We purchased this house that was built in 1995 in the begining of September 2004. Prior to the purchase, in late August 2004, we had a furnace technician inspect the Geo-thermal furnace. Other than the original variable speed blower motor had been replaced with a single speed motor the technition said everything appeared normal and working fine. In Mid October 2004 the red light on the White Rodgers thermostat labeled MALF. came on. We immediatly contacted the service company and explained that the red light labeled malfunction was coming on. They said it was normal for the red light to come on when the temperture dropped and not to worry. So, we went ahead and schedulded a furnace tune up for mid November. In the meantime I e-mailed the manufacturer of the system and explained about the red light labeled MALF. was coming on near the end of the heat cycle. The reps reply was that I was probably looking at the emergency heating and not to worry. The tech came out in November and cleaned the furnace. He could get about a 15 degree temp rise in heating. His suggestion was that we have them come out in the spring and check the refrigerant level. About a week later the furnace quit heating altogether. A new tech checked the refrigerant level and said there was a leak somewhere. The final prognosis was that the coils froze and self-destructed because of the low refrigerant level.
I know it was stupid of me to ignore my own common sense about the red malfunction light and instead trust the advice of the service rep and the manufacturers rep. Should I just chalk this whole episode up to experience and buy the insurance next time? Or should I suggest that the service company help me out with the cost of a new furnace?
Yes low refigerant could cause the coil to freeze but self destruct? not sure what that means.... thaw the system, find the leak, recharge and you should be off and running. Or you may be money ahead to replace but if they said it self destructed maybe a second opinion would be wise.
Find the leak!
I would talk with service company, ask what self -destruct is?
If there is a leak, in the evaporator, then recover,repair,re-drier and recharge system.
It is not un-common for some geo-thermal evaporator to develop a small leak..
What brand and what is the model #?
Thanks for your replies. Self-destruct was my term. What the tech said was that the water in the coils froze. That collapsed some of the tubing inside. We did thaw the system out and the tech did add refrigerant but it leaked out. He checked inside the furnace for the leaking refrigerant and found none. His conclusion was that the refrigerant leak was into the water side. He also surmised that the system was water polluted. We're talking about a Climatemaster furnace that is almost 9 years old. The district rep for Climatemaster agreed that both coils would need to be replaced. That's $900 each(or so they said). The compressors were thought to be marginal. Even the fan motor needed to be replaced because it's shaft was bent.
I guess what I am really asking is that if the furnace technician had measured the refrigerant charge back in August prior to us buying this house would we be someplace different today?
People are taught to as a LAST resort put the gauges on.
The refrigerant charge is very important on those units, So puting gauges on and taking them off you lose charge.
This is not good for the system, There are ways to check goe's without gauges.
So unless he had a good reason, then he didn't need the gauges. But when the light came on, they should have come out and checked for problems at that time, again with or without gauges.
If you didn't by a home owner insurance deal with your purchase of the home then your kind of stuck. Unless you can prove a past history that was with held on purpose.
If you try to fail, and succeed.
Which have you done ?
Thanks for your reply. I am kinda interested what other things you could check. The things he put in his report were; complete check system is working OK, no leaks & TD(or TO, can't quite read it) is OK, amp draw down OK, voltage OK, stat OK, 15 KW heat strips OK, but indoor fan has been replaced & not with OEM motor, blower wheel and unit needs cleaned. This was in late August in Northern Ohio so he would have been checking the cooling function.
The one technician did think that it was a pre-existing condition. We searched high and low but couldn't find any service records. We contacted the previous owner but he said that he was unaware of any problems. He had moved out of the house in May 2003 and the house had sat empty for about a year and a half. He had left everything running and just had his realty agent check on it occasionally. That's basically why we only had a furnace inspection done. When the furnace technician said he made a complete check and the system was working OK, we made that leap of faith and made the assumption that the system was working OK.