Don't Leave the Combustion Analyzers in the Truck

Thanks for the story “Condemned Furnaces Spark Safety Issues” [March 5]. The information I use to condemn heat exchangers came from your magazine. I posted it on a dealer user forum.

An additional note: I did a “no heat” service call on a 10-year-old furnace. It tripped the burner flame rollout switch.

I reset it and it fired off without a hitch. I thought something is not right (by the switch being tripped). I got out the CO analyzer and found the flue gas over 70 ppm - not good.

I removed the plate over the combustion blower assembly and inspected the heat exchanger from the warm air side and discovered a bad failure in the back of the center cell. She [the homeowner] had problems last year and the other company [that performed the work then] replaced the limit as the fix (not).

Bottom line:We all need to be using combustion analyzers to properly do our job.

John G. Kopp
Ocean Air Conditioning & Heating Co.
Laguna Niguel, Calif.

We Should Be on the Same Page

I very much enjoyed Angela Harris’ article “Condemned Furnaces Spark Safety Issues.” I am a retired home inspector that spends his time writing, speaking, and instructing home inspectors on plumbing, HVAC, and real estate issues.

I became a home inspector after twenty-something years in the mechanical trades and a short time as a real estate agent. I am a second-generation tradesman and hold a masters license in plumbing, HVAC, and gas fitting, and I have several state certifications as well. I work with home inspectors, and trade professionals, and I write a column for a local Realtors® association.

Your article truly expressed some of the issues I deal with nearly everyday. The animosity and even contempt held by some practitioners of these jobs toward the others is very real, very unfortunate and, from a business standpoint, very foolish. Real estate, home inspection and trade professionals have so much in common and so much to offer each other, it’s a shame that so many are unable to get on the same page.

Kenny Hart
Chair, Building Practices and Trades Div.
Alpha College of Real Estate
Chesapeake, Va.

The Defective Heat Exchanger Detective

The piece by Angela Harris “Condemned Furnaces Spark Safety Issues” in the March 5, 2007, issue was great. I especially loved how you started the piece. This is not new and has a long history, mostly negative, I’m sorry to say. I could tell you lots of stories involving real estate sellers and home inspectors. The real issue, however, remains with our own industry since the regulatory bodies have not and refuse in most cases to come up with a definition of what constitutes a defective heat exchanger. Yet we are to always be held accountable. Here now in Manitoba, they do not recognize any testing method. What does that mean, we do not know?

It is frustrating, and with over 15 methods too, all of which have a role and place to play in detection. It’s essential that our technicians act with due diligence, be honest, cautious, and professional.

Thanks again. I’m going to share this article with the group I will speak to on April 19. The title of my presentation is “Heat Exchanger Testing Methods.” I don’t care what our local regulatory bodies have to say, the technicians need to know what is available to them.

D. Brian Baker
Custom Vac Limited
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Publication date:04/16/2007