitting" deep inside the unit, began on October 21st and was not repaired until November 12th. This problem, due to a design flaw within the Thermia unit, kept the Thermia Atria from working properly for 28 days (another month) within one year of installation. That's a total of more than 18 weeks this Thermia Atria did not function properly within a 54 week period - since installation. Close to 5 months within one year!!! During these problematic times the unit was either "off" because it was broken or the unit was functioning in the proven-to-be-expensive "electrical" mode. The product I purchased from your company in a cold country like Sweden which is supposed to create heat for my family. An expensive unit Thermia claimed will lower electricity bills!

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