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Blue Bryant Furnace


inspector710
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I was sitting in class last night and the instructor started talking about how bad the blue Bryant furnace. My daughter has one in her house. I did a mock inspection over there last week and noted the apparent age of the furnace and noted it should be replaced. The house was built in 1960 and I believe it is the original, but it still works. She moved in the house about 2 years ago and has an insurance policy on the house and appliances. When she had a serviceman out last summer, he took a quick look at the furnace and said other than a noisy blower-it was fine. How can she convince the insurance company the furnace should be replaced? Thanks in advance.

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Originally posted by inspector710

I was sitting in class last night and the instructor started talking about how bad the blue Bryant furnace. My daughter has one in her house. I did a mock inspection over there last week and noted the apparent age of the furnace and noted it should be replaced. The house was built in 1960 and I believe it is the original, but it still works. She moved in the house about 2 years ago and has an insurance policy on the house and appliances. When she had a serviceman out last summer, he took a quick look at the furnace and said other than a noisy blower-it was fine. How can she convince the insurance company the furnace should be replaced? Thanks in advance.

John,

I haven't seen any old blue Bryants, but I've seen a ton of old blue Carriers and I believe they're the same beast.

Here's what you should do. Go to your local glass shop and have them cut you up some 1-1/2 inch by 15 inch strips of 1/8-inch mirror stock. Cover the back of these strips with duct tape in order to contain them a bit when they eventually break. These are you new super-duper furnace inspection mirrors.

Go to your daughter's house, move all the junk that your no-good son-in-law put in front of the furnace and open it up. Cut the power and remove the heat shield. Carefully slide a mirror into each of the heat exchanger bays one at a time. Using a strong flashlight, bounce the light off the mirror and up into each heat exchanger section. Take your time. Look for arc-shaped cracks around the dimples or for carbon streaks. Either one means a new furnace for your daughter.

Carbon streaks are the easiest to see. These form where holes or cracks in the exchanger allow room air to enter the combustion stream, cooling it and allowing carbon to form. See the picture from a 1969 carrier.

If you can't find the cracks this way, take the sucker apart. It's great fun and you're almost certain to find cracks.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif BadCarrierHE69M.JPG

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Jim's method is excellent & a great way to inspect these beasts. I've found a much better method though.

Just replace it. The fooooking thing is ancient, it's about 50% efficient, and there are ALWAYS cracks. Always.

I dinked around testing my old Mueller Climatrol for years w/ the CO tester, I stuck the mirrors in, cut holes in the plenum & looked down from the top, etc. When I finally tore it out 3 years ago and could get to those parts inaccessible before, I found cracks big enough to push a cat through. I stuck in a 80% efficient unit that actually pushed air, I was able to keep my solid masonry bungalow @ 72degF (something I never could do before), AND, I dropped my heating bill about $122 a month. Why dink around?

I've torn out about 2 dozen of these monsters, & the guys I work with have have torn out hundreds. They're always cracked. Dinking around w/the intellectual exercise of inspection is cute, but giving your customer the simple hard facts (they're always cracked & they're painfully inefficient) is probably more useful information.

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Originally posted by kurt

Jim's method is excellent & a great way to inspect these beasts. I've found a much better method though.

Just replace it. The fooooking thing is ancient, it's about 50% efficient, and there are ALWAYS cracks. Always.

I dinked around testing my old Mueller Climatrol for years w/ the CO tester, I stuck the mirrors in, cut holes in the plenum & looked down from the top, etc. When I finally tore it out 3 years ago and could get to those parts inaccessible before, I found cracks big enough to push a cat through. I stuck in a 80% efficient unit that actually pushed air, I was able to keep my solid masonry bungalow @ 72degF (something I never could do before), AND, I dropped my heating bill about $122 a month. Why dink around?

I've torn out about 2 dozen of these monsters, & the guys I work with have have torn out hundreds. They're always cracked. Dinking around w/the intellectual exercise of inspection is cute, but giving your customer the simple hard facts (they're always cracked & they're painfully inefficient) is probably more useful information.

