Why Are Contractors Fussing About Switching to R-410A?

Regarding the March 31 article “Easing the Concerns Over R-410A Technology,” I just don’t understand what the big deal is about the switch to R-410A. Our company has been selling Carrier Puron units (that use R-410A) since 1997.

I have to laugh every time an article comes out about the impending changeover. Most of the contractors I bid up against are only offering R-22 and telling the public there will be plenty of R-22 available if needed. I do not want to be that contractor after 2010 when that unit develops a leak and they have to tell the customer it will cost them $100 a pound to recharge the unit and then the repair cost to fix the leak.

It only makes good business sense to offer 410A units now if there is a distributor in your area carrying these units. We need to get away from the fear of 410A if we want our business to succeed.

Last year, we sold only three R-22 units - and not because we wanted to. One was due to space and size of the air handler and the other two were commercial units (where we didn’t have another option).

If we can’t understand the importance of moving to R-410A and still have companies that will not embrace this, then maybe they should close their doors and let the companies that are not afraid of progress continue to change the mindset of potential customers. Let’s just not lie and tell them there will be plenty of R-22 to go around in years to come when reports tell us different.

Jeff Harral
Murray’s Heating and Air
Louisville, Ky.

Spell out What Makes a Heat Exchanger Unsafe

After reading the article “Investigating Furnace Failures,” [Feb. 18] all I have to say is “Amen.” My policy is to inspect every furnace before starting repairs, and to also check those that are simply getting yearly maintenance. So far this year, the failure rate is about 50 percent, last year about 30.

I’ve found a number during tune-ups, as well as duct and/or venting issues in some cases. On one call, I found twinned furnaces, both cracked, the same as one pictured in the article with the loose tube. Of the replacements, one had combustion problems (found using an analyzer) and had to be replaced, a new furnace!

One complaint I have on this subject is that manufacturer manuals state [making an] annual inspection of the heat exchanger, but give no specs on what they consider as unsafe. A certain percentage of homeowners want to keep an unsafe appliance in operation, and some documentation from the manufacturer wouldn’t hurt when explaining the situation.

Bryan Wallace
Service/Install Tech
Mills Heating and Air
Concord, Va.

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Publication date:04/21/2008