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Furnace Heat Exchanger Crack - Replace or Repair?

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[OP]
Newbie
Sep 29, 2009
14 posts

Furnace Heat Exchanger Crack - Replace or Repair?

Was getting an A/C estimate done and was told that the primary heat exchanger on my furnace is cracked. Technician shut my system off - so I need to fix this asap! Getting more estimates this weekend - any advice for service in the Oshawa area? Should I repair or replace?
47 replies
Deal Addict
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Mar 8, 2002
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Ottawa
Replace, unless it's under warranty then have it fixed on somebody else's dime.
Deal Addict
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Nov 17, 2009
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Markham
Sorry to hear that :( I read somewhere that you are looking at least $1000+ to get it fixed which is why there was a class-action lawsuit against carrier for the cracked heat exchanger.

As other said, if it is not under warranty, its better to replace the furnace :(
Deal Guru
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Feb 24, 2007
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Richmond Hill
zzinbrooklin wrote:
May 14th, 2010 9:24 pm
Was getting an A/C estimate done and was told that the . Technician shut my system off - so I need to fix this asap! Getting more estimates this weekend - any advice for service in the Oshawa area? Should I repair or replace?
I'd get three or more checks.Do not tell them anything about the heat exchanger.Ask them to check it ..if they can.

http://www.achrnews.com/Articles/Techni ... 0000070986

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1KmT8Zf ... re=related

I smell a scam.
Don't argue with THEM, get EVEN!! ;) :D

RFD's member NewEgg experience
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 29, 2009
14 posts
It's about 14 years old - not under warranty anymore.... :cry:

Thought I had more time to shop around - now apparently the gas company gets notified and they can shut it off b/c of the problem...so I'm feeling a bit pressured - good thing the weather is getting better!
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Nov 17, 2009
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eldiablo wrote:
May 14th, 2010 9:43 pm
I'd get three or more checks.Do not tell them anything about the heat exchanger.Ask them to check it ..if they can.

http://www.achrnews.com/Articles/Techni ... 0000070986

I smell a scam.
Good catch as well. When I had companies that came in for AC quotes, a few of them tried to pressure me to change my one year old furnace. What company did you use for the AC install and the model/price?

After reading your post more carefully, the technician came in for an AC quote, how did he know the exchanger is cracked unless he has X-ray vision or openned up the furnace?
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Mar 8, 2002
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Feel free to get a second opinion from a BBB accredited business. Some unscrupulous companies will tell you the heat exchanger is cracked when in fact it is not, and red tag it to try and convince you to buy a new unit from them.

Did the guy who red tagged your furnace have a gas fitters ticket?
Deal Addict
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Dec 17, 2008
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Get a second opinion for sure, than replace the furnace if it has a cracked heat exchanger.
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Nov 18, 2007
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Valleywood
eldiablo wrote:
May 14th, 2010 9:43 pm
I'd get three or more checks.Do not tell them anything about the heat exchanger.Ask them to check it ..if they can.

http://www.achrnews.com/Articles/Techni ... 0000070986

I smell a scam.
+1.

Definitely get a second opinion. There are many cases where a homeowner is pressured into replacing a furnace due to a "cracked head exchanger".

Get the opinion of a good tech from a local company - not Direct Energy, Sears, or other such outfit.
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Nov 17, 2009
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I am thinking..we just had a winter and if the heat exchanger is really cracked, wouldnt the OP house's Carbon Monoxide detectors go haywire and crazy??
Deal Addict
Dec 10, 2008
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Kitchener
if the heat exchanger is in fact cracked you have to replace it, it can't be repaired... but you certainly don't need a whole new furnace... just have the exchanger replaced...

i smell a scam also... get a 2nd opinion...
Sr. Member
May 24, 2003
929 posts
42 upvotes
Don't bother replacing the heat exchanger if it is indeed no good. It will cost way too much money to fix, and at 14 years old, its time for a new one. You will be looking at about $2000-2500 to repair when you factor in the cost of the heat exchanger, which you indicated is no loner under warranty.

The reason why his CO detectors didn't go off, if he has them, is because they are being properly vented outside. If there ever happens to be a crack, or break in the venting, then there is a chance the CO can get inside the house. A cracked/plugged heat exchanger can produce more then 5000 ppm in the exhaust.

Its not hard to see a furnace has a cracked heat exchanger by the naked eye. I can pretty much tell by looking at a furnace if it is no good, but a combustion analyzer should be used to confirm any suspicions. There are so many visual indications of a bad or suspect heat exchanger.
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Dec 8, 2009
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wasserware wrote:
May 14th, 2010 9:55 pm
I am thinking..we just had a winter and if the heat exchanger is really cracked, wouldnt the OP house's Carbon Monoxide detectors go haywire and crazy??
unfortunately not.

You can have hairline cracks in the heat exchanger and only get like 7 parts per million CO being emitted into the ducting which is over the legal limit but not likely to EVER get registered on a store bought CO detector.

If you have read the instructions/owners manual for those CO detector's (I have) you'll know that they need to read over a certain PPM for a certain period for it to go off.

For example (not real #'s because I don't have them off hand but it will give you an good understanding).

The CO will need to be 10PPM for 2hours straight for alarm to sound
The CO will need to be 50 PPM for 30min straight for alarm to sound
The CO will need to be 400PPM for 5min straight for alarm to sound.

Its rediculous basically. Few furnaces will run long enough to consistantly emit the low end of CO for such prolonged periods of time and if you are at the high end for 5minutes you are basically dead. Even if the furnace runs non-stop but someone opens the outside door and the CO reader gets a blast of fresh air the cycle starts again. IMO they are 'basically' useless and need to be replaced quite frequently as they do not read as accurately as time passes.
Usually there's a reason a company is "cheap". Value and cheap are different. Value means best product/service for the dollar spent. Cheap is just that. Cheap.
Sr. Member
May 24, 2003
929 posts
42 upvotes
wasserware wrote:
May 14th, 2010 9:55 pm
I am thinking..we just had a winter and if the heat exchanger is really cracked, wouldnt the OP house's Carbon Monoxide detectors go haywire and crazy??
I forgot to mention that it is virtually impossible to get any carbon monoxide in your house by a Carrier furnace with the serpentine primary HE. The heat exchanger is always under negative pressure, so you would need a massive hole in the heat exchanger to get any CO in the duct work. It could happen but highly and extremely unlikely. I'm not sure about any other makes.

And if someone is checking carbon monoxide in your duct work to determine a bad heat exchanger, I would be very concerned.
Deal Addict
Dec 8, 2009
1208 posts
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Also HVAC providers are held to a certain standard and if your H/E IS cracked and he let it "slide" for you he could be held liable. Also if he claims its cracked and its not you can get his licence in question and possibly pulled if I'm not mistaken. Take licence has cost him thousands of dollars to attain and I doubt many would put that at risk for a furnace deal. Some will I"m sure but not likely if its a reputable company IMO. Anyone who did that at our office would immediately get fired for misconduct.
Usually there's a reason a company is "cheap". Value and cheap are different. Value means best product/service for the dollar spent. Cheap is just that. Cheap.
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