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GloBigRed 11-16-2010 02:30 PM

Service tech won't repair furnace with cracked heat exchanger.
Have a Comfortmaker GUA080, installed 1993. Under maint. contract with Xcel. Furnace not working. They sent service tech who diagnosed bad Draft Motor - good news, is covered. Then he decided to check the heat exchanger, and found 1" crack in left cell. Then, said he can't repair the draft motor w/o replacing heat exchanger, may be unsafe, CO scare. Would have to order exchanger (he said probably under warranty with Comfort.) and draft motor. H.E. not covered by contract. Quoted $700 to install, or suggested get new furnace. I begged him to just fix draft motor, I'd buy a CO detector, so we'd have heat and buy us time to figure out what to do. He said against company policy. That was at 5 pm last nite. So he left, now, no heat. 56 inside -it's MN. Making decision under pressure. Repair or new?

hvactech126 11-16-2010 04:03 PM

I can not repair any furnace with a cracked heat exchanger, LIABILITY!!! If you repair, understand that everything else or most everything in furnace is still 17 y/o. Average life is 15-20 years. The heat exchanger he will replace it with is the exact same will crack again!

COLDIRON 11-16-2010 04:51 PM

Hurry up get another opinion and quote.

fabrk8r 11-16-2010 05:04 PM

No tech in their right mind would repair the inducer motor and start the furnace knowing the HX is cracked.

Cracked HXs cause death. The tech would be endangering your family's lives and be making himself liable in the event someone in your home was injured or died from CO poisoning.

AFAIK, for a licensed HVAC tech to knowingly allow a homeowner to continue using a furnace with a cracked HX is illegal in every state in the USA and probably every Canadian province as well.

If I were your repairman I would give you 2 quote to replace HX and repair/replace inducer motor, and one quote to replace furnace. I would then leave a few electric space heaters with you until you got the furnace repaired or replaced, regardless of whether you accepted my quote or not.

BTW, make sure the person doing the repair or change-out checks the temp rise. The HX cracked for a reason.

beenthere 11-16-2010 05:37 PM

You had a good tech out then.

When you have a cracked heat exchanger. Ain't no such thing as just make it work until I can make up my mind.

Just do the simple math. A replacement heat exchanger will have the remainder of the original warranty left. A new draft inducer, will have a 1 year warranty. There are several other parts that will still be 17 YEARS OLD. that can also go out anytime now.

Get a new furnace. And you get full part warranties on everything again. And have a more reliable furnace.

Get a couple portable space heaters and use them until they get your new furnace installed. Don't run them when your no one is at home though.

yuri 11-16-2010 05:45 PM

Yep, those units DON'T get better with age. Next it will be the gas valve and circuit board and pressure switch. Better off investing your $$ in a new one and check for gov't rebates. Illegal to start a furnace with cracked heat ex in Canada, we call the utility co, they come down red tag it and shut the gas off.

Michael Thomas 11-16-2010 06:02 PM

One more vote for: "Tech did the right thing".

kenmac 11-16-2010 06:24 PM

He did you & your family a favor. Buy him a steak dinner. You could have gotten someone that just wanted to make a quick buck & replaced the v.m. Then, you may not have been around to have a new furnace installed

buy a new furnace 90+

yuri 11-16-2010 06:30 PM

A steak dinner? I usually get the "deer in the headlights look" followed by the fred sanford "my heart, my heart" routine when delivering the news.:yes:

kenmac 11-16-2010 07:00 PM


Originally Posted by yuri (Post 535441)
A steak dinner? I usually get the "deer in the headlights look" followed by the fred sanford "my heart, my heart" routine when delivering the news.:yes:

Yeah I know. I went to a call today where a company replaced several parts & never checked to see that the hx was cracked. I'll be replacing the furnace in the am

Marty S. 11-16-2010 08:36 PM


Originally Posted by yuri (Post 535441)
A steak dinner? I usually get the "deer in the headlights look" followed by the fred sanford "my heart, my heart" routine when delivering the news.:yes:

Just got that look an hour ago along with the "we would like to get another year out of it". CO detectors going of in the house so they call for overtime service. Turned the blower on and the air is blowing out the vestibule right in my face( 39 year old york). Fired it up to get a reading for the ticket and analyzer hits 2400 ppm in the bad cell and 1900 ppm a foot in front of the furnace. If they didn't have those detectors there's a good change the whole family would be dead.

yuri 11-16-2010 08:43 PM

It's the old "ignorance is bliss" attitude I suspect a lot of people have. They don't "really want to know" their furnace is a mess and can kill them because then they would have to spend money and not go drinking/gambling or whatever they else do with it. Being in denial kills people from CO, bad wiring and other preventable disasters. Smart people don't go that route.:whistling2:

hvac122 11-16-2010 08:56 PM

I vote for the tech you had out. He did the right thing. Give them the chance at the repairs or new furnace. Don't be mad at them, they may have saved your life.

brandonmcginnis 11-17-2010 06:10 AM

Those old ComfortMaker gas pacs were notorious for heat exchanger issues. Your tech did what any astute tech would have done. I imagine you would rather be cold than dead.

COLDIRON 11-17-2010 06:42 AM

Totally agree with all the responses, all I am saying is I never get any big ticket item installed at my place without second opinions and at least 3 quotes from responsible contractors. I told a white lie never used contractor's always did everything myself. Well maybe once or twice.

Always use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep the batteries up.

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