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Old 11-29-2012, 06:54 PM   #1
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Heat Exchangers


Can the main, stamped metal heat exchangers for carrier FHA furnaces be purchased separately from an online site, or are they ridiculously priced to force people into buying a new furnace. On close inspection, They look really pretty simple to change out.

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Old 11-29-2012, 07:57 PM   #2
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The physically-replacing-them-part isn't what's hard, although there are a few tricks to make it go easier. The hard part is knowing how to set everything up properly. Of all the Carrier heat exchangers I've replaced, all have been because of poor install.

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Old 11-29-2012, 08:37 PM   #3
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Hi Benny,

If you take the parts out, and reinstall them exactly the way they came out, (Using locktite, never seize, pipe dope etc, where indicated) what is there to set up? I have a digital manometer to check my gas pressure, a good digital camera to take copious photos of the dissassembly, Most of which I have already done, having replaced the controller board, the vacuum lines, the pressure switch, and the HSI. I also have a new gas valve that I will install, and yes I am thoroughly versed on installing gas lines. Apparently the original HVAC guy did not know what a drip leg, or zip ties were, judging by my original piping or wiring.

Of course their name was XYZ. Oh, their ductwork was horrible too, many many air leaks, openings etc.

So back to my original question, Can the heat exchangers be purchased separately? and where?

Last edited by beenthere; 11-30-2012 at 05:43 AM. Reason: Removed name and other indication of company
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:13 PM   #4
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Yes, from a wholesaler, and they we ask to see a license, at least in this state.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:33 PM   #5
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I was just about 100 percent sure you were going to say that. HVAC is the only trade wherein someone cant work on their own equipment without a license.

I can do my own plumbing, electrical, carpentry, roofing, rebuild my own car engine, etc, etc, but I cant replace the parts on a simple ass furnace.

Seems illegally restrictive, if you ask me.

Christ, Its gettin where a man cant even blow himself up if he wants to.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagans
Hi Benny,

If you take the parts out, and reinstall them exactly the way they came out, (Using locktite, never seize, pipe dope etc, where indicated) what is there to set up? I have a digital manometer to check my gas pressure, a good digital camera to take copious photos of the dissassembly, Most of which I have already done, having replaced the controller board, the vacuum lines, the pressure switch, and the HSI. I also have a new gas valve that I will install, and yes I am thoroughly versed on installing gas lines. Apparently the original HVAC guy did not know what a drip leg, or zip ties were, judging by my original piping or wiring.

Of course their name was XYZ. Oh, their ductwork was horrible too, many many air leaks, openings etc.

So back to my original question, Can the heat exchangers be purchased separately? and where?

What is there to set up? Hmmm... There's gas pressure (which you already have a manometer for), appliance input (just because you have the gas pressure dialed in doesn't mean you aren't over/under fired), proper slope, temp rise, what else am I forgetting? It's been a while.

I'm not saying you can't do it, I'm just saying there is more to it than you think.

Sounds like the original HVAC guy was the lowest bidder, which some people seem to insist on, or just the first name in the phonebook under HVAC (or both). You want a quality install you got to pony up the bucks.

As for parts, You have to get them from Carrier, which won't sell to just anybody.

Last edited by beenthere; 11-30-2012 at 05:45 AM. Reason: removed name of company and other company name indication
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagans View Post
I was just about 100 percent sure you were going to say that. HVAC is the only trade wherein someone cant work on their own equipment without a license.

I can do my own plumbing, electrical, carpentry, roofing, rebuild my own car engine, etc, etc, but I cant replace the parts on a simple ass furnace.

Seems illegally restrictive, if you ask me.

