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  1. #1

    Cracked heat exchanger? Change furnace now or later?

    A tech came in to assess my new furnace needs. I have a 1996 Payne. He operned up a port and took a mirror to assess if there were any heat exchanger cracks as the plenum is narrow and I have a 110 input/90 output BTU unit for a house rated at 75 BTU.

    I showed me what could be a crack - hairline semicircle in one of the indented circles in the metal.

    He said there is a risk of CO and I needed to change exchanger at apporx $$$$$ or purchase a new furnace. He said by building code he should red tag my furnace despit the fact the CO risk is low.

    Does this all make sense or am I being scammed/pushed into an upgrade?

    I personally want to capture expiring fed rebates but my wife says why change out a good furnace esp since we are likely to move its location next year when we create a finished basement. This requires relocating furnace to a corner and redoing the ancient duct work w homemade sections.

    I lean to switch out furnace now and move it later. Rebates today amount to $$$$$ and will be be half that (a given) or zero next year if province (state) decides to drop their rebate.
    Last edited by Chris_Worthington; 03-11-2011 at 11:09 AM. Reason: Pricing Removed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Mount Airy, MD
    Posts
    7,281
    That is a common spot for holes in the exchanger, but "If" you are questioning the findings there are many companies that will provide 2nd opinions at sometimes no cost.

    Either way, I would consider getting a few estimates, talk to your neighbors about there installations, make sure they size it properly, etc....

    and BTW,,,, no pricing is allowed on the site

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    983
    If you're not sure if there is a crack or you don't trust the tech that came out, call around and get some different opinions. I wouldn't tell the other companies where the crack is, if there really is one they'll find it. Considering the age of the furnace and the fact that it's oversized for the application, I would recommend replacing the furnace rather than just the heat exchanger. The money you'll spend on the heat exchanger will be really be like throwing it out the window if you intend on replacing the furnace within a year anyway. Make sure a load calc is done and the correct size furnace is installed. When it comes time for your remodel, the new furnace can be moved and new ductwork installed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,956
    Don't you know your wife is ALWAYS right?
    At least ask her if you can buy a GOOD carbon monoxide detector.
    "Hey Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort." And he says, "there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. - Carl Spackler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    60
    first of all if the furnace is cracked it has to be addressed i hope you have a new detector in the house . if the water heater was cracked and there was water on the floor would you fix that? most furnaces have roll out switches and safety switches to protect you if the crack is severe did you have heat before calling the tech?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    130
    i would of red tagged the unit. i need to sleep at night. once that furnace heats up and the crack opens that could b a bad situation of going to sleep and not waking up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Richland, Ms
    Posts
    35
    Quote Originally Posted by Tallgeoff View Post
    A tech came in to assess my new furnace needs. I have a 1996 Payne. He operned up a port and took a mirror to assess if there were any heat exchanger cracks as the plenum is narrow and I have a 110 input/90 output BTU unit for a house rated at 75 BTU.

    I showed me what could be a crack - hairline semicircle in one of the indented circles in the metal.

    He said there is a risk of CO and I needed to change exchanger at apporx $$$$$ or purchase a new furnace. He said by building code he should red tag my furnace despit the fact the CO risk is low.

    Does this all make sense or am I being scammed/pushed into an upgrade?

    I personally want to capture expiring fed rebates but my wife says why change out a good furnace esp since we are likely to move its location next year when we create a finished basement. This requires relocating furnace to a corner and redoing the ancient duct work w homemade sections.

    I lean to switch out furnace now and move it later. Rebates today amount to $$$$$ and will be be half that (a given) or zero next year if province (state) decides to drop their rebate.


    You better read the small print on the rebates. Some rebates doesn't help you @ all. As far as getting money taken off your federal taxes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Richland, Ms
    Posts
    35
    Keep in mind that most furances have a twenty year part warranty as well. on the heat exchangers. Tallgeoff where do you live if you don't mind me asking?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    60
    ya 20year pro rated warranty usually to the original purchaser these days a out of range temp rise (to high) or high static pressure will void that in a heart beat seems like your trying to talk yourself out of a new furnace numbers (prices) make choices easier

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    over here
    Posts
    458
    Just so you know the point of failure described is a common area for that in those furnaces.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    115
    Is there no better way to check for a cracked heat exchanger? At least with a water heater you know there is a leak by the puddle around it...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    OH
    Posts
    149
    a lot of heat exchanger i have found is with my combustion analyizer, smoke test,and a heatexchanger psi test ',the fun ones was the lennix pulse if it shows up bad red tag shut off 'they will need heater do not take liabilty of them starting I have them sighn that i shut off do to breach in heatexchanger.

  13. #13

    Live in Toronto area

    Thanks for comments.

    Update- fellow came for second opinion on heat exch crack?and CO monitor failed!! I can't win as Im' running out of time for the Cdn fed rebate.

    He did say he's seen lots of hairline cracks that do not emit CO therefore he tests w sensitive monitor at source.

    He said an obvious crack eg hole is a no no but the hairlines are common and not an issue? Didn't want to oversell me.

    In the mean time I'm going to move my CO monitor to beside the basement and test it.

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