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Thread: Anyone else think this site is bogus?

  1. #41
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    I think more attempting to provoke someone into asking me what the hell I was talking about so I c

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by timebuilder View Post
    Cracks are not acceptable, no matter if they pass no CO at all.
    [QUOTE=Gus_Scorchio;16986601]
    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty hvac View Post
    Looking at your profile Gus. You are not even a tech. Have you ever diagnosed a bad heat exchanger?


    That's what keeps me off boards like this ... people who "ass-ume".

    I had some smart-guy tech say that to me ("you're no tech") a few years ago when I was standing with a friend of mine in a basement, trying to explain why he wasn't getting much air flow from a heat run. The tech put out a lot of "attitude" and wouldn't cut me much slack. I was standing with the builder friend and had on slacks and a Polo shirt, so I looked like a normal guy, not grubby like I'd just crawled from under the house. The guy didn't ask who I was, didn't really want to answer any questions and was clearly perturbed that I was there.

    Long story short, the guy doesn't work for that hvac outfit any more. The builder bought the outfit (the shop, trucks and the few regular customers they had.) That guy was first to go.

    I'm here because someone doesn't know their craft and "disparaged" my web site and said it was bogus. On top of not knowing airflow through a residential furnace, folks seem to have a problem reading and understanding.

    Just to put your mind at ease, I've been in the hvac business since 1976. Actually before that if you count clean & and checks during high school. I've been an owner, sales manager, foreman, estimator, technician and manufacturer's rep. When I started, the industry was just "discovering" spark ignition for gas furnaces and were selling upgrade and retrofit packages for existing furnaces to eliminate the standing pilot. That's way before NATE was even a thought. RSES and ACCA and ASHRAE had all the good information and influence. My EPA card is stamped "Universal" and is dated 5/12/1994. What's the date on yours? I've got handtools and test meters (Simpson 260) older than many of you, so before you get all techy, yes I'm familiar with gas furnaces, control packages, ignition systems, heat-pumps, geothermal and zoning systems.

    I guess my question would be why would "common knowledge" be questioned? What, you have to know someone's pedigree to understand when someone tells you that when you throw something in the air, gravity pulls it back to earth?

    A residential gas furnace with an a-coil on the discharge and the blower running is a pressurized box. Inside the box is a heat exchanger. No matter where the hole or crack is in the HX, no matter how big, and no matter how much CO the furnace produces, NONE of the CO is going from inside the heat exchanger to the indoor air stream. It is physically impossible - unless you plan to change the laws of physics. There's a hundred times more air pressure on the outside of the heat exchanger shell than there is on the inside.

    I don't know what fancy classes you guys are taking, or who has been putting this line of BS out for all these years, but it's amazing. It made sense when gravity furnaces existed. It also made sense when those furnaces were converted to in-shot power burners. A split in a heat exchanger would allow coal dust and CO into a house. But that hasn't been true since the advent of the furnace with an integral blower and air-conditioning coil mounted on it.

    The manufacturers love it, however, because it increases their sales. In fact, they count on it. Their engineers pat themselves on the back for helping the company's bottom line.

    You don't have to believe me - try it for yourself. Take an old furnace (atmospheric burner or induced draft, it doesn't matter), put an a-coil on it, drill some holes in the heat exchanger, and drop a purple smoke bomb in the HX. Or use freon and a leak detector, or salt-water and a halide torch, or powdered smoke. As long as the furnace blower is running and the a-coil is in position, you'll never get anything to pass from the HX to the indoor air stream. The blower will always push air into the heat exchanger. (This is NOT true for 90% furnaces with secondary heat exchangers, boilers and packaged units.)

    My problem with the whole topic is that some technicians worry about finding a tiny heat exchanger crack and overlook the flue and combustion air parameters altogether. Fewer people have died because of cracked heat exchangers in modern gas furnaces than those who have perished over the years because of blocked flues.

    Those problems have become synonymous in the news, but they are totally different circumstances. A small heat exchanger crack won't do anything, is hard to even find, and may cause minor changes in combustion analyzer readings. A partially or fully blocked flue, however, may kill the occupants. Unfortunately the media can't tell the difference.