Christ, Its gettin where a man cant even blow himself up if he wants to.
well sorry you feel that way....but as its gos...the reason you can't buy a heat exchanger is you are not qualified or certified to service or install furnace parts or equiptment....as far as blowing your self up...thats another reason you can't buy and heat exchanger ..supplies protect themselves for law suits.....if you get hurt in any way ...Ill bet my company on it you will sue the manufactor for selling you the part you were never qualified to purchase....hope that explains the reason you can not work on a simple ass furnace ben sr
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:45 AM   #8
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1. The furnace was here when I bought the house from the original owner about 3 years ago. I did not hire the original HVAC contractor that installed it, and I would never call them back after seeing their work.

2. I would never sue anybody that was gracious enough to help me out. You would lose your company on that bet.

My experience with HVAC contractors, having been a Commercial Roofing Contractor, and a Professional roof consultant is that most of them, (The commercial ones, anyway) are hacks.

Old compressors left to leak onto, and destroy the roof, old filters thrown haphazardly on the roof surface where they can clog the roof drains, screws left all over the roof to damage the roof membrane, half assed wiring, and ridiculous attemps to water proof their service entrance lines, or to tie in base flashings to the gravel surfacing. (I saw a lot of that. They couldnt figure out that water would flow right through the gravel surfacing, and enter the building. )

Of course, without them, I would not have had half the work I did, since they caused the demise of the roof in most cases. Silly to complain about those that provide you with a living.

I am certain, however, that there are really good HVAC companies that do great work, just like there are lousy roofers, and great roofers. I just didnt run into any good HVAC contractors due to my line of work.

The weird thing was that owners would not get rid of their crappy HVAC contractors even when they caused the failure of the roof. Go figure.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:13 AM   #9
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You have all the rights in the world to blow yourself up the problem is the 2 neighbors beside you who will die also. We had a house explosion here in the early 80"s and an elderly lady burned to death next door to the one that blew up.

Carrier won't sell to any non contractors where I am due to liability issues and lots of damaged parts being returned "under warranty" by DIYers so they have to have that business plan due to the economics of it also.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:38 AM   #10
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Thats really sad. Did they ever find out what caused the explosion? or did someone assume like you are, and make a law as a result of it?

I definitely see your point though, after reading some of the questions you see on these forums.

You see, I do not believe in restrictive laws to save people from their own actions. Survival of the fittest is not just physical, its mental too. All you have to do is watch Americas Funniest Home Videos to see how utterly stupid some people are.

If I cannot buy a heat exchanger, then why can a guy that smokes while he is fueling his car with gasoline buy gasoline?

You see where I am going here?

The real reason that I cannot buy replacement heat exchangers is economic. The HVAC companies do not want to upset their main clientele, which is you guys. That makes sense. Also, they would rather sell a new furnace for 2300 bucks or so because they make a lot more profit on the furnace, which is really worth about 500 bucks give or take. Lets face it, that all they are really worth. No cast iron in there anymore like the old days when they lasted 50 years.

I like the altruistic approach of "we dont want you to hurt yourself" but that can quickly turn into an infringement on personal freedom, and we have lost enough of that already, dont you think? Besides, it shoud be, we dont want you to hurt yourself, so we have installed cheap ass sheet metal heat exchangers that crack and let carbon monoxide enter your home. Sorry guys, that dog don't hunt

PS Why can joe schmoe by a gas grille, or a chain saw without a license?

Last edited by jagans; 11-30-2012 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:51 AM   #11
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I agree with some of your points but this will get into a debate about personal freedoms rather than DIY help and we don't really do that here. Should a crippled 90 yr old person who can barely lift their feet be allowed to mow down your 6 yr old daughter on a sidewalk because they have the "right" to drive? There is no end to the topics about freedoms but some common sense should prevail. As in Star Trek, the rights of the many supersede the rights of the one makes some sense to me.

They could never prove what caused the explosion but it looked like a installer problem. We also had a metal bed spring fall and break a gas connector on a furnace in a storage room and kill some people in a condo so my point is natural gas is explosive and fixing your roof is not. Different degrees of danger involved.

