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ROANOKE, Texas Becky Neal thought she might be the only one. She was wrong.

A growing number of families in the Ranches East subdivision outside Fort Worth say they are tired of recurring problems with their air conditioning units.

'All of the homes we're talking about are Meritage-built, most in '08 and '09,' Neal said.

She and her husband have bills totaling close to $2,000 for the past four summers alone because of constant repair work.

'The repair guys say, 'You shouldn't have this problem; life of an air conditioner is usually 10-12 years,'' Neal said. 'I was curious to know if we were just jinxed, or other people were having the problem.'

Other families living in Meritage homes in the same area tell News 8 they, too, have experienced air leaks, bad electrical panels, and other problems every summer.

'If you get good service, the people getting the good service tell two or three people; if you get bad service, the person tells a dozen,' said Ray Ellington. He said he ultimately believes it is the responsibility of Meritage to reimburse homeowners for the problem cooling systems because 'they subcontracted that out.'

A message board has even popped up on the neighborhood website where additional homeowners have lashed out.

Meritage initially told News 8 it was unaware of specific problems in the area. Stephanie Maclean, president of the company's Dallas-Fort Worth Division, later provided a statement, saying in part:

'We are proud of the homes we build and the reputation Meritage has earned with thousands of happy customers over 28 years. We work closely with our contractors and suppliers to maintain a record of excellence.'

The company also vowed to work with the subcontractor who installed the air conditioning units, Airtron, to talk with homeowners in Ranches East about the issues. .

Neal says that is all their family ever wanted.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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