    As far as whether to red-tag and disconnect the furnace, well that depends on how deep your pockets are and what you don't know. First, there's NO directive in most building codes that tells you to dismantle the customer's equipment. It usually says identify the equipment problem, turn it off if it is unsafe and notify the owner and/or occupant. In some municipalities you are technically breaking the law if you disconnect a customer's furnace against their will. That is considered "willful damage" and subject to prosecution. This is obviously an issue when you "red tag" a furnace because of a heat exchanger and the owner has conflicting information from another contractor.

    I'm here to tell you that you need to pay as much attention to the flue and combustion air issues as you do to tracking down and condemning little holes and cracks. You'll save more customers.

    And, just because someone doesn't advertise their pedigree in the who's-who department, doesn't mean they don't have one. Remember, the next unfamiliar nerd that you talk to might be your boss's boss, a majority stockholder, or potential investor. It pays to be polite.
    "fewer people have died from cracked heat exchangers in modern gas furnaces than have perished because of blocked flues"

    thats great gus just great, like US drones kills less middle eastern civilians than boots on the ground" so they are good too right?

    cracked is cracked we are trained to find them for a reason.

  3. #43
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    You could always just put in a blank orifice into the burner on the cell that is cracked and get folks by.

    Im sure we have all found bad heat exchangers that have been cracked for at least 1 whole heating season. If the flame is burning fine and you have good combustion you really dont have much to worry about......and of course.... the blower is pushing the foul gasses back into the heat exchanger.

    I worked for the gas company decades ago and plugging burners and even welding up cracks was pretty common back then. I remember...and this was the early 80s going into houses with water heaters in the basements that were not vented. Back then if the basement was fairly drafty....and this was pretty common around here in run down houses..... folks would install water heaters without venting.

    Freaked out the first time I saw one...... turned their gas off.....went in in the morning and they sent someone else out to turn the gas back on... Our policy then was to vent anything.... but stuff like this was let go till they had to be replaced.....and then we vented them out properly.

    Used to also see a lot of unvented water heaters in restaurants...... they would let them go because of the range vents etc...... of course... once the kitchen was closed you still had a water heater there venting into the kitchen.

    I would do whatever the company policy tells me to do in these situations today and would lean toward cutting the appliance off...... but only because we are such a lawsuit happy nation today.

    Worst cases of CO in homes I ever ran across were gas logs...... before the oxygen sensors...... people running them with the fireplace damper closed for heat.

    What I find sad is that back when I worked for the gas co we had furnaces and gas appliances that were 20-30-40 years old.....still pumping out heat.....no cracks in the heat exchangers ever...... maybe a thermocouple replaced every 5 years......

    Id love to find an old late 70s or early 80s standing pilot furnace new in the box or in great shape....... Id save it till I was too old to work on my own stuff and install it.

    Of course... I have a 20 year old or so jani junk in the house now......... but Ive never had to replace one part on it.... never even cleaned the flame rod...... Fire it up every winter......look at the flame...... put the door back on till next year.
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyinlincoln View Post
    Never say never Gus. Not too many years ago I got an overtime call about a CO detector going off when the furnace came on. It was an old carrier with induced draft. Long story short there was a crack in a cell which disturbed the flame enough it sooted that cell. When the blower came on massive amounts of CO spilled out of that cell but didn't trip a roll out switch.

    Another the year before was a call because the folks were not feeling well and wanted the furnace checked to make sure it wasn't CO. Walked in to find piles of pet puke all over the floor. Ambient CO levels nearly 100ppm. Source was a natural draft furnace. Rust hole in exchanger which let the cell pressurize when the blower came on.

    No heat call on a Lennox pulse. First thing I always do is pressure test the exchanger, lost it fast as I could put it in. When the guys remove the furnace for replacement the side against a block wall has a 12" spot charred black. Guarantee that one was going into the house.

    Induced GMP furnace with split rings, no AC. Heat exchanger looked good but as it heated up those rings split causing roll out. Again the safeties did not trip.

    I agree with most of what you said. The exception being that CO can not spill into the house through a crack/hole. It's rare but does happen.
    Marty, you're 100% right about "never say never", and I should know better. Sorry.

    There are no absolutes, and your rollout CO service call is a good example. Do you have any idea how big the crack or hole was? Or, how long it had been since the unit was serviced? I'm thinking you would have spotted a problem long before it sooted had you been called to do regular maintenance on it. Again, this is the blower pushing CO laden air out the front of the furnace. It's not CO moving from the HX to the indoor air stream.

