... and here I hassled CaptainXL about his trust issues

6716

Original poster
Member
Jul 24, 2012
822
So the furnace goes down Saturday morning, second time in a week, this time won't stay lit for more than 10 minutes.

Call my regular company, let them know who I am, type of furnace, long time customer, blah blah blah.

We figure out the most likely problem is a part that's know to fail. Part is covered, labor is not, service call is extra on a Saturday, $200 charge to get the warehouse opened on a Saturday for the part ... y'know I can wait until Monday because I'm frugal like that, and it's pretty warm, and I don't know about the rest of the family but I know where my long underwear is found in the drawer. They can do jumping jacks if it gets real bad.

It'll be like $500 bucks all together.

SO I GO TO THE INTERWEBS TO LEARN WHAT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT FURNACES. I mean, as a responsible homeowner and the guy they all look at when it doesn't work, I ought to know this stuff, right?

Turns out, that part is warranted for labor, too. Manufacturer pays the labor to switch it out. Class action lawsuit couple years back. No way in the world my regular company ... who only have this one furnace line ... doesn't know about it.

Call another company, go through the same troubleshooting, arrive at the same part. "Yeah, and that's covered under warranty, parts and labor."

$0.
 

BO TIE SS

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,497
6716 said:
No way in the world my regular company ... who only have this one furnace line ... doesn't know about it.
Don't forget to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. :twocents:
(perhaps that will jog their memory)
 

Lima Tango

Member
Dec 4, 2011
242
This kind of crap should be criminally prosecuted with the same charges as if the guy took $500 out of your wallet at gunpoint. :hissyfit:
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
BBB....Let them know and do not use the same rip-off company ever again.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
I blast bad companies on Yelp as well.

Scumbaggery is alive and well in this upcoming holiday season.
 

6716

Original poster
Member
Jul 24, 2012
822
gmcman said:
Is this a gas furnace?

Gas high efficiency. There are a few interesting tricks built into those things.

The part that failed was the secondary heat exchanger. To get to it, you basically have to completely disassemble the entire furnace, and that's what the tech did when he got to my house. Took him about 4 hours to tear the thing apart and put it back together.

The first cool thing is that the circuit that tells the electronic igniter (no pilot light/no wasted gas/more efficiency) to shut off is actually completed using the magnetic field of the flame itself as a conductor ... no wire, just fire.

The other thing is that the heat exchangers are so effective at transferring the heat to the air moved around by the blower ... that the flame burns at 1300 degrees but the unit extracts so much heat that the exhaust pipe is PVC.

I handed the tech a wrench or two, but mostly sat and asked questions as the thing came apart and went back together. I know a ton more than I did when this whole process started.

As for me on the BBB thing, they really are -- at their best -- a mediation organization. Consumer complains, BBB notifies the company, company tells BBB they tried to resolve it. I'm not looking for resolution.

I have, however, already given mad props to the company that came through on the work.
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
6716 said:
The first cool thing is that the circuit that tells the electronic igniter (no pilot light/no wasted gas/more efficiency) to shut off is actually completed using the magnetic field of the flame itself as a conductor ... no wire, just fire.


That is cool, haven't heard of that.

One thing that I have done and have saved 2 furnace replacements of my friends......is if your gas furnace ever acts up like not lighting or shutting off right after ignition, is to clean the wire connectors. Sometimes a simple disconnect and reconnect a few times can scrape off any residue and this has fixed both systems....one friend had a $7000 quote to replace the entire system, that was 3 years ago.

These systems have sensitive safety systems built in, if anything is out of whack it will shut it down. Keep in mind alot of furnaces are in the basement on a slab of concrete to moisture can find it's way into the wire connectors and give a slight change in resistance so the system. The flame sensors may be working but a different voltage is being seen from the corrosion so it shuts down.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
6716 said:
.. the magnetic field of the flame itself as a conductor .....
I thought (channeling Sheldon Cooper here - sorry) it's the electrical characteristic of the flame that conducts the sensor current, not its magnetic field, which should be zero. At least in the flame sensor designs I know about. Is this a new design that uses moving charged combustion products to generate a magnetic field like a MHD generator? Hmmm, that would be very cool. :undecided:
 

6716

Original poster
Member
Jul 24, 2012
822
the roadie said:
I thought (channeling Sheldon Cooper here - sorry) it's the electrical characteristic of the flame that conducts the sensor current, not its magnetic field, which should be zero. At least in the flame sensor designs I know about. Is this a new design that uses moving charged combustion products to generate a magnetic field like a MHD generator? Hmmm, that would be very cool. :undecided:

Best not to take my (mis)understanding of anything electrical as revelatory of new areas of knowledge. Though if in my ignorance I serendipitously suggest a new method of doing things, keep me in mind when you write the patent / distribute royalties.

I think I'll stick with "no wire, just fire."
 

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