After the McDonald coffee lawsuit you would thnk that Henkels would have to put stickers on their kitchen knives "Do Not use internally" so they don't get sued every time some fool cuts himself.
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Last edited by yuri; 11-30-2012 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:27 AM   #12
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I hope to God this did not happen to your daughter, Yuri. If it did my heart is truly out to you. I lost my daughter about two years ago, and there is no pain on earth that compares to it.

Your points are well taken. I had my dad take away my grandfathers keys after I saw him go right through a red light without stopping. He was 88, and he went to my grandmothers grave sight every morning. It broke our hearts to do it but it had to be done.

My point is that you cant litigate everything in the world to prevent tragedy. If you think that roofing cant be dangerous you have never worked with hot asphalt, but roofing supplies will still sell it to anybody.

Your comment re the coffee is to my point. I hope the fool that improperly supported the bed spring can live with himself, but I doubt that he even thinks it was his fault.

As far as Do it Yourself goes, I am trying to do it myself, but do it right.

So far all I get from anybody in the HVAC trades is "Call a tech" "Call me and I will sell you a new one" or "You cant do that, you don't have a license"

It is probable that the cost of new heat exchangers will not be worth it. I do not need them yet, but my furnace was installed in 1993 so I will probably need them soon. It is clear that the cost of a whole new furnace makes more sense. I have not read anything conclusive on any particular brand, so I guess they are all pretty much the same.

Does any manufacturer have Stainless Steel primary and secondary heat exchangers? All the rest of the parts are third party from what I have seen so I guess the only difference is the engineering vis a vis ease of access, layout etc.

I now have a high efficiency condensing furnace made by Carrier, and it has been very reliable until this year, when the controller board went bad. There was a class action suit on this furnace though due to the secondary heat exchanger which was steel with a polypropylene coating. (This even sounds like a bad idea)

I dont get why they place the motherboard in the blower compartment where the lack of proper filtration could allow the board to be covered with dirt, but I guess that was the only place it would fit.

Whats your recommendation?
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:39 PM   #13
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So what do you pros recommend? I have a carrier 58SXC100-JG with a 3" DWV PVC draft inlet and exhaust now, and want to get something that is basically the same type of setup. Rerouting the PVC is no problem, Redoing the Ductwork is no problem, nor is the gas or electric. I have two great sheet metal fab shops at my disposal.

Any furnace brand that stands out in your opinions?
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:11 PM   #14
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Your a diy'er, I'd stick with a furnace that has parts you can acquire.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:16 PM   #15
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NO it was not my daughter and I am terribly sorry to hear about your daughter, I have lost several young people before the age of 25 and it is a terrible waste of life. I have read a few stories of "incoherrent uncapable " drivers of a certain age group running over people, panicking, putting it into the wrong gear and stepping on the gas and killing young people. I had a nice elderly lady for a neighbor who unfortunately was crippled with polio, could barely walk and yet got to drive a car, very scary to think what could happen and it does.

The cost would be prohibitive to make all stainless steel heat exchangers and thicker ones and unfortunately our throw away society does not want to pay for Maytag old school quality so it is no longer available. When a large builder builds a thousand homes a year and saves $50-100 on a furnace AC pkg that is huge $$ for him and the quality and standards dropped for that reason. Especially with the "good" brand who cornered the market for that reason.

Carrier really goofed up with that heat exchanger design but the new ones have a thicker coating so hopefully they last longer. I like Rheem for the basic good "meat and potatoes get er done reliable" low cost end of the market and Lennox, Carrier, Trane, York for the quieter higher priced deluxe units with more features.

The circuit board has to go there because it gets too hot in the burner compartment and heat kills electronics as well as the new furnaces are 33" high and there is no room for the board other than in the fan compartment. If people did proper maintenance then dust would not be a problem. Moisture is usually the bigger problem and the higher quality furnaces has sturdy brackets for the board whereas the budget brands just hang the sucker there any cheap way they can.

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Last edited by yuri; 11-30-2012 at 06:00 PM.
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