HEIL/ICP Gas/electric Self-contained Unit -- Blowing Cold Air, Won't Shut Off - HVAC - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


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Old 02-07-2009, 06:24 AM   #1
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HEIL/ICP gas/electric self-contained unit -- blowing cold air, won't shut off


Four months ago, my Mother's central heat failed. Instead of contacting me and letting me find someone to take care of it as I watched, she took it upon herself to call a local company which "rebuilt" the 17-year old self-contained 3-ton HEIL/Inter-City Products air conditioning/gas furnace unit (Model# PGAA36D1K1) at a cost of over $1,800. When I found out about this, I was appalled -- I knew a brand-new unit could be had for just a little more, and it would have had a great warranty. Plus, I could not tell exactly what they "rebuilt"/replaced, since the receipt only stated "Installed Heat Exchanger" (which should be a $300-600 job, I thought), although on some other sheets it did state "collector box installed". To make things worse, the guy that did the work no longer works with the company.

At any rate, the tech did get it running again -- albeit FIRE hot. Seriously, I'd never felt central heat coming out of the vents that hot -- even on the opposite side of the house, output was uncomfortably hot. Well, 12 days later, the HVAC system failed again, and was only blowing cold air. Another guy from the same company came out, and this time I was present. He stated that the last technician had done some pretty shoddy work (not knowing it was the same company) and that the "silly tech" had installed some important component backwards, which could've caused another very important component to fail and carbon monoxide to blow into the house "and kill everybody". He stated he turned this component around (maybe a shield? I simply cannot remember, sorry!), then reinstalled it, did some other adjustments, talked more bad about the "other tech", and then was shocked when I told him that the previous tech had been from his same company. Anyway, he didn't charge anything (said it was warranty work), and the heat seemed to work... albeit not as strongly as before (just the normal warmish-hot now, instead of EXTREMELY FIREY HOT like before).

Well, fast-forward 3 and a half months to yesterday, and the system has malfunctioned again: this time the unit was stuck on, blowing cold air. Moving the thermostat temperature lever or switching it to off didn't turn off the blower. Fearing something was about to be burned out, she pulled the fuse to shut it off. This time, yet another tech (same company) came out and charged her $100 to tell her she'd need $1000 more in work (which she declined). He stated this time it was the inducer fan that had locked up due to contact with something (I can't remember what), and that there was power going to the motor, but that it was simply not turning. Mother insists this was a replaced component during the original rebuild. Since I was in-route to her house while he was actually looking at the unit, I cannot say for sure what was wrong... and the sound of Mother giving the guy a piece of her mind pretty much made anything else he said inaudible.

So, do you have any idea what could have been wrong to begin with (4 months ago)... what could have happened to cause the FIREY HOT heat for 12 days (til it died the second time)... and what's possibly wrong now? And how can I verify for myself what needs to be repaired? I have mobile A/C (vehicle) certification and have been restoring/repairing classic cars (drivetrain, electrical, etc) for years, so I'm not exactly a noob to the concept of mechanical repair, I just have zero experience with HVAC units.

I've also searched high and low for a diagram/service manual/parts list for this particular unit... but am finding this extremely difficult. My belief is that if it's just an electrical/mechanical component that needs replacing, I most likely can do that myself. I'm thinking I'll also be able to identify what was actually replaced 4 months ago, so I can itemize this list and bring it to the company owner's attention. I just need some guidance.

Thank you in advance. I know it's hard to diagnose something sight unseen, and I will do my best to provide and/or show you whatever you need. As a matter of fact, I'll verify the make and model information later today, just in case the techs wrote it down wrong (each one actually wrote it differently on the receipt: first wrote "PGAA3601K1" with a "/" through the zero like on old computers, second wrote "PGAA36D1K1", and third wrote "PGAA3A601K1").

Thanks again,
Tré

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Old 02-07-2009, 06:48 AM   #2
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HEIL/ICP gas/electric self-contained unit -- blowing cold air, won't shut off


Could have reinstalled blower wheel backwards.

Inducer motor is probably out now.
If it gets voltage, and doesn't run, its generally done for.

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Old 06-28-2010, 01:46 AM   #3
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HEIL/ICP gas/electric self-contained unit -- blowing cold air, won't shut off


I am so sorry! I just realized I never posted an update for this!

You were absolutely right on every count. The tech had indeed installed the blower wheel backwards, causing the overheated air and ultimate shutdown. We ended up demanding and receiving a refund for that service call, because it caused so much damage to the system and was noted later by another of their own techs.

Also, the answer to the problem indeed was the inducer motor. After this post, I went ahead and found one on eBay -- and amazingly, the guy just happened to be about 25 miles away. (Imagine that!) Drove out, picked it up in person, and installed the new one... and the resulting heat was beautiful!

I apologize again for not posting this update sooner... I hate when people don't complete their threads with proper updates. Sorry!
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:23 AM   #4
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HEIL/ICP gas/electric self-contained unit -- blowing cold air, won't shut off


Thanks for the update.

Sometimes schedules get/are hectic. And its hard for a person to remember/think to do an update.
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