    The rollout you saw on the GMP unit is exactly what I'm talking about. The blower pushes the combustion gasses out the front of the furnace. The fact that the rollout switches didn't trip is a problem, but not surprising. It happens a lot.

    There's NO test equipment, municipal code or company policy that will take the place of a mechanic with common sense and a reasonably good set of eyes, who understands how the entire system should operate.

  5. #45
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    [QUOTE=jwsheetmetal;16989551]
    Quote Originally Posted by Gus_Scorchio View Post

    "fewer people have died from cracked heat exchangers in modern gas furnaces than have perished because of blocked flues"

    thats great gus just great, like US drones kills less middle eastern civilians than boots on the ground" so they are good too right?

    cracked is cracked we are trained to find them for a reason.
    Are you on dope or something? How do you jump from issues with heat exchangers and flues to drone strikes? ADHD must be real frustrating.

    I never said either situation was acceptable, I'm telling you what the relative numbers are. More people die because of flue blockages than heat exchanger cracks - that's a fact.

    You're trained alright, unfortunately you haven't been trained to think.

    Your number one job as a technician, I don't care who you work for, is to protect your customers.

    You are not protecting them if you ignore 50% of the heating system because you've only been trained to check the heat exchanger. If you don't check the customer's flue, combustion air, duct work, equipment layout and external fans, then you're not worth the money and are screwing the public.

    Not to mention the fact that you're giving the rest of the mechanics who do a complete system check a bad name. You'll get your service call done in 45 minutes, collect your $80 fee (because you think you should be paid for your time) and head to the next call.

    Meanwhile the technician who is doing the whole job, will spend another half-hour to check the stuff you ignore, has to charge $120 to cover his time, and gets told by the customer that he's higher priced than you are. It makes it tough for that technician to explain the value of his work compared to the "bargain basement" value of yours.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by corny View Post
    You could always just put in a blank orifice into the burner on the cell that is cracked and get folks by.

    Im sure we have all found bad heat exchangers that have been cracked for at least 1 whole heating season. If the flame is burning fine and you have good combustion you really dont have much to worry about......and of course.... the blower is pushing the foul gasses back into the heat exchanger.

    I worked for the gas company decades ago and plugging burners and even welding up cracks was pretty common back then. I remember...and this was the early 80s going into houses with water heaters in the basements that were not vented. Back then if the basement was fairly drafty....and this was pretty common around here in run down houses..... folks would install water heaters without venting.

    Freaked out the first time I saw one...... turned their gas off.....went in in the morning and they sent someone else out to turn the gas back on... Our policy then was to vent anything.... but stuff like this was let go till they had to be replaced.....and then we vented them out properly.

    Used to also see a lot of unvented water heaters in restaurants...... they would let them go because of the range vents etc...... of course... once the kitchen was closed you still had a water heater there venting into the kitchen.

    I would do whatever the company policy tells me to do in these situations today and would lean toward cutting the appliance off...... but only because we are such a lawsuit happy nation today.

    Worst cases of CO in homes I ever ran across were gas logs...... before the oxygen sensors...... people running them with the fireplace damper closed for heat.

    What I find sad is that back when I worked for the gas co we had furnaces and gas appliances that were 20-30-40 years old.....still pumping out heat.....no cracks in the heat exchangers ever...... maybe a thermocouple replaced every 5 years......

    Id love to find an old late 70s or early 80s standing pilot furnace new in the box or in great shape....... Id save it till I was too old to work on my own stuff and install it.

    Of course... I have a 20 year old or so jani junk in the house now......... but Ive never had to replace one part on it.... never even cleaned the flame rod...... Fire it up every winter......look at the flame...... put the door back on till next year.

    Ha - that's a hoot. It's the same environment I started in.

    They were so NOT worried about flues and carbon monoxide, that we used to hook up old standing pilot furnaces on construction jobs with extension cords, garden hoses supplying gas and slinkies to vent them out the windows. We would screw the j-box and power switch to the top of the unit and let them turn the power on and off to control heat. It kept everybody warm, and working in the middle of winter. Those heat exchangers were made of cast iron or thick steel and could take beating.

  7. #47
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    Bottom line Gus, when there is a cracked heat exchanger what will you do? Leave it?


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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by corny View Post
    You could always just put in a blank orifice into the burner on the cell that is cracked and get folks by.