Normally, I'd agree with all that, but this isn't his customer, it's his daughter. And she's got a shot at getting the insurance company to foot the bill for a new furnace if she can prove that this one's bad.

Plus, John seems to be a new inspector. The exercise will be good for him.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Why would advice to his daughter be different?

And, the shot @ proving it's defective is real easy; have a guy open the thing up all the way. If they own it, they can cut it up.

Maybe this will be the one furnace that isn't cracked; so screw some sheet metal over the holes & have his daughter keep paying twice as much for heat. At least he'll know for sure it's not cracked.

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Originally posted by kurt

Why would advice to his daughter be different?

I was referring to your advice to "just replace it." That's something I'd typically tell a client. However, I'd be more inclined to spend time finding the crack if it meant my daugher could get the insurance company to foot the bill. I sometimes invest that kind of time in clients as well as daughters, but rarely.

And, the shot @ proving it's defective is real easy; have a guy open the thing up all the way. If they own it, they can cut it up.

Yeah. But a quick look with the right mirror could save the time, trouble and expense of doing that.

Maybe this will be the one furnace that isn't cracked; so screw some sheet metal over the holes & have his daughter keep paying twice as much for heat. At least he'll know for sure it's not cracked.

Sure, if it comes to that. But you just *know* that the sucker's cracked.

- Jim Katen

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Jim

Rename your photo without the parenthesis and no gaps and it'll display.

OT - OF!!!

Mike

Sorry. I didn't realize it hadn't posted. It's fixed now. Check it out. That's from a '69 Carrier that's, I'll bet, similar to the blue Bryant that John was originally asking about. The black carbon streak is from a crack around one of the dimples.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Jim,

Never think we don't pay attention to your sage words of wisdom. These carbon streaks were found in an eight-year-old Goodman this afternoon. Do you recommend further evaluation by an HVAC person based solely upon the streaks?

I realize the photo's lousy, but getting just the right angle, and trying to make the auto-focus adjust for the inside of the burner is a trick I haven't yet mastered.

John

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Originally posted by Bain

Jim,

Never think we don't pay attention to your sage words of wisdom. These carbon streaks were found in an eight-year-old Goodman this afternoon. Do you recommend further evaluation by an HVAC person based solely upon the streaks?

Actually, I think Mitenbuler's the wise one. I'm more of a wiseass.

If I thought that the streaks were caused by a separation at that seam, I wouldn't recommend further evaluation, I'd just recommend replacing the furnace. However, my hunch is that we're just seeing a cool spot on the exchanger in your picture. That seam's in an easy enough spot to see when the furnace is firing. I'd fire it up and watch the flame when it gets near that seam. If it's leaking air, then the flame will distort, or at least discolor, at that point.

Personally, I never recommend further evaluation of furnaces unless I have something very specific in mind. For instance, "Hire an HVAC tech to cut open the back of the furnace to rule out the possibility of cracks in the heat exchanger."

I realize the photo's lousy, but getting just the right angle, and trying to make the auto-focus adjust for the inside of the burner is a trick I haven't yet mastered.

John

I don't recommend this to anyone else, but I'm not above pulling a burner now & then to get a better view. I must stress, however, that I DO NOT recommend that you do this. (But it sure makes it easy to get fine pictures of why a furnace should go away.)

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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  • 3 weeks later...
Originally posted by Donald Lawson

LMAO, Kurt, that's exactly what I thought when I saw that pic.

Now, back to business..lol

What are these streaks (red arrows) on this furnace? I'm assuming they are moisture related. Have never got the chance to tear apart a heat xchanger...yet.

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This looks like a Comfortmaker the areas where the cells crimp to the vestibule panel at the burner area and at the draft hood leak. The folded seams where the two shells are joined together may also leak and if you look up through the draft hood you may find holes rusted through the top of the cell.

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For those ineterested Northern Illinois ACCA will be having Ellis Prach back to conduct a heat exchanger inspection class Sept. 6 and 7 in the Chicagoland area.

http://www.heatexchangerexperts.com/schedule.html

If you haven't been to one of these classes Ellis brings about 40 - 50 furnaces and heat exchangers. Lots of different units at just one location.

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