Intermittent (~50%) Lighting problem - Bryant 352AAV Furnace (video!)


Old 02-09-18, 09:36 AM
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Intermittent (~50%) Lighting problem - Bryant 352AAV Furnace (video!)

Hi all, I've been having a problem where our furnace does not light up about half the time. When this happens, I have been flipping the power switch off and on, and after the 2 minute startup sequence, about 75% of the time, it will light up. It seems like it's getting worse over time. The HVAC I'd been working with, "R", says it seems like the secondary heat exchanger which would basically mean I need a new furnace. I am very skeptical of that.

Video & audio of it not starting (23 sec):
Video & audio of it starting (8 sec):

When it doesn't light, it will give a status 14 or 34 (ignition proving issues or ignition lockout)
Things I've (had) done (in chronological order):
  • Checked & cleaned condensate pump
  • changed air filter, took apart and vacuumed the burner area
  • (5 weeks ago) Hired a small HVAC company, and had the owner, "R", come over to do a complete maintenance and checkup . On that day, the furnace was behaving so he didn't see the issue. The next day the problem came back.
  • Ordered a new flame sensor
  • Cleaned the existing flame sensor (which was dirty)
  • Had a tenant show the video to an HVAC pro working on the tenant's house's furnace (in Virginia), he said "The black box under the silver box might have some stuff you need to clean out, your gas valve isn't getting proper pressure" . Too bad that company doesn't service my area
  • Sent the video to "R" and talked with him: he says that it's likely the heat exchanger and I'll probably have to buy a new furnace.
More details:
natural gas furnace -- Bryant 352AAV048080FASA (high efficiency, condensing furnace)
Thermostat: Typical Honeywell programmable electronic wall unit
Area: Maryland suburb of Washington, DC.

So, any thoughts on this? Is "R" right? Any ideas on what it could be and/or how to get a good furnace pro in who will fix it right without trying to sell me a new furnace?


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Old 02-09-18, 10:59 AM
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Its not possible to diagnose a bad heat exchanger from a video.
Old 02-09-18, 11:13 AM
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When "R" did the maintenance in person 5 weeks ago, he had said that maybe there is a problem with the heat exchanger as he was using a wand thing to detect CO and perhaps other gases. It didn't seem definite, but he tied those observations to the issues with the furnace lighting up. Honestly, it still doesn't make sense to me.

Coincidentally, just last week, with the furnace issues at my rental in Virginia, the first company I sent had someone tell me: "I'm 99% sure that your heat exchanger is cracked, but I'd need to remove the A/C coil to see it, which is $200 - $300, so you should consider replacing the furnace ". I had a second company come in and the new guy said that the heat exchange showed no damage and he just did the repair (which was replacing the fan)

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