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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Eastern OH near Wheeling WV
    Posts
    14

    Bryant heat exchanger inspection and gas valvue question

    We have a Bryant Plus 90, model 398AAV048100AAKA Nat Gas furnace that has been serviced (cleaned and inspected) yearly. Three weeks ago we had the installing dealer service it to check the secondary heat exchanger since it is on the Bryant/Carrier recall list. The tech said the heat exchanger is good as long as you do not see water on the floor. I asked if there is any way to inspect it (since the Company said the tech was supposed to pull out the blower assembly and clean it and at the same time use a mirror to look up at the exchanger as part of their high cost seasonal inspection) and the tech said no need to pull out the blower assembly since the blower compartment looked clean and our filter was clean.

    He said he found no problems in his 15/20 minute inspection... I was already feeling ripped off since the company listed all the things he was supposed to verify and that his service call should last 1 to 1.5 hours. He only tested the entering temp 73 deg, leav. temp 133 deg. looked at filter, look in blower section quickly. And said he was done.

    I asked why we can smell gas when we open the top door on it (no matter what time of the year) and the guy said he did not smell gas, even though I could smell it. I asked him to smell around the gas valve. He said he did smell gas then, so he checked by bubble testing all gas pipe connections... no leak. I started sniffing and said it seams like it was around where the gas enters the valve and had him check the black gasket on the valve itself. Low and behold we found a small leak in the valve gasket that he said was very minor and he said they would order one and we should hear back within 2 days. The company did not call back so we called them and they said it would cost big bucks (not listed since you have no pricing policy.)

    Well, after three weeks with no success from them I am trying to find out what is the correct valve and what the valve should cost. The current valve is EF32CW189A. Of course the tech said they no longer make the valve and there are several that would fit. I have found online that there seems to be a wide range of costs for the valves indicated for this furnace. After the service we have had from this company we plan on having another company do the gas valve replacement... but the installing company is the only Bryant dealer in the area, that is why I am wanting to find out what valve should be ordered by a non-bryant dealer. Also, what is the proper way for another company to check the secondary HE on this furnace since this model was one of the ones listed in Bryant/Carriers recall list.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    the guy there may have been a pm guy and not a real service tech with dianostic skills so dont be to hard on him yet. The cost of the valve is what it is and if leaking should be replace asap. As far as you having to wait for a call back there is no excuse that i can think of. You should have recieved a call about the price the next day if not the same day.
    a combustion test should have been done on the unit to verafie that the HX is good and that it is operating to its rated ability

    most companies have the brand they use but are capable of handling other brands and warrenties for them also so dont think that since they dont sell bryant or carrier that they cant handle the the warrenties involved. They may be service dealors of that brand

    call the co back and register a complaint about the service you feel you did not get and the response you didnt get and see what they are willig to do for you. you are the comsumer and your needs are any companies means of making it or breaking it and should come first

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Eastern OH near Wheeling WV
    Posts
    14
    Thanks for your reply Tinknocker.

    I am going to call another company to do the gas valve since this company is known for sending out newbys to do work at about triple the local industry charges!. The tech that came out said he had over 20 years experience repairing hvac equipment, but I don't believe him. We quit using this company the last 8 years because of their habit of using fresh out of college workers who spent more time on the phone asking how to fix things than actually doing work.

    We have tried other companies and they have been somewhat better. We were told we had to use an authorized Bryant dealer to do the secondary heat exchanger inspection, otherwise we would never have called them.

    We need a new AC unit so we asked them about one. To give you an idea how the work, they handle Bryant and Luxaire (according to the manufacturers websites...but they prefer their own brand... What is their own brand, it was Xenon for 5 years and now the sell Luxaire but re-sticker it as their own brand and give you a free 10 year labor warranty. I asked them if it was a factory warranty and they said no, it is an in-house warranty. I asked if they sell Luxaire and could I buy a factory warranty and they said that is stupid, they give the warranty, that nobody wants Luxaire with a factory labor warranty when they have a free dealer warranty on their re-labled Luxaire. A friend of mine bought one of those Xenon furnaces from them with the free 10 year labor warranties, but they will not honor it now since they no longer carry xenon! So why would I want their rebranded Luxaire since who knows how long they will carry Luxaire, or be in business.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    SouthEast NC ICW & Piedmont Foothills
    Posts
    7,635
    you concerns should be aired to the owner of your hvac company, though it does help to vent frustration prior to presenting your concerns.
    It`s better to be silent and thought the fool; than speak and remove all doubt.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Columbia, MD
    Posts
    3,789
    i would use the contractor locator map on this site and find someone close to your area!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,614
    I would send them packing and find another contractor,plenty of good contractors out there just got to look,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,411
    Quote Originally Posted by gravity View Post
    i would use the contractor locator map on this site and find someone close to your area!
    Good idea.

