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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    205

    Need Some Serious Help

    Currently have Armstrong Ultra III HVAC using LP. Last few years have had a sooting problem, I've always cleaned it myself w/a vac and air under pressure.
    Well, the sooting problem has gotten worse and checked the flame and it was it being blown about and yellowish-orange. The bottom of the flame was a healthy blue.

    Pressure is fine and not water coming in w/LP. Still, the gas is shut down as a precaution for CO

    The system was installed by our contractor in 1993 and has been fairly reliable for a bottom-feeding system. Visual inspection on the exterior shows some rust at the seams and around a couple of screw holes. Burners look terrible even after 3 cleanings. I know there are a few tests to check for a cracked heat exchanger, but is there anything I can do/look for until the professionals arrive?

    I'd rather not him have to tear the thing apart only to find it cracked and have to be replaced. My question is can I spot the crack(s) w/out getting soot and mess all over the living area?

    2ndary Q: If the system has to be replaced-I'm thinking about just going ahead and spending (near)top dollar and getting an efficient Trane system.
    We live in the heart of Dixie w/fairly mild winters and blazing summers

    Thanx ahead
    Last edited by RomulanSpy; 03-02-2008 at 03:44 PM. Reason: Had to add something left out

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Grottoes VA
    Posts
    5,856
    You need to stop doing anything to the furnace and call someone to diagnose the problem you are having. I would go ahead and get ready to replace the furnace. Once an LP furnace soots up it is usually time to replace (not all the time though).

    Why would you want to replace it with a Trane? The are no more efficient than any other brand and in some cases they are less efficient.

    You need to find a contractor that will do the job correctly and with proper load calculations. And then install the brand he recommends, services and carries parts for.
    Karst means cave. So, I search for caves.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    205

    thank you Karst, now

    are there any units that you'd stay away from?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    Quote Originally Posted by RomulanSpy View Post
    are there any units that you'd stay away from?
    Yes, definitely stay away from any new unit that you might remotely think you're capable of working on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    669
    Quote Originally Posted by bobb25 View Post
    Yes, definitely stay away from any new unit that you might remotely think you're capable of working on.
    Yeah because keeping a gas/lp furnace serviced is pantamount to brain surgery.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    Quote Originally Posted by yelram View Post
    Yeah because keeping a gas/lp furnace serviced is pantamount to brain surgery.
    Not brain surgery, but I would assume that any competent service company would not let a furnace soot up for 3 years in a row.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Posts
    16,184
    Shut it off and don't use it. Call a service technician and have it properly serviced or replaced. This is not a DIY site, please read the forum rules.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    205

    I apologize

    I didn't read the rules as well as I should.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,118
    The rules are there for many reasons, utmost is safety. Propane will produce more soot than Natural Gas, and you won't get a totally blue flame, as with Natural gas. But, that soot proplem is telling you something. And c'mon, it's 14 years old, with no pro service for who knows how long. Shut it off, call a pro, and keep things safe. Investigate dual fuel (heat pump and L.P. furnace). Your climate seems like it might be favorable.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,981
    Sooting means there is a combustion problem that needs to be addressed. Sooting is not a condition that should be allowed to continue and clean up after periodically.

    Most likely the amount of money it would have cost to have that furnace sooting issue addressed would have more then paid for itself in the amount of money that has been spent in fuel usage.

    The most common cause of LP sooting issues is low gas pressure which can occur during cold start ups or when the fuel tank is low. In my opinion, every LP appliance should be equiped with a low pressure cut off switch to prevent a lot of nuisance soot issues that could easily be avoided.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    To his credit, he did state in his first post that he shut it down.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,769
    It may not be brian sugery.
    But, as soon as soot was found it should have been addressed. Doing his own work, he didn't know this, and now it may have created more trouble yet.
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