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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    central illinois
    Posts
    12

    Confused House fire furnace duct & a/c replacement

    Working on a house fire job a/c and furnace blower were running during fire drawing excessive heat and smoke through entire system including metal duct work furnace and coil. My recommendation is replace all metal duct for starters as I have been through this before and ducts are unable to be cleaned with a 100 % guarantee of no smoke smell. Furnace is a 80% efficient with a draft inducer which had water enter the windings along with smoke and furnace blower motor has smoke in the windings and armature so both would need replaced. To make an attempt at cleaning furnace would require complete disassembly of heat exchanger and cabinet, parts and labor would exceed cost of new furnace still with no guarantee of no smoke smell so replace furnace. The part I'm not sure about is the coil, condensor and lineset. Did the excessive heat crossing the coil cause any problem with the refrigerant causing contamination to the system which will later result in compressor failure or blockage of the txv valve? The reason for the last question is on a fire job several years ago we replaced the coil only and recharged the system with results of compressor failure in less than a week of running the system. Appreciate any help with this situation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    ms
    Posts
    122
    Quote Originally Posted by kconst View Post
    Working on a house fire job a/c and furnace blower were running during fire drawing excessive heat and smoke through entire system including metal duct work furnace and coil. My recommendation is replace all metal duct for starters as I have been through this before and ducts are unable to be cleaned with a 100 % guarantee of no smoke smell. Furnace is a 80% efficient with a draft inducer which had water enter the windings along with smoke and furnace blower motor has smoke in the windings and armature so both would need replaced. To make an attempt at cleaning furnace would require complete disassembly of heat exchanger and cabinet, parts and labor would exceed cost of new furnace still with no guarantee of no smoke smell so replace furnace. The part I'm not sure about is the coil, condensor and lineset. Did the excessive heat crossing the coil cause any problem with the refrigerant causing contamination to the system which will later result in compressor failure or blockage of the txv valve? The reason for the last question is on a fire job several years ago we replaced the coil only and recharged the system with results of compressor failure in less than a week of running the system. Appreciate any help with this situation.
    change it all out is the system 410a or r22 if 22 just upgrade to 410a

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    central illinois
    Posts
    12
    System is r22 complete system is my recomendation also but insurance company at this point has clean ducts, furnace and nothing for replacement of a/c system. Looking for some valid information on the quesiton of the refrigerant damage to make a more complete report to the insurance company not just because I said so. Thanks for reply.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Jacksonville,Fl
    Posts
    123
    The smoke has contaminated the evaporator coil surface, you can make the same case for cleaning it as you can for the furnace (although it can be done). No case for refrigerant contamination, sorry.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,277
    The fire investigator needs to come back and inspect the ducts and furnace. He is the expert on what is over heated or not. If the combustibles surrounding the return are showing signs of pyrolysis, then that part of the building needs to be demolished and rebuilt/ replaced. Same for any appliances. If the HVAC is circulating heated air above the rating plate, then it should be replaced and is an insurable loss. A furnace/ coil subjected to a structure fire would void the warranty and listing. For one, any heat sensitive components such as coil pans, safety switches Schrader cores, TXVs, motors, relays, all wiring, etc. will have to be replaced. If the heat that made it to the ducts was really high then it should be a no brainer to replace the entire system. If it was primarily smoke damage, they might be able to force the homeowner to settle for cleaning, which may includ ozone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    48
    You need to get your opinion to the insurance adjuster. The property owner has only limited say in usual and customary repairs after the fire, but the insurance adjuster is usually empowered to accept or deny additional repairs. If you put forth a good argument for replacement, you will be heard. But, the adjuster works for the insurance company and his first job is to pay as little as he can. In Illinois there is a state insurance review system to help keep equity in claims handling. You can encourage the property owner to look into it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,072
    Quote Originally Posted by CoolHeater View Post
    You need to get your opinion to the insurance adjuster. The property owner has only limited say in usual and customary repairs after the fire, but the insurance adjuster is usually empowered to accept or deny additional repairs. If you put forth a good argument for replacement, you will be heard. But, the adjuster works for the insurance company and his first job is to pay as little as he can. In Illinois there is a state insurance review system to help keep equity in claims handling. You can encourage the property owner to look into it.
    As a volunteer firefighter and a commercial HVAC tech, this post is spot on.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Boston/Cape Cod
    Posts
    66
    Call the manufacturer and ask them what to do considering they say replace a system that has any water damage, and I would think that unit has "water damage" from fighting the fire.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    central illinois
    Posts
    12
    Thank you all for your comments, replies and time everyone's input has helped me to present a professional argument with the insurance company and not the ( because I said so approach).

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