    Im sure we have all found bad heat exchangers that have been cracked for at least 1 whole heating season. If the flame is burning fine and you have good combustion you really dont have much to worry about......and of course.... the blower is pushing the foul gasses back into the heat exchanger.

    I worked for the gas company decades ago and plugging burners and even welding up cracks was pretty common back then. I remember...and this was the early 80s going into houses with water heaters in the basements that were not vented. Back then if the basement was fairly drafty....and this was pretty common around here in run down houses..... folks would install water heaters without venting.

    Freaked out the first time I saw one...... turned their gas off.....went in in the morning and they sent someone else out to turn the gas back on... Our policy then was to vent anything.... but stuff like this was let go till they had to be replaced.....and then we vented them out properly.

    Used to also see a lot of unvented water heaters in restaurants...... they would let them go because of the range vents etc...... of course... once the kitchen was closed you still had a water heater there venting into the kitchen.

    I would do whatever the company policy tells me to do in these situations today and would lean toward cutting the appliance off...... but only because we are such a lawsuit happy nation today.

    Worst cases of CO in homes I ever ran across were gas logs...... before the oxygen sensors...... people running them with the fireplace damper closed for heat.

    What I find sad is that back when I worked for the gas co we had furnaces and gas appliances that were 20-30-40 years old.....still pumping out heat.....no cracks in the heat exchangers ever...... maybe a thermocouple replaced every 5 years......

    Id love to find an old late 70s or early 80s standing pilot furnace new in the box or in great shape....... Id save it till I was too old to work on my own stuff and install it.

    Of course... I have a 20 year old or so jani junk in the house now......... but Ive never had to replace one part on it.... never even cleaned the flame rod...... Fire it up every winter......look at the flame...... put the door back on till next year.
    I've got 2 Williamson high boys and a low boy NIB circa ~1983ish... What's your offer?

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty hvac View Post
    Bottom line Gus, when there is a cracked heat exchanger what will you do? Leave it?


    The world is full of sheep, try not to join the flock.
    I saw THREE rooftop units today that had obviously bad heat exchangers. The customer has known about them for a while. They will get used until they stop firing properly. I believe there are probably tens (hundreds?) of thousands of packaged gas units running this was in the USA.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by MicahWes View Post
    I saw THREE rooftop units today that had obviously bad heat exchangers. The customer has known about them for a while. They will get used until they stop firing properly. I believe there are probably tens (hundreds?) of thousands of packaged gas units running this was in the USA.
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    This is a gem that I was called out on today. You can see the high temp red that has been used over the years to get by. Call was for smoke coming from grills. The exhaust was black.


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  11. #51
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    Jwsheetmetal, you're going to get banned from the site when a mod sees that post, you better edit it while you can. I suggest you read the site rules before posting anymore.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwsheetmetal View Post
    Please don't quote that kind of garbage, thank you.
    Are you saying TB is the problem? What are you talking about? And watch the language. We are all adults here having a debate. It's not personal.


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  13. #53
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    I take the F word from that post very personally indeed.

  14. #54
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    Uncalled for remarks
    Last edited by Dad; 11-06-2013 at 07:11 PM.

  15. #55
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    I don't think Gus is a problem at all. I agree with nearly all of what he is posted, as do others here. I do think you are a problem, however.

  16. #56
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    trillions

  17. #57
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    16 of em

  18. #58
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    I agree completely with Gus, there are so many CO poisonings that have absolutely nothing to do with cracked heat exchangers that cracks are almost a non-issue, almost. Most of the guys that think cracks are so dangerous, and red tag every one they can find, are walking past more dangerous problems on a daily basis and have no clue.

    Qwerty, nobody here has said it is ok to keep using a furnace that has a crack. The bottom line is, we have tools and instruments that will tell us if a furnace is safe or not regardless of a crack. The homeowner always gets advised when a crack is found and proper recommendations are made. That rooftop you showed would not have passed any safety or combustion test and thus would have been red tagged. That is not what this thread or the OP is about, it is about those small cracks that are not affecting the combustion at all.

    Anytime a crack starts leaking to the point that it is causing rollout, etc.. they can be easily diagnosed with a combustion analyzer. I believe this thread is about the cracks that are not leaking.

