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#542940 - 02/05/13 02:03 AM Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace.  
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CharlesS Offline
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At the end of the summer I checked all of the heating systems to make sure we were ready for the upcoming fall. The furnace on the main part of the house was inoperable. Our home was originaly built with twin gas furnaces with twin split system A/C units. Shortly after we bought the house in 2001, one of the A/C units kicked the bucket, and the other was not far behind. The A/C units were cheaply made and old. We decided to upgrade to high efficiency heat pumps, and I installed package units on the house that summer. A 5 ton unit for the main part of the house, and a 4 ton for the mother-in-law apartment. Than we weathered our first Smoky Mountain winter, and found out that not only do we have power failures on a regular basis, but the power will often stay off line for a week or two, three or four times an average winter. Did I mention that we live in the boonies?

Last edited by CharlesS; 02/05/13 02:30 AM.

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#542941 - 02/05/13 02:10 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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CharlesS Offline
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Since the gas furnaces were in perfect condition, I removed the A coils and left them in place for back-up heat. The house already has a gas water heater and gas range. Everything is fed from a 500 gallon inground LP tank. I installed a 17K whole house generator that runs on propane. The unit starts automatically and has a automatic transfer switch. The gen-set will easily pull the whole house, but will not run twin heat pumps. No problem, with the gas furnances. We can run the whole house for three weeks off a tank of propane. So this year the main furnace was dead. No doubt an electrical issue. Of late, I have been working lots of hours, and by the end of January I had still not fixed the furnace. I had this bright idea. Just call the gas company who we purchase our propane from and they will have it running in no time.


#542942 - 02/05/13 02:17 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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CharlesS Offline
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About 4 PM a couple of weeks back these two dudes show up. They fuss about the extra wiring on the furnace that it does not need. I told them about the A/C units that we had removed many years ago, and the extra wiring was for the A/C units. That wiring was disconnected, and the furnance wiring was separate. They disassembled the furnace and checked the heat exchanger. Then they left for the day telling me that it was quiting time. Before leaving they told me that they would return the next day and finish the job. 10 days later, and no one has ever called or come back. My furnace was still all over the floor in pieces. I called them and got their voice mail. No one ever called back...





#542943 - 02/05/13 02:26 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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CharlesS Offline
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Finally on my day off, I reassembled the furnance. As I was putting it back together, complete with all the wiring, I reconfigured the unit as it would have been had there been no A/C unit installed in the cabinet. Lucky I still had a wiring schematic from the factory. After reassembly, I finally was able to trouble shoot for the original problem. It had a faulty stepdown transformer. A quick trip to the HVAC parts store, a new 14 dollar transformer, and the old furnace works like new. The folks at the HVAC store asked who was doing the work. When I told them that I am working on it myself, they wanted to know the rest of the story. I told them the story, and they informed me that I was lucky that the tech never returned, because he is an idiot. He probably would have made some mistake reassembling the furnace. He is facing legal charges for working with a revoked license, after installing a natural gas furnace on a propane powered house and not making the appropriate conversion. (changing the orfice) That furnace exploded, and set that house on fire... He is out on bail.


#542944 - 02/05/13 02:29 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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CharlesS Offline
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I guess I should have checked Angie's List?

It seems like maybe I got lucky grin.

Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace grin.


#542946 - 02/05/13 07:18 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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casualboater Offline
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Ouch - you'd think the gas company would have better resources to keep customers happy.


1989 Larson DC 190
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#542958 - 02/05/13 12:30 PM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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WaterMutt Offline
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I think I worked with those guys before. Did they check for gas leaks with a lighter??


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#542967 - 02/05/13 03:55 PM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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GoFirstClass Offline
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Heavens no, he's not stupid. He used a regulation propane leak detector...


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"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge


Anchor's down......Bottoms Up!
#542970 - 02/05/13 04:57 PM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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kjsAZ Offline
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wise man! He's far enough away from the danger with such a long handle!


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#542979 - 02/05/13 08:26 PM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: kjsAZ]  
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CharlesS Offline
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Bryson City, NC. 28713
They never mentioned a leak test.

It does not matter to me, because I have those tools and do a leak-down test on the whole system every year.

What bothers me about this idiot, is that many customers are at his mercy. I am lucky because I was trained to do this kind of work many years ago and can fix stuff myself. The average customer has no idea if they are getting quality work or not. This clown likely putting people's safety at risks.

I am going to talk to the manager of the gas company. We have known each other for many years, and he may not be fully aware of what is going on in his company.


#542996 - 02/07/13 07:19 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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BToran Offline
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always contact the better business bureau (or similar local entity) before hiring someone to make home repairs. i recently served on a grand jury and we indicted the owner of a home repair company that was simply put, criminal. if any of the home owners would have checked, they would have found dozens of complaints against the company (and for good reaosn).


Bruce Toran
Former Owner of a 1996 Carver 320 Voyager
-----------------------------------------
"Don't Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head"
#542998 - 02/07/13 07:49 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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PhatboyC Offline
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On a side note. 9 ton of heat pumps! You must have a huge house? 9000sq ft.?


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#543002 - 02/07/13 08:51 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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Indyboater Offline
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I have given up hiring HVAC companies because I kept running into folks like this.

It seems they either all were incompetent or they wanted to drop in a new unit for $5,000 every time they come out. Nobody wanted to diagnose and repair anything.

