Complaint / review text:
Homeowners are deceived and left out in the HEAT!
Our decision to purchase a Pulte Home was based solely on Pulte's guarantee of an Energy Efficient Home. Pulte Reps. Explained to consumers that these "Energy Efficient" Homes had extremely low heating and cooling usage resulting in the heating and cooling portion (which they claimed was 70% of our Bill) to range from $35 to $55, depending on the size of our home. New homeowners were told that their bill would never be above $100.
Impossible? This is what every homeowner said when they were told this by Pulte Reps. When we were told that our two story, 3,000 sq. Ft. Home would have a 3 ton A/C unit. Again we said impossible. We were given tons of documentation to support Pulte's claims and documents were integrated in our contract backing up this guarantee. Nevertheless, we and almost another 100 homeowners were convinced that not only was Pulte able to provide us with the Energy Efficient Home, but they would guarantee 100% of any overages paid on our part for up to 2 years.
Immediately we had excessive electrical bills and 15-degree temp variances throughout the home. Our kids could not sleep in their rooms and the entire house was unbearably hot. We moved in on June 1st, 2002 and within 15 days we began to complain about the heat & the bills (10 days was $165). They continually asked us to wait a year and said we were the only homeowners complaining.
It took until November 2002 for Pulte to admit their errors and advise us that they had been monitoring another home with the same floor plan since August trying to determine the problems. They were lying to us in an attempt to "buy" time to find a way to resolve these issues. Engineers were brought in from Building Science and they found the homes (our model only) to be poorly insulated, the a/c unit undersized, ductwork too small, registers too small and other problems. Massive modifications were made in my home from Jan-May of 2003 leaving my children out of their rooms for almost a year. This was done to 22 homes in our subdivision, leaving the other 70 out in the heat V literally.
Our electric bills continued to be far above the guarantee (from $200 winter to $500 summer). Pulte Reps. Monthly told us that we would be reimbursed 100% of the overage as promised, even at one point telling us we would be reimbursed for the duration of the time we owned my home. During the 1st year representatives constantly confirmed that there was a problem with our home design and Pulte was working on a solution.
From June 2002 - May 2003 we paid approx. $3,000 over the amount guaranteed by Pulte.in August 2003 we received a check for $44.19 from Masco (Environments for Living) for our overage. Very different from what representatives promised we would be reimbursed. Pulte is now saying that there is no guarantee on the $ amount on the cooling/heating portion of our bill and that everyone misinterpreted the guarantee... Can 100 families all hear the same thing and be wrong?
I now possess dozens of news stories, which all quote various Pulte Representatives as saying specifically that they GUARANTEE THE UTILITY COSTS. We have also received analysis from three (3) HVAC Companies, a Structural Engineer, a Home Inspector and an Electrician whom all agree that our home is poorly designed (HVAC System and Insulation) and will never get the utility costs promised and this current system will never cool my home properly. Costs to repair range from $12,000 to $28,000. Any of these reports from third party inspectors or Pulte reports & documentation are available upon request.
We have not turned our air conditioner on in two months. It is now January and 50 degrees outside and regardless of the fact my heat is on my a/c continues to run to cool my air-conditioned attic space. We all know heat rises and my attic space must stay within 10 degrees of the thermostat temperature or else my a/c comes on. I believe they designed the house like this because they knew they would be in my attic so much working on my a/c, and in Texas it gets hot! Of course, this is the cause of the excessive electric bills in the winter months V this month is $260.
Other recent problems have been:
It was discovered after 18 mos. That two (2) 8 x 16 strips of insulation were missing from our daughter's room outside wall
A window fell out in my hands last month
Lights dim and flicker in our home (this is normal), lights come on by themselves, TVs shut off by themselves (our main breaker had to be replaced in month 6)
Last month our dishwasher, microwave and stove all began having problems staying shut, my ceramic sink cracked in the kitchen and there is a 6 ft. Crack across my kitchen floor, which is even with the crack on my foundation outside. They will come out this week to see if the foundation is cracked?
These are only recent problems and the tip of the iceberg.
We are now in month 20. Pulte has offered to give us half of the price quoted from Central City Air Conditioning in Houston, but continue to deny that anything is wrong.
We would like to hear from anyone else with the same Energy Efficiency Problems.
This is clearly DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICE on behalf of Pulte Homes and we cannot let them get away with this. This is the single most expensive purchase that our families will make and we stand to lose on these homes.