Family endures frigid winter after home warranty fails to replace unsafe furnace

ByRenee Koury KGO logo
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Family endures frigid winter after home warranty fails to replace unsafe furnace
Instead of enjoying a warm, snug new home, a newly moved-in family faced an unsafe furnace -- and a home warranty that refused to replace it.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- When you buy a new home, you may feel more secure with a home warranty. If anything goes wrong, it's covered. Or is it? A young family moved to San Francisco and found out -- you really do need a heater that works.

Pierre Andrada, Remi Isaacs, and their 18-month old daughter moved into their first home atop the city's highest peak -- Mount Davidson. It has a gorgeous view, many trees... plus wind and fog. And as it turned out, they needed help right away from their home warranty. Unfortunately, it seemed to blow away with that breeze.

It's a warm summer day atop Mount Davidson -- but that's not how it was last winter. Two weeks after moving in, the furnace broke.

"The furnace started to act up. We tried turning it on and nothing happened," said Andrada. "It was frigid cold in this house without any heat."

An inspector warned the furnace could blow.

Remi Isaacs, Andrada's wife, recalled, "He said this needs to be replaced... and it's not safe. This is our biggest fear."

Thankfully the house came with this Old Republic Home Warranty. So they called.

"It started this kind of back and forth with Old Republic," said Andrada.

Isaacs confirms this. "Pierre kept calling and calling... We weren't getting any response, it was like a void."

"It was freezing cold and we didn't have any heat. And we had to buy space heaters," Andrada said.

Finally, Old Republic sent a technician. "All he did was take a look at some invoices," said Andrada.

"They said, well you're good, when in fact it still wasn't working," Isaacs said. "The weather continued to be windy, rainy and cold."

"We bundled ourselves even going to bed," Andrada continues.

All those space heaters drove their energy bill to $800 - and they could be dangerous for a little kid.

So what about that warranty?

Winter passed, and Old Republic rejected their claim -- saying the furnace had a "preexisting condition." That's when they contacted 7 On Your Side. We reached out to Old Republic -- and things changed.

Andrada recounts the change in Old Republic's responses. "It's terrible, we're sorry you had to go through this..."

Old Republic did not provide a statement for this story. However, it did provide the family with a new furnace.

In April.

Just as a heatwave hit.

"All the flowers came out, all the gray skies were gone and we had a new furnace," said Isaacs.

Andrada said, "The weather is beautiful! We rarely use the furnace."

But just wait until next winter.

"I can't tell you how thankful we are for everything you've done," said Isaacs.

The couple said it was strange to finally get the furnace smack in the middle of that heatwave. Despite the 90 degree weather -- they cranked it up just to be sure. And it works.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.