    Anybody work on the famous dura curve lennox heat exchangers? They are all cracked, at least all that I've found. I have replaced the HX and 2 years later there is that same crack. Normal operating parameters such as temp rise, static pressure, etc. On this particular model, the crack is very tight and does not leak, period. They are not an immediate hazard and do not warrant shutting down the furnace.

    Post 41 by "second opinion" is excellent and very true.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty hvac View Post
    Bottom line Gus, when there is a cracked heat exchanger what will you do? Leave it?
    No, I never "leave it".

    If it's a small crack that's not doing anything, I hang a red-tag that says the furnace has a defective heat exchanger (and write in crack or blockage or sooted or flame disturbance, the date, and my initials.) I show the customer where I switched the power off at the furnace and then explain what the heat exchanger does, show them what the net CO reading is, and tell them that they need to replace the furnace. I let them know that I switched the furnace off to get their attention, and that this unit may not be safe to operate in the future. Right now it may operate fine, but they're on borrowed time.

    If it's a late model and the heat exchanger may be available, I'll tell them that to. I'll explain the benefits of stepping up to high efficiency equipment and how we can solve some of the other minor issues I spotted during my site survey.

    If they say they can't afford new equipment, I'll try harder to get them a replacement heat exchanger, or try and help them get financing and in a few cases, help them by putting them in contact with some of the faith-based organizations that might be able to lend a hand. In many cases, I simply gave them a carbon monoxide detector off the truck to "borrow" until the situation is resolved. While I"m talking to them, I'll open the detector package, install the battery and write my name and phone number on the back with a Sharpie marker, and the date.

    If they want to buy the detector, I charge $10 more than Walmart and let them know that as well. I explain how the detector works, and that it is a stop-gap measure.



    With the requirements for higher efficiency furnaces, I'm not sure what you guys have to do currently. When I was on the street we could sell 80% AFUE and higher. Now, I'm not sure what the latest requirements are.


    If the furnace has a real problem and needs to be shut down (rollout, high CO, big flame disturbance) then I'd show the customer what the furnace is doing and why it needs to be shut down. If it's high CO, then usually there's an underlying problem, and if there's no rollout or big flame disturbance, I'll try to quickly isolate the problem. If there's a consistent roll-out, or I can't figure out what's causing the elevated CO, then I'll tell the customer to leave the furnace off and its emitting too much CO to operate. I red-tag the furnace, shut it off at the switch, and note the problem and shut down on the tag and the service ticket.

    I make the customer initial next to the statement on the ticket that says "the equipment is NOT safe to operate".

    I never disconnect the equipment, but I make it clear with the occupant (and I'll call the owner directly if it is rental property) the furnace is not safe to operate. I still make sure they have a working carbon monoxide alarm, and offer a loaner or sell them one, if they don't, because the next thing they will likely do is run the oven or stove top burners to try and keep the house warm. I also tell them that they shouldn't run the stove for heat, but if they do, make sure the window in the kitchen is open.

    Usually by this time they're asking about furnace prices, and I'll give them a barebones unit price, a ballpark price for a variable-speed high efficiency furnace and explain that I need to figure out the PVC venting costs, and tell them I'll call them back with a price for a heat exchanger and if we can get it.

    I also let them know that we're not the cheapest outfit in town, and I guarantee that they'll be able to find a lower price if they search hard enough. I also let them know that we don't cut corners, stand behind what we install, and have a stellar reputation.

    I always carried a list we printed each week that had the last 10 or 15 jobs on them with folks' names and phone numbers. I hand the list to the homeowner and tell them to call a few previous customers that evening and ask what they thought of our service. I tell them to copy down a few names and numbers because I can't leave the list. Usually they'll grab a couple, maybe three names and number.

    In any case, what they do with the furnace is their decision. HOWEVER ...

    If the furnace is rolling out (especially if it is dumping CO) or has concussive igntion and the customer is "flakey" or has teenagers or I just don't think the folks will leave the furnace alone, I've been known to unscrew a control fuse or pop a lead off the limit control or pop one off the ignition control, wrap it with tape, and stuff it back in the slot.

    Sometimes you have to protect customers from themselves.

  20. #60
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    Found this plugged up vent pipe on a safety check today. Vent gases were spilling from a suspended heater draft hood.




    This furnace did not kill anyone, would you leaving it operating?
    http://youtu.be/MxKZuUghodk

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