Clogged Heat exchanger chambers

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Old 04-19-08, 02:13 PM
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Clogged Heat exchanger chambers

I would first like to thank all of those people who spend time here giving advice and opions to help others. It is very noble of you.

Recently the furnace (88,000 Btu Payne 90 plus 15+ years old) in our house started running for extended periods to heat the house, and the air coming from the registers wasn't very warm. A technician came and looked and it and noticed that two of the four burners were not going down into the heat exchanger, but were rolling back out. He said this was caused by clogged chambers, which couldn't be cleaned, so the heat exchanger would have to be replaced. From my understanding it is usually better to replace the entire furnace than the heat exchanger.

Was the technician right saying the only fix for the clogs was a new heat exchanger? Am I right in assuming that it is better to replace the older furnace rather than repairing it?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts

Jon
 
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Old 04-19-08, 02:53 PM
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I doubt this diagnostic is accurate. Clogged with what? all that goes up the stack are combustion gases, nothing solid. Maybe what you have there is a cracked heat exchanger and when the house blower is ON, the positive pressure of the air on the blower side forces it through the crack and down those two burners, hence pushing the flame back (rollout).

Do you see soot in the burners area?

Is this furnace installed in a small (maybe even enclosed)room with little air available?

At any rate, if you do have a cracked heat exchanger, you should (and could) replace it, but considering the age of the unit and how much more effficient the new crop of furnaces are, you'd be better off with a new furnace. More money but one less thing to worry about for years to come.
 
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Old 04-19-08, 03:40 PM
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Thanks for the quick response. I don't see any soot near the burners. The PVC pipe for the intake air is discolored/burnt looking where it meets the furnace housing, and the wires for the igniter are brittle and look a little crispy.

That makes sense that the heat exchanger shouldn't be plugged.

Thanks,

Again
 
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Old 04-20-08, 09:18 PM
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Flame rollout

From the symptoms you describe, I would tend to think more along the lines of a cracked heat exchanger. At 15 years old, particularly if you are the original owner, that heat exchanger may still be under warranty. I suggest you contact a Payne dealer for warranty information & an inspection.
 
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Old 08-24-08, 08:30 PM
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Update

I figured I should at least post an update (better late than never). I had my old furnace replaced and added in a new centeral air-conditioner. When the technician (not the one who said the chambers were clogged) removed the old furnace I took a look down at the heat exchanger and noticed that there were areas that appeared to have rusted through. I stuck my hand down and felt were there were holes rusted in the heat exchanger.

Thanks for giving me great advice, which helped me avoid using the contractor that came out to diagnose the problem. I will never call them again. It just goes to show that one incompetent person can run a buisnesses reputation.

Thanks again for the help and advice.

Jon
 
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Old 08-25-08, 03:56 PM
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Thanks for the Update

Glad you found a company with whom you were comfortable (no pun intended). The most common cause of heat exchangers rusting out is dirty A/C coils which drip water onto the heat exchanger instead of allowing it to run down the fins & into the drain pan. With your new system, I hope the contractor installed a good air filter. Now it's up to you to keep it changed.

May you enjoy the comforts of your new equipment for many years to come.
 
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