Inspected the first one (for me anyway) today. Wasn't cracked. Forgot to look very close at the chimney connection, outside pipe looked OK as I recall. Don't have the "upgrade" kits yet. Customer got the letter and called the distributor, Johnstone Supply, and they called us. This is in South Jersey, near Vineland if you're familiar. Got to go back when the kits come in. I wasn't expecting to get any of these, should have read this thread more carefully the first time. Oh well.
Well now that I have a few of these under my belt... The "upgrade" takes under an hour. They are now paying for a new chimney (Coleman) IF you need to replace the Heat Exchanger. I highly doubt I will find a heat exc that is cracked. They SHOULD pay for all these rotted chimney IMO.
Ok, now that Ive done a few more, the upgrades are easy, maybe 30 minutes actual on the job... But Im wondering, they want you to drop the orifice size, which changes the flame pattern slightly. These suckers already are notoriuos for locking out on flame sense. Im wondering how many "It was fine before you did that upgrade" calls we will see?
Ran into my first Heat Exchanger replacment today. They give you 4 hours, can be done, but its a pain. Hope I dont find many more of these.
Side note, they want you to reduce the orifice size from 70K to 64K. How many homeowner are going to complain about the heat loss. Now it isnt sized the way the was. using more gas. So on. Also, now it will produce an even LOWER exhaust temp, creating MORE condensation, and more rust. Also, flame pattern changes, these things may lock out even more than before> Time will tell...
3 out of 30 so far needed heat exc's. One because that shield that you hang the liner on was broke. Anyone keeping the old exchangers? Coleman is requesting we keep them, they might pick them up??? We dont wanna store these dang things, are you guys? They also want the Chimneys???
Well I found my first real problem today, where the house was very close to going up in flames. The exchanger was busted wide open, the side of the furnace, and into the wall, through drywall, roasted a 2x4 1/2 through. Single Dad with a 2 year old son. This weekend we are spose to get a couple of days below Zero. It may have went up in flames this weekend.
This was a Coleman from 1998. Gave me a good feeling after I was done, maybe we saved some lives...
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Defective furnaces pose potential deadly danger
Saturday, December 18, 2004
By Molly Miron
A defective Coleman furnace came close to causing a house fire in a mobile home south of Bemidji on Friday.
Chad Halvorson, a Service Technician from Naylor’s of Bemidji, a Coleman authorized service center, removed the furnace just in time to prevent a tragedy. The furnace had already scorched and charred the wall. He said he has also found defects in about 40 other furnaces in mobile homes around Bemidji, just not this drastic. The inner walls 2x4 was charred nearly 1/3 through, and surely was on its way to disaster.
The big worry is that hundreds of defective furnaces heat mobile homes manufactured between 1995 and 2000, and the owners likely don’t know there has been a recall of their heaters.
“They send out letters to owners to contact their servicers,” said Debby LaRue, administrative manager at Naylor’s Heating and Refrigeration. “They tell them, ‘Don’t use this furnace. It’s not safe.’”
The furnaces operate on LP gas or natural gas. Unitary Products Group, which manufactured the 12 models of Coleman, Coleman Evcon and Red T furnaces, has sent letters to those who returned the warranty papers when they bought the furnaces. But the mobile homes could easily have changed ownership more than once during the nine years since the furnaces were installed. Or, the owners might not have filled out and sent in their warranty information, so the company can’t find them, LaRue said.
Coleman has also posted a Web site at http://www.dgatprogram.com with a list of the defective models. Other Coleman models are not involved in the recall. There is also a toll-free telephone number – (888) 665-4640 – for people to access information about the defective furnaces. The company urges callers to check the rating label on the furnace and copy down model and serial numbers before calling.
The Web site states: “A number of premature heat exchanger failures on these furnaces have been reported. The furnaces involved in these reports were found to have heat exchanger cracking, burn through and in extreme cases, furnace wrapper burn through. These situations, if left unresolved, can lead to significant property damage, personal injury or death.”
“It’s scary,” LaRue said.
She said the situation is grave enough that the gas company Aquila has made a national policy to disconnect the gas to these furnaces if a company representative sees one in place that has not been upgraded.
“You turn gas off to a person’s house tonight at 10 below and it’s going to be a real pain,” said Faye Kroening, Naylor’s dispatcher.
The furnace company offers free inspection and upgrade of any furnace on the list of defective models. Kroening said the company covers all parts and labor if performed by one of Coleman’s authorized service center technicians. She said the upgrade could be as simple as a two-hour job to replace the baffle, to a six-hour heat exchanger replacement, to an all-day operation to replace the entire furnace, as happened on Friday.
Mobile-home owners who have one of the defective furnace models should turn it off and warm the house with a safe electric heater until the furnace can be inspected and upgraded as necessary, Kroening said.
“We’ve kept houses warm for a couple of days waiting for parts,” she said of the electric heaters, which cost about $30 and are available at most department and hardware stores. “You don’t want any of those fish house heaters or sunflower heaters with the Coleman tank attached.”
Fish house heaters give off carbon monoxide, which doesn’t cause any harm in a fish house that has plenty of ventilation, but they would be dangerous in a closed-up house. She said turning on a gas oven and opening the door to heat the house is dangerous, too.
Kroening also warned everyone to install both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. She said being in a place with anything more than 9 parts per million of CO over an eight-hour period can be fatal.
Well, you guys who do these in thirty minutes must catch some pretty big fish too! But seriously, the kits are getting easy to do. It's the inspection that takes me the extra time. We've replaced seven exchangers so far and I've done about 21 kits. The roof jack is the biggest pain, and it takes an extra pair of hands to hold the new heat exchanger in place while someone else puts on the three bolts on top that hold it to the top of the cabinet. Then nothing wants to line up when putting it back together.
I watched the video, and at some point I always think of the guy, (who somehow reminds me of Elmer Fudd), saying, "Simply install the new heat exchanger like this" or something to that effect, while the camera cuts away and back, Voila! it's done.