What the furnace repairman told me.......picture included


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Old 06-05-14, 07:15 PM
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What the furnace repairman told me.......picture included

I have a Payne Model PG9MAA gas furnace. It is about 13 years old. In 13 years, I've done nothing to it except keep it clean and replace the filters every 3 months.

We were using the furnace until May. At the end of the recent "heating season," about twice in two weeks for the first time in 13 years, it wouldn't produce any heat. I looked inside the heat exchanger and there was no flame. There was a blinking LED code that indicated that there had been a flame rollout that had to be reset. On the side of the heat exchanger there was a little button I would push in, it would reset the heat exchanger, and after power cycling the furnace it would work again.

So I called a repairman to look at our furnace. He took a good part of it apart, and said that the primary heat exchanger was pretty rusty, and that the secondary heat exchanger had rust and that water was leaking (see picture). He said the turbulence created by the rust caused insufficient airflow in the heat exchanger, causing it to overheat and shut itself off.

So he says both heat exchangers are bad. He said it wouldn't be worth replacing the heat exchangers as it would cost at least a couple of grand and the furnace is already quite old. He also said Payne furnaces aren't that good. I was given a quote of $5,300, installed, for a new Lennox 95% efficiency, 90,000BTU furnace, reusing the old flue pipe and installing a new return which he says is undersized for the house. The return is probably 8 feet long dropping down alongside the furnace.

So I have no idea of Lennox is a good brand, if that's a decent price, or how much rust is "too much." Do any of the experts on this forum have any opinions? Do heat exchangers get replaced in 14 year old furnaces? Are there particular brands I should avoid if I replace the furnace? Are there good quality brands that cost a premium but are worth it?

Comments welcomed.

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Old 06-06-14, 04:45 AM
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About 4 years ago I had a new furnace/A-C system installed. My existing furnace was 30 years old and still worked fine with a heat exchanger that was in good condition but beginning to show signs of rust. I had 3 different contractors bid. All gave me good and bad info. The contractor I choose gave me straight answers and did not try to up sell me. He encouraged me to ask question and not to be afraid to look over the installer shoulders and question what they where doing. Based on this here is my comments on your questions.

Call another contractor for a competing bid. Yes, Lennox is a name brand and considered high quality but also a bit higher in price. But it's been my experience that on any given month any of the name brands will be featured as the best. I was also told that the heat exchangers are all made by one company regardless of the brand. I would also think 14 years on a heat exchanger is not considered a very old. I'm not knowledgeable about furnaces but I believe the water issue is one of installation and how that condensate is channeled away from the furnace.
 
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Old 06-06-14, 11:33 AM
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That heat exchanger is bad for sure, but it's still under warranty (usually 20 years) -> you have to pay labour.

There should be no rust.

info here: Is My Furnace Safe? - Carrier, Bryant, Payne and Day & Night Secondary Heat Exchanger lawsuit information

Payne is carrier basically -> the secondary heat exchangers are steel coated with some kind of plastic, and when the plastic fails, the acidic condensate starts attacking the metal.

They don't make them like that now -> all the manufacturers use stainless steel now.
 
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Old 06-06-14, 01:32 PM
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There are some models of furnaces in various years that were notorious for heat early heat exchanger failure. Cracks are problem because they "hatch open" almost overnight and they are difficult to assess for a time frame to faiure.

When I was doing home inspections, I got a small book that listed the "notorious" models and makes that require more inspection going to the point of having it almost removed to find the see or find a failure.

That price sounds a little high, but I have not bought a unit for 7 years and that was for an 80% that required minimum sheet metal because it was lower that the old relic.
 
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Old 06-08-14, 07:11 PM
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OK thanks. I'll have to see if my furnace is still under warranty per Muggle's post.

However, when I talked to the repairman about simply replacing the heat exchangers instead of replacing the ENTIRE furnace, he said that it would cost "at least $2000.00" to fix the heat exchangers and that "he doesn't do heat exchanger replacements." That seemed kind of weird to me. If the furnace is working and the only thing wrong are rusty heat exchangers, can't they just be swapped out with replacements?
 
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Old 06-11-14, 09:00 PM
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The quote is ridiculous. He probably hates changing heat exchangers - find yourself another contractor.

I wouldn't scrap a 13 year old high eff furnace which could be repaired. With warranty part i can't imagine the labour being more than $1k.
 
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Old 12-13-15, 04:01 PM
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Same problem. Same furnace

Repairman made same diagnosis on my 14 year old furnace. The story was pretty much the same from that point on. I spoke with sales rep who recommended a Lennox furnace. Since it's a weekend and no furnace can be delivered until mid week I decided to do a little searching on the Internet. Interestingly I came across a class-action lawsuit that involved our furnace and the heat exchanger.Did you know about that? I plan to investigate tomorrow morning when I can make phone calls to the one 800-number and determine if my heat exchanger can't be repaired for free.
 
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Old 12-13-15, 07:49 PM
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It's been a while since I posted on this thread, but I'll wrap a ribbon around this since twoxhockey just opened this old thread.

I ended up getting a new furnace. I couldn't find anyone who would just replace the heat exchanger except one guy, and he wanted to charge so much that it made more sense just to get a new furnace.

I ended up getting a nice credit from the original manufacturer due to the heat exchanger rusting out prematurely. So between the credit, a credit from my gas company, a small "union labor" refund, and getting a slightly smaller furnace due to the original one being larger than needed, I think I ended up paying (net) under $2000 installed for a Carrier Performance Series furnace. I went on Angie's list and got 3 or 4 estimates from some local companies that had decent ratings on there, and went with the guy in the middle because the cheapest guy left a poor impression with me and the high guy was way out of the ballpark.

My FIL just got his replaced, and got his best deal through Costco, despite using Angie's list as well. Go figure.
 
 

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