Almost everything from the early days of higher efficiency was junk. It's not just Rheem. They went above the rest of the industry changing out burners, ignitors, ignition modules on their furnaces in the early 90s to prevent problems. No one else did that.
Why is your 40 year old shop furnace still going? Because it cost a pretty penny back then.
You can get a 90% furnace today for about the same price as some 60% furnaces 30 years ago. Adjusted for inflation, that's about the biggest steal on the market. Why are they that cheap? Cuz the manufacturers cheapened them because John Q. Public wasn't willing to pay more. Cheaper cabinetry and heat exchangers, internal components all made in 3rd world countries. I've watched HVAC sales for 13 years now. When I started selling furnaces in 1991, we weren't hammered for bottom dollar. Today it's a fight among dealers trying to undercut each other because in most cases the HO will buy the lowest bid. Look at all the people who come on here wanting to buy online to save a buck, thinking that by costing the local dealer the equipment sale will help them in the long run.
My rant is over now too
That type of Rheem furnace on Propane was noted for delayed ignition. As Baldy said igniter placement is important, also i've found that the oriface that feeds the crossover tube can corrode and not let enough gas through to make the carry flame big enough to carry the flame to all the burners. This is especially true on the larger furnaces. Cleaning and slightly enlarging the carry oriface will fix this problem if everything else is ok.
Originally posted by russw58
We have done this 3 years in a row...... The heat exchanger is fine.... I thought I stated that in the original post. I am not the average home owner, in that I am an industrial maintenance tech, and I do this kind of thing as part of my job. I only posted because I have run out of ideas.
You did forget to mention that the heat exchanger was checked thoroughly for cracks. Thats no big deal though, since we are used to knowledgeable people only giving us half of what is usually needed to answer their questions.
The only problem is that when these people start to get ignorant because we are'nt mind readers, it tends to chase most of us away.
I have an idea for you, but I would probably get the boot if I gave it to you.
Furnaces seem to be expected to last forever without breaking down, however with cars you expect to repair things.
In the early 80s every manufacturer rushed to get a high efficiency condensing furnace on the market and they all had flaws.
The standing pilot gas furnace with a draft hood is a much simpler system and the technology was refined decades ago.
Rheem's furnace went through many changes, they tried to get rid of the cracking clam shell heat exchanger and went to the drum furnace. The drum design did not stand up so they went to a tubular heat exchanger of all stainless steel construction. The primary and secondary heat exchangers are stainless steel as a factory standard. The cabinets are small, compact and quiet.
IMHO it is the best high efficiency furnace out there.
The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.
Why not modify the control as was instructed back in the mid 90's. Alot of manufactures used a compnation ignitor sensor set up provided by the igition control manufacturers. When it was determined that the flame sensor could be loacted at the other end, a proper flame would have to be established for the unit to stay lit. It would shutdown and try again. The ignitor was mentioned as well. I think there was a retrofit kit availble that would put the ignitor in a better position to avoild premature failure. Both cases were efforts for the mfg to improve your experience but it sounds to me like neither were done.
My question would be more along the lines of who has been working on it that wasnt aware of these issues in the industry?
I gotta tell you, in the 80's some prertty nutsy things were developed in the chase for the holy grail of gas heat (90%+). There was the plexivent, there was the pulse there was the drum there was the recalls of many brands for heat exchangers which were not sufficient for the moisure. The 40 year old unit you reference had none of this crap in it.
Should you replace it? Thats up to you but at some point the fixes are going to cost as much as a replacement. Furnaces built today are built to last for 20-25 years if installed and maintained properly (good airflow, proper combustion air, venting etc.), water management and heat removal is no longer an issue. If you dont like hot surface then dont let me scare you with this but Rheem uss direct spark igintion while many other brands still use the hot surface ignotor you loath.
If there are modifcation kits available, why have none of the service companies known about them.
I bought this furnace from a local dealer when I built my house. I figured support the local economy and have the service person close at hand.
A year later, the guy gets a divorce and the business folds. I'm screwed.
So I go with another local contractor. A fairly large shop. Does a lot of new home installs. he comes out and, says replace the burner, and goes away. That didn't fix it, and he wouldn't return my calls.
Last year I go with another LARGE contractor in the area. They checked for a crack heat exchanger, put in a new hot surface iginitor and left. I asked that their sales people call me about a new furnace. I never got a response.
This year, I go with another large contractor that has been in business for 30-40 yrs in the area. Their tech can't find anything, and their service department says they are aware of the problem, but have never been able to resolve it.
I asked that their sales people call me, and I still have not heard from them.
I guess since I am not a building contractor with 30 new installs, they are not interested in a single sale.
hot surface ignition
doc what year did the rheem start using the spark ignition?I have a ten year old rheem with hsi
Just an update, since I was reminded of this forum. I have replaced the Rheem furnace with a Carrier Infinity series. It has worked without a hitch all winter. I forget that it is there.
I won a bet with the salesman. He said I wouldn't need a humidifier, and withing 2 weeks, the humidity in the house was below 15%. I couldn't even pet the dog. He said that if the humidity in the house got below 15%, they would do the humidifier labor for free.
The old Rheem will be going into my shop to replace the old Carrier, along with the old Central A/C.
Thanks for your help.