I found out that the systems aren't really all that complicated. I got my HVAC license and all the proper equipment for about what a single service call would run, and for the past 5 years have been doing it all myself. They run better now and I know what's going on.

#543014 - 02/07/13 02:06 PM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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Agree with Indy. Today they can't fix anything. Just try to sell you a new unit that they couldn't repair either.


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#543015 - 02/07/13 02:40 PM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: captkevin]  
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jtheile Offline
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Originally Posted By: captkevin
Agree with Indy. Today they can't fix anything. Just try to sell you a new unit that they couldn't repair either.



I had a guy try to sell me a $160 draft inducer blower for $600, but he only wanted $190 for a $60 pressure switch.


Joe
Four Winns 225 Sundowner
#543016 - 02/07/13 03:00 PM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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WaterMutt Offline
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We used to see all kinds of craziness when I worked residential HVAC. One woman complained about a repair bill from her previous company. They had charged her $192 for a $13 contactor.
It wasn't uncommon to see people being charged $65+ for a pound of R-22. I understand there is overhead, but there is a limit. One guy we did work for on a regular basis used to say, "You can fleece a sheep its whole life, but you can only slaughter it once."


Malibu Wakesetter 23XTI
Bryant 214 Limited (gone, but not forgotten)

"That's my boat..."
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#543022 - 02/07/13 10:21 PM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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athiker Offline
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Thanks for the jinx! I just read this thread yesterday and today my upstairs heat went kaput! Looks like maybe the hot surface ignition. I was messing around trying to clean the flame sensor with a bit of sand paper and bumped the HSI and it crumbled...well broke in two at least. I have both parts coming in the next few days. Less than $50 shipped for both. Hope that does the trick. T-stat is fine.

Fortunately we are below the big snow dump heading east and its no big deal to wait. The downstairs unit will keep us fine for sleeping...pretty much just bedrooms upstairs.

I know I'm on borrowed time with these units, A/C especially. 18 years and counting. Last year was first I had to have freon added to one of the units. They are a bit undersized and not high-end...upstairs unit A/C especially should've been installed bigger. I know some don't care for attic fans, but I added two soon after moving in here 7 years ago and they made a big difference in upstairs comfort. Install company sealed the roof ridges so they pull from the gable and soffit vents.


2000 Cobalt 206 5.7L EFI Alpha 1
#543023 - 02/08/13 04:04 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: PhatboyC]  
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CharlesS Offline
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Originally Posted By: PhatboyC
On a side note. 9 ton of heat pumps! You must have a huge house? 9000sq ft.?


6050 Square feet, all on one floor. It looks like Motel 6.

And yes, the units are oversized. I did that on purpose. A 5 ton high effiency unit uses 4 ton compressor with a 5 ton rated evaporator, condensor, and fan. A 4 ton high effiency unit uses a 3 ton compressor with 4 ton rated evaporator, condensor, and fan. So essentially the units are equal to 7 tons instead of 9 as they are labeled. These units are also two stage units, so if the high output mode is not needed the units only operate in the low output mode. It gives them a lot of punch when they need it.

The split systems that were in the house when we bought it were a 4 ton and a 3 ton. The units struggled to keep up on really hot days and really cold days. Granted humidity control was very good because the stupid things never shut down. They also ran our electric bill through the roof.

The 5 ton and 4 ton systems run far less pulling the same amperage as the previous smaller units did. Our electric bill dropped by $150.00 per month during peak months, and the bill averages $60.00 per month during the mild months when they run very little. We have no problems with humidity, as the units run enough to keep the humidity under control. The units are holding up well, with no problems.

Some professionals will argue with my logic, however it has demonstrated effectivness over and over again. A good friend of mine who is a mechanical enginner has ran the math, and says that my logic is valid. I learned HVAC in the early 80's and got my license in 84. I learned on commercial chillers and boilers. Since I graduated from nursing school in 1996, I have not worked in the HVAC industry, but it is valuable to have the skills. I do all of my own installs and repairs on our rentals, our own home, and some of our family member's homes.


#543038 - 02/08/13 04:38 PM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: CharlesS]  
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KD4PBS Offline
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I did the same; 1500 square foot house, 5 tons of AC. Why? First, I plan on increasing it to 2000 ft. Second, the 2-1/2 ton unit would barely keep it at 80 in the heat because of the vaulted ceilings, skylights, and tons of windows. People (including most HVAC contractors) never seem to realize one has to calculate volume and heat load, not just square footage. I don't have humidity issues, and I'm in the Southeast.

#543079 - 02/10/13 04:31 AM Re: Don't call these clowns to fix your furnace. [Re: KD4PBS]  
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CharlesS Offline
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Originally Posted By: KD4PBS
I did the same; 1500 square foot house, 5 tons of AC. Why? First, I plan on increasing it to 2000 ft. Second, the 2-1/2 ton unit would barely keep it at 80 in the heat because of the vaulted ceilings, skylights, and tons of windows. People (including most HVAC contractors) never seem to realize one has to calculate volume and heat load, not just square footage. I don't have humidity issues, and I'm in the Southeast.


We encountered the same issue at a large nursing home where I served as maintenance supervisor for 5 years in the early 80's. They had a 50 unit assisted living facility built, with vaulted ceilings in the dining room and chapel. The chapel is large (3000 Sq feet) as many full scale churches. The total square footage of the facility is 45,000.


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