Firebox Question

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  #1  
Old 11-28-02, 06:01 AM
talkeetna
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Question How do you know if it's cracked?

Now I'm really confused. I had one service guy tell me
I have two cracks in one of my heat chambers and I need
to replace it. I had another serviceperson come out
to sell me a new furnace, and he said he didn't think
the chamber was cracked, but that I have a poor air mixture.

Please help - how do I know for sure if my chamber is cracked?

Thank you!
 
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  #2  
Old 11-28-02, 08:25 AM
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Location: The Shake and Bake State USA
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In My Professional Opinion

Hello: talkeetna

EXCELLENT QUESTION.

The question you ask is excellent but very difficult to explain. Equally as difficult to determine in many cases if a firebox {heat exchanger} is cracked.

Older opened fireboxes where a service person can visually look upwards, from the burner area to the top of the chambers, isn't difficult. Most but not all cracks may be plainly visable.

Cracks are usually more visable when the firebox is heated, since metal expands when warmed. However, not always so. Older types & styles of opened fireboxes can be tested when only the fan is on by extending a lite match into the firebox and gently moving it around inside.

Knowing what to look & based upon watching the match flame, the locations to check, etc and watching the characteristics of the match flame, it is possible for a pro to make a reasonable determination. This method is not proof positive however.

With the newer styles of "S" shaped fireboxes and burner designs this method is useless. A carbon monoixide test is one of the only proof positive methods without physically removing the firebox. Firebox removal and physical inspection is proof positive in either and all cases.

Smoke testing is another method but it is not often used by many professionals to the best of my knowledge. Furnace age is a factor to consider in all cases. So is liability factors on the contractors who are asked to make a determination.

Summations:
There is no way to determine if a heater has a cracked firebox without removing a firebox and or doing a CO test.

A CO test may provide false results. Several other conditions can cause high CO readings which not results of a cracked firebox. Only highly trained, experienced CO qualified agents can determine the results of CO readings & tests.

Older furnaces with suspected cracked fireboxes are not worth the time & labor required to make a physical inspection.

Fireboxes for older furnaces are not available nor are the fireboxes repairable.

Furnaces with suspected cracked fireboxes should be replaced.

The agents word may be opinion or fact.

Shopping around may further confuse the issue and not provide any conclusive determination.

If there is any doubts, for your protection and safety, replace the furnace with a new unit. A wise investment & property improvement.

Additional benefits of furnace replacement:
Energy Efficiency & piece of mind. Money well spent.

Regards & Good Luck, Forum Host & Multiple Topic Moderator.
TCB4U2B2B Company Enterprises. Energy Conservation Consultant & Gas Appliance Diagnostics Technician.

Alway's consider the warranties and future service needs for any major appliances your considering purchasing. Price isn't always the best guide for long term appliance investments.
 
  #3  
Old 12-08-02, 10:25 AM
talkeetna
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Tom,

I'm sorry my reply is late, but I wanted to thank you for
your thoughtful answer. I so appreciate the time and
effort you took to fully explain the answer.

Thanks so much. I love this forum.

Mary
 
  #4  
Old 12-08-02, 10:31 AM
talkeetna
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Tom,

I'm sorry my reply is late, but I wanted to thank you for
your thoughtful answer. I so appreciate the time and
effort you took to fully explain the answer.

Thanks so much. I love this forum.

Mary
 
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