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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    1,341

    Cracked heat X ????

    A cracked heat exchanger can be a bad situation. But with the newer furnaces that are essentially negative pressure, is there any harm? Today I found a heat exchanger, 16 years old, very rusty on the inside with seems that are 1/8 to 1/4 inch separated. No indication of a crack, but it made me nervous just looking at it. I brought the customer down to the furnace and explained that although I could not find a definitive crack, my gut feeling is that if I pulled the furnace out, I would find one. I used the bore scope and could see signs overheating. I red tagged it.
    Questions. How far do you go to find a crack if you suspect one? What do you let go?
    Never give up; Never surrender!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    31
    Id look at it if it were my own. The risk of running it would be too dangerous and i would tell the customer that. Its all about safety and my family comes first. I always go with my gut feeling. Sometimes the naked eye can't see everything but your gut instinct is usually right.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    In a boiler room
    Posts
    7,158
    I don't red tag them just for rust, but I certainly stress to the homeowner that their furnace will be unsafe shortly and now would be the perfect time to replace it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eastern Shore, MD
    Posts
    798
    Furnaces have all ways been in a negative pressure... It's not co spilling out of a crack that should worry you. It's flue gases backing up due to air being Pulled in brought the failure causing high levels of co or flame roll out. According to the AGA....ANY failure is well enough to red tag a furnace

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    In a boiler room
    Posts
    7,158
    Quote Originally Posted by Gross View Post
    Furnaces have all ways been in a negative pressure... It's not co spilling out of a crack that should worry you. It's flue gases backing up due to air being Pulled in brought the failure causing high levels of co or flame roll out. According to the AGA....ANY failure is well enough to red tag a furnace
    A rusted heat exchanger is not a failure if there is no "visible crack or hole".

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    rusted hx needs a good cleaning and vacuming out then check to see if a crack is there
    have seen many a rusted hx lennox and carrier mostly but could not find ant cracks just poor draft in most cases

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    435
    I like to poke at rusty heat exhangers with a screw driver in a few spots, if it is copmpromised you will usually find out much quicker than taking it out. If I don't put a hole in it and I still am uncertain I will explain to the customer and let them decide if they want to pay me to take it apart and stress the safety factor.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    In a boiler room
    Posts
    7,158
    Quote Originally Posted by HuNGRYTeCH View Post
    I like to poke at rusty heat exhangers with a screw driver in a few spots, if it is copmpromised you will usually find out much quicker than taking it out. If I don't put a hole in it and I still am uncertain I will explain to the customer and let them decide if they want to pay me to take it apart and stress the safety factor.
    Just don't let the homeowner see you jabbing their hx with your screwdriver!! LOL

    I do that too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    1,341
    Thanks for the feed back. I like to think that I stress safety.
    Never give up; Never surrender!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Dalton, Ga.
    Posts
    65
    These are good posts. Now you should also possibly consult with Jim Davis at NCI. He is the leading furnace expert in the industry.
    Also if you use a combustion analyzer you will find that with a properly combusting furnace there is a very low risk of CO going into the home from a crack. But a low level CO monitor is a lifesaving investment for the H.O.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Landis North Carolina
    Posts
    528
    Quote Originally Posted by trouble time View Post
    A cracked heat exchanger can be a bad situation. But with the newer furnaces that are essentially negative pressure, is there any harm? Today I found a heat exchanger, 16 years old, very rusty on the inside with seems that are 1/8 to 1/4 inch separated. No indication of a crack, but it made me nervous just looking at it. I brought the customer down to the furnace and explained that although I could not find a definitive crack, my gut feeling is that if I pulled the furnace out, I would find one. I used the bore scope and could see signs overheating. I red tagged it.
    Questions. How far do you go to find a crack if you suspect one? What do you let go?
    You go as far as you have to or untill the customer says replace.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Dalton, Ga.
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by stickinit2thman View Post
    You go as far as you have to or untill the customer says replace.
    Lol... You may think that, but there are several companies in major class action law suites because of that mindset.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Posts
    143
    I understand what you mean about gut feelings on whether a furnace is safe or not but if you go by gut feelings and not evidence or CO readings than your relying on speculation and fear that you might have instilled to the unknowing homeowner. Just my opinion .

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