    There is a link in my signature.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Eastern OH near Wheeling WV
    Posts
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm View Post
    Good idea.

    There is a link in my signature.
    Thanks for the suggestion.

    I checked the locator and the closest member is at least 1.5 hours drive from me.

    We will call a company that our neighbor suggested tomorrow. It is a somewhat newer company, but when I asked around, it turns out to be ran by guys that left a big company in town that had a revolt over unionization. I used the bigger company for at least 5 years, but they went out of business. It turns out that the employees wanted to unionize and the owner was not going to put up with the problems so he just shut the door! Some of their best guys got together and started their own company. I was afraid to use this new company, since nobody could tell us about them. But now I know they were some of the same guys that have worked on our system in the past, they may be ok.

    Since we are going to need a new AC system installed, I may ask this new company for a quote. They sell Tempstar, which I was not impressed with in the past, but it seems they are made better now. What do you think of them, if they are properly installed?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,829
    You're going through the Yellow Pages and trying to find a quality company by hit or miss. Read the attached white paper and follow the instructions. You should be happy with the results. There are only two kinds of companies out there and two kinds of employees. Those who do the job as correctly as they are capable and those who cut corners. I believe you're searching for the former and not the latter. Good luck.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Eastern OH near Wheeling WV
    Posts
    14
    Well, thought I would update you all on my Bryant furnace situation.

    I called a highly recommended company to replace the gas valve after the 1st company never did order it for us. They sent out a tech and replaced the valve. They also refused to check the heat exchanger, even after the owner said he would have the tech pull the blower unit and look up at the secondary HE. The tech said nobody told him from his company to do anything other than replace the valve. So, two non inspections! Also, neither company even had a combustion analyzer or knew what they were.

    We then were notified by our county that we were next on their list for a home energy audit and that they do check all gas appliances.

    When the audit man came out, low and behold he had a combustion analyzer with him! He said the government requires them to use them on furnaces and hot water heaters.

    After checking the furnace he was quite troubled by his readings. It turns out he said the CO reading should be around 100 and he kept getting around 8000! He was worried that maybe his analyzer was broken so he came back with another installer/tech and his results were the same. Because of the CO and other readings they then said they knew the heat exchangers were clogged and they also felt the secondary HE had holes or was cracked.

    Because of this they replaced the furnace with a nice 95% AFUE rated single stage one that we are very happy with. The new one was properly sized due to their insulating and sealing our home and then doing a proper load calc.

    The head tech took the old Bryant back to his shop and pulled the heat exchangers out to see what all he could find. He came by today with photos to show us the actual shape our old "in great shape- according to the Bryant tech" Heat exchangers were in. There were several long cracks with big holes in the middle of 2 of the 5 exchangers. In another exchanger there was an area about 4" x 4" just filled with pin sized holes. When he very gently touched this area his finger went right through! (I will post photos later)

    Also the seals between the primary and secondary heat exchangers were totally destroyed, and the tubes were getting clogged where the coating Bryant/Carrier used inside to coat the exchangers was separating from the steel (which is exactly what the law suit said was happening in the recalled furnaces). He said he was amazed that the local dealers could not detect the massive problem if they had properly checked the secondary HE.

    But he also admitted that except for the company he works for (that does the Energy Audits for our area's gas and electric companies), and one other area company headed by a man who used to work for them, even have Combustion Analyzers in this area of Eastern Ohio.

    So, it seems the moral to the story is that today's techs really need to get training on how to use Combustion Analyzers, and then buy one! The installation manual that comes with Allied Air (Lennox, Armstrong Air, Concord and Ducane) furnaces even states the yearly tune-up should include a combustion analysis be done!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,755
    You should send copies of those pics to the 2 other companies. Along with a letter telling them that they lost the sell of a new furnace because their techs don't actually check what they are suppose to.
    Contractor locator map

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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Eastern OH near Wheeling WV
    Posts
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    You should send copies of those pics to the 2 other companies. Along with a letter telling them that they lost the sell of a new furnace because their techs don't actually check what they are suppose to.
    I shall be doing as you suggested, Beenthere. I think the owners of both those companies should know about the danger they could have put us in with a furnace that had swiss cheese secondary heat exchangers!

    The man who did the tear apart of the old Bryant was the owner of the company and they are part of an alliance of many Community Action Companies who do these Government Sponsored home inspections/ Weatherization, and if needed furnace replacements. They were all troubled by the service we received by the local HVAC companies, but they said most of the companies around here do not know how to diagnose equipment (by not having or knowing how to use modern tools), but are really just parts exchangers.

    He is donating the Bryant Heat exchanger to their training center as a teaching model of what to look for in Bryant/Carrier furnaces that were part of the lawsuit and recall and/or furnaces that are showing combustion analyzer results like those found on our furnace. So, some good came out of this experience.

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