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I have a Carrier Weathermaker SX (58) installed about 1989.

Customer Question
I have a Carrier Weathermaker...
I have a Carrier Weathermaker SX (58) installed about 1989. Smell similar to that when you first start a furnace in the fall was present and service company called. They are not a Carrier dealer. Diagnosis was cracked heat exchanger based on carbon monoxide readings in home which peak and then disapate as furnace fan cycles. Recommendation.. replace furnace.
Vents and intakes appear unbobstructed and have not changed from original installation.
Question:
Do carbon monoxide levels being elevated conclusively indicate heat exchanger defective?
Is it financially beneficial to replace heat exchanger instead of replace furnace? Is there any real advantage to replacing the furnace with another Carrier product since we have no problem with the A/C unit and prefer not to replace it?
Submitted: 5 years ago.Category: HVAC
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Answered in 1 minute by:
1/14/2012
HVAC Technician: Drew1315, HVAC Technician replied 5 years ago
Drew1315
Drew1315, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 89
Experience: I was a Building Trades Journeyman in the Sheet Metal Union for over 11 1/2 yrs.
Verified

Drew1315 :

Hello, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my best to assist your issue.

Drew1315 :

The A/C unit is seperate from the furnace although depending on what a customer would like is their option. Typically any make of an A/C unit does not have to be the same as the furnace.

Drew1315 :

As far as changing the furnace opposing to the heat exchanger, biggest differences will be the efficiency of the newer model as opposed to the existing model

Drew1315 :

A cracked heat exchanger does pose a potential issue with Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Customer:

Existing model is 90% efficient and replacement would be 95%

Drew1315 :

But, to say that it is souly coming from the furnace is something that should be looked into.

Drew1315 :

And as far as getting a high efficiency unit like that, I have always strayed my customers, as well as friends, to try and stay away from the highest efficiency units as there is more to go wrong in them. Causing a higher service cost with the parts.

Drew1315 :

On another note, it's also a though as to how long the investment will take to truly make the money back from the equipment.

Drew1315 :

Initially on your bill you may see some drop in price, but to say that you'll get that investment back within a year would be a false statement.

Drew1315 :

Personally, I would see how much of a difference in cost the heat exchanger would be opposed to the new unit itself.

Customer:

So, you think staying with a similar unit to the current one at $3,000 might be wise as opposed to paying 4,000 to 4,300 for a d/c multispeed fan unit with 96% efficiency. I have a simple ranch style 3 bed home.

Drew1315 :

omg yes. Think about that if after one year the parts warranty lapses. Then getting a repair part to replace a highly elaborate part's difference in cost

Drew1315 :

Unless you have the option to get a longer parts warranty. That is something to highly consider.

Drew1315 :

Most generally equipment will only have a one year parts warranty but do offer an extended warranty

Drew1315 :

Labor is always extra

Customer:

The service man said about $1500 to replace the heat exchanger. Everything else, the gas valve, blower, etc. all look practically new.

Drew1315 :

I personally think that I would only have the heat exchanger replaced.

Customer:

I guess my main question was, can I trust the first service man to guess that the heat exchanger is defective, or do I need to get a second opinion?

Drew1315 :

well, to be perfectly honest, my uncle in law had a hairline crack in a 1977 Carrier unit. I told him, but, he kept in operation for years later after I had told him. being a power vent, does not consitute the unit producing a severe dangerous level of CO (Carbon Monoxide.) Although, being that the unit is a 90%, a crack in the exchanger will deffinately pose operation issues with the unit.

Drew1315 :

You will end up getting problematic operation being that it is sealed combustion

Drew1315 :

I had condemned a unit some years ago, the unit was soo extremely full of soot, I had to vacuum it all out before I could even do a simple inspection. Turns out there was a few cracks in the exchanger. The homeowner then informed me, is this why we have been really tired and getting headaches lately? I said OMG yes. Your probably lucky to be alive considering this.

Drew1315 :

That situation has stuck with me for 10 years now.

Customer:

Okay. Thanks for your opinion. I think I will replace the heat exchanger and have the peace of mind. Have a good day.

Drew1315 :

Not being the technician that was present to make this judgemental call, is something that I really can't agree or disagree. But as far as explaining my personal experience and knowledgable, is something to highly consider.

Drew1315 :

Your most welcome

Drew1315 :

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Drew1315
Drew1315, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 89
Experience: I was a Building Trades Journeyman in the Sheet Metal Union for over 11 1/2 yrs.
Verified
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Drew1315
Drew1315
Drew1315, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 89
89 Satisfied Customers
Experience: I was a Building Trades Journeyman in the Sheet Metal Union for over 11 1/2 yrs.

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