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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    8

    3 Carrier 38CKC fires in 1 community in 2yrs

    My townhome community is less than five years old, there have been 3 Carrier air conditioning explosion in that time frame all 38CKC models. The most recent one was one door down from my home on Wed July 2, 2008. Both Units exploded, and caught the back of the house on fire within minutes. We had a HOA meeting 2 days ago and they seem to think that there is no need there is not a problem, its all just a fluke. But after the first explosion in 2006 at a different home in a different row, they built the remained of the town homes in the community with bigger units. I guess i am looking for any help I can get, does this sound like and installation issues? a batch of bad units our wonderful builder my have gotten a deal on? or just bad luck? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. The Hoa said we are on our own if we want to have our units inspected and we are not even sure what we should be looking for? Please help.....................................

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    205

    Did the same company install them?

    Quote Originally Posted by topaz7 View Post
    My townhome community is less than five years old, there have been 3 Carrier air conditioning explosion in that time frame all 38CKC models. The most recent one was one door down from my home on Wed July 2, 2008. Both Units exploded, and caught the back of the house on fire within minutes. We had a HOA meeting 2 days ago and they seem to think that there is no need there is not a problem, its all just a fluke. But after the first explosion in 2006 at a different home in a different row, they built the remained of the town homes in the community with bigger units. I guess i am looking for any help I can get, does this sound like and installation issues? a batch of bad units our wonderful builder my have gotten a deal on? or just bad luck? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. The Hoa said we are on our own if we want to have our units inspected and we are not even sure what we should be looking for? Please help.....................................
    If these machines had been explodin' across the fruited plain-then its Carrier's fault and time to ante up, but this sounds like a human error.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    11,847
    Define explosion please.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    8
    I am assuming the same contractor installed the AC units for the whole town home community. I was told by the fire marshall to hire a third party inspector to check the install.....

    To define explosion, my neighbor was home whne the one on July 2, 2008 happened she is the one who called 911. She was sitting in her living room and heard a loud noise looked out windo to see both units (we have dual systems and the fencing around it engulfed in a huge fire ball. Fire dept arrived with in minutes and it all ready set the back of the hooluse on fire.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Central Maryland
    Posts
    246
    Quote Originally Posted by topaz7 View Post
    ITo define explosion, my neighbor was home whne the one on July 2, 2008 happened she is the one who called 911. She was sitting in her living room and heard a loud noise looked out windo to see both units (we have dual systems and the fencing around it engulfed in a huge fire ball.
    Sewer Gas?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewer_gas

    Exploding household appliances to me mean natural gas, propane, poorly stored gasoline or sewer gas.

    -HF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,709
    i have been doing this work for over 35 years and have NEVER seen a condensing unit explode and cause a building fire. to have 3 of them in a community that new there is something VERY WRONG.

    not sure if i would pay to have it inspected or ripped out and replaced......

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    20,953
    This is a new one for me also... I have not heard of condensers (or heat pumps) literally exploding. Sometimes a severe electrical short (electrical short is a general term that can be roughly defined as electricity for some reason traveling somewhere it was not intended to go--yeah, that is vague) can cause a loud pop that resembles an explosion sound. The pop is actually a spark. If there is enough current (current is kinda like electrical power), the spark could produce enough heat to start a fire. Note that there are a lot of assumptions here and I would not recommend this theory being taken as fact without an inspection by a qualified (and properly licensed) professional in the appropriate trade.

    I would do two things:

    First: Do some googling to see if there is a history of this unit (or any other Carrier unit) having this problem. The reason for limiting the search to Carrier is because you have Carrier installed at your townhome community.

    Next I would go ahead and get someone independent (and with properly credentials) to inspect the installations. If you indeed find problems, you have a place to start from to file a legal claim against whomever...

    Personally, this sounds like an installation issue rather than an equipment issue.

    Good luck with this one, there may be some legal procedures to get it resolved...

    Please let us know what happens when it is all over, THX!
    Last edited by ga-hvac-tech; 07-09-2008 at 11:56 AM.
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Quality work at a fair price with excellent customer service!

    Romans Ch's 5-6-7-8

    2 Chronicles 7:14

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Posts
    1,051
    The only type of popping with a fire that I have seen is the plastic capaciters blowing and setting the control panel on fire. My neighbors did this and it burned the paint off the top of the unit. This was a Nordyne product. I don't know if Carrier uses thes plastic capaciters.

    Can they determine exactly what burned up or exploded first? I would think it would be pretty hard for a tech to determine what may happen in the future without more information.

    At this point , with three units doing the same thing I would be leary of keeping the unit also unless it is determined that it is a installation problem.
    Its a good Life!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    8
    The gas company has all ready been out from the state office in Richmond, they have ruled out a gas explosion, all explosions happen during the summer months, the gas lines and meters are all on same side A/C pipes run under the meter into the house. Spoke to fire marshall and he siad they usually rule these things an accident and let the insurance companies figure it out. I do not think the insurance is doing anything though because both trach condesers are still sitting out back waiting to be replaced off to the side. need to take pictures. The units are 38CKC split system Air conditoners

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    33,926
    Interesting!

    The CKC and Bryant twin 561 are the most popular units in town. About every vinyl village and even the rich folks homes have them everywhere. Noisy little suckers but seem pretty bulletproof though we did have to change a comp on one yesterday, right after a lightning storm. Didn't go boom though. Was interesting that there are none of this size little Bristol at the parts house with 150 on backorder!

    Most boomin' we ever see out of any A/C is the pins blowing out once in a great while.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Naples, Fl
    Posts
    889
    We have installed multiples 561/ckc units and as of this minute even in the lightning capital of the USA, not the first explosion have we heard of or experienced. And I have to believe Florida has as creative piece work installers as any other part of the country.

    Good Luck

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Soudern Kal-e-phone-e-ya
    Posts
    276
    Can they determine exactly what burned up or exploded first? I would think it would be pretty hard for a tech to determine what may happen in the future without more information.

    Technician = no


    Insurance Investigator = YES!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Northern Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,986
    My bet is on installation and/or service problems.
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

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