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Upgrading a Wesco electric furnace


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I have a 25 UEM-1 Wesco that was installed in 79. I heard somewhere that upgrade drop ins are available for these old furnaces. I am looking for something that is solid state. This unit still heats but seems to run a lot. A couple of the relays don't pull in.

I did a search and didn't find any thing about it.

Thanks

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The furnace control unit is probably pretty simple. It was already solid state circuitry in 1970's. The furnace is basically a giant toaster oven. There is a thermostatic sensor that delays the blower fan from coming on too soon.

Maybe all you need to do is replace your wall thermostat with a new programmable unit. The thermostat does the real brainwork for the furnace, right?

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There's no reason to install any kind of upgrade to an old Wesco electric furnace. Everything in them can be replaced with off the shelf parts.

They're already 100% efficient in terms of how much heat they produced per unit of fuel. They can't be made more efficient with new parts.

As John pointed out, a new thermostat will improve the efficiency of the heating *system.*

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Yeah,

I'd have to agree with Jim. I've opened up Wesco, Lennox, Coleman and a couple other brands of electric furnace and sometimes I swear the innards of one, and the individual parts, are identical to those I'd seen in another brand. They truly look like they are a steel cabinet lined with insulation and filled with off-the-shelf stuff cobbled together.

I've seen a lot of Wesco units here on the left side; I bet you can find an HVAC firm or two that has one or two sitting on their salvage pile.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks for the input. I do have a new programmable thermostat on the way.

The mechanical relays are definitely not state of the art. The fan control and the speed change control are in enclosures but there is nothing hi-tec inside.

I guess as long as all the elements are working that's as good as I can expect.

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Thanks for the input. I do have a new programmable thermostat on the way.

The mechanical relays are definitely not state of the art.

No, they're not. But what advantage would there be to installing a state of the art relay? What's a fancy new relay going to do that a plain old one won't do? (Don't say, "Be more dependable.")

The fan control and the speed change control are in enclosures but there is nothing hi-tec inside.

This isn't a heat pump, where complex controls can make huge differences in the efficiency of the process. It's a toaster in a box. I'm not sure what you think a high tech control board would do for you. About the only thing I can think of is that you might be able to have the fan ramp up & down so that it started & stopped more quietly.

I guess as long as all the elements are working that's as good as I can expect.

You can expect the coils to sequence on and off properly, you can expect the fan to work quietly. That's about it. If you want fancier performace, you'll need a fancier machine.

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The blower and one heating element respond first to a call for heat. They're connected to the same sequencer relay. The next relay comes on after a set number of seconds and energizes other elements, sometimes one, sometimes more than one.

When the call for heat is satisfied, the relay with only elements connected is the first to turn off. This reduces the amount of heat being generated. The relay with the blower and one element turns off later to allow the blower to cool off the appliance somewhat before shutting down.

At least that's how they worked when I last serviced them back when Clovis, Folsom and Cajuns were still neighbors.

Marc

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  • 1 year later...

Reading through this thread, it looks like some experts might be able to help me out..

I recently moved into a Condo and the electric furnace broke after 3 days. I took it apart (I am not too knowledgeable with this, but it's a very simple ancient-looking construction). It appears that the heating coil is physically broken (torn in one place). The furnace is labelled "Wesco Electric Central Heating Furnace 960K". My understanding is that Wesco spare parts are not available, is this right? Is there some generic heater coil I could use instead? And if not, can a physically torn coil be repaired?

Many thanks and please let me know if I can provide any additional information to help you answering my question.

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  • 6 years later...

Hello there. 

I know these posts are old but hopefully people here are still working with these Wesco heaters.  We purchased a double wide mobile home and the Wesco 2100 heater does come on, blower seem to be working strong,  but only warm air blows out.  We are in Christmas Valley Oregon which is high desert and the winter will be brutal.  The electrician that set up our power to the property looked at the heater and said we just needed the heating element (or filaments).  We called a heater repair, told them what went on, they came out, charged us $200 for a diagnosis and said exactly the same thing, but wanted to replace the entire unit for $4000 instead and was not interested in the little job.  I though if we could just purchase this entire tray we could install it ourselves, but can not find parts for it anywhere.  Then I came across all of you who seem to know just what to do.  Please give us some input or at least stear us to where we can get the parts.  Thank you so much. 

D. Luther

heater parts.jpg

Edited by Donna L.
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If an electric element is bad, you'll likely see where it's broken, just by looking at it closely, tracing the elements throughout their length.

These heaters won't blow hot air, just warm air. Electric doesn't get as hot as gas-fueled furnaces. If you want to know if it works, turn it on and check the amperage.  It'll draw about 16 amps for each element that's connected. For example, if three elements are connected, it'll draw about 50 amps, more or less.  Still won't give hot air, just warm.

Sometimes, not all elements are connected.  Check to make sure they're all connected but don't connect any that are not already connected, let an AC guy do it to make sure you've enough wire to handle all elements.

If you need parts, try asking Google.  That's what my AC wholesaler does.

Edited by Marc
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14 hours ago, Jim Katen said:

What's the part number? 

Kw rating? 

Physical size? 

You might give Vinje a call: http://www.doityourselfheating.net/

 

 

 

Thanks for the response.  I called the do it yourself heating people and they have no parts for electric heaters.  I think the Wesco part # is 78804056 but I have not been able to locate that.  The person that came out and looked at it said there were kits he could get to replace the elements.  We looked up similar and they were about $25 each filiment, but there are 24 here on the rack and we do not know which ones are bad or if we should replace them all.

 

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Just now, Donna L. said:

Thanks for the response.  I called the do it yourself heating people and they have no parts for electric heaters.  I think the Wesco part # is 78804056 but I have not been able to locate that.  The person that came out and looked at it said there were kits he could get to replace the elements.  We looked up similar and they were about $25 each filiment, but there are 24 here on the rack and we do not know which ones are bad or if we should replace them all.

 

Oops the part number is 788 4056

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5 hours ago, Donna L. said:

  The person that came out and looked at it said there were kits he could get to replace the elements.  We looked up similar and they were about $25 each filiment, but there are 24 here on the rack and we do not know which ones are bad or if we should replace them all.

 

You don't have 24 filaments. That's a 20 kw furnace. It has 4 filaments in two sections. The section that you're holding in your hand in the picture is a 10 kw module with two 5kw filaments. I think that I can see a break in the upper filament. 

What about this Goodman/Amana module: https://controlscentral.com/tabid/63/ProductID/682253/goodman-amana-parts-bt1420034-10kw-heat-element-kit.aspx?gclid=Cj0KCQjw28T8BRDbARIsAEOMBcyrvft4o9OmPGYv7_54WN4vZL0_zAcSLWwXD2xOYq00DV8MSeOunR4aAvaUEALw_wcB

It looks very similar, just check with the seller to be sure that the dimensions will be the same as your Wesco. 

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On 10/22/2020 at 3:59 AM, Marc said:

If an electric element is bad, you'll likely see where it's broken, just by looking at it closely, tracing the elements throughout their length.

These heaters won't blow hot air, just warm air. Electric doesn't get as hot as gas-fueled furnaces. If you want to know if it works, turn it on and check the amperage.  It'll draw about 16 amps for each element that's connected. For example, if three elements are connected, it'll draw about 50 amps, more or less.  Still won't give hot air, just warm.

Sometimes, not all elements are connected.  Check to make sure they're all connected but don't connect any that are not already connected, let an AC guy do it to make sure you've enough wire to handle all elements.

If you need parts, try asking Google.  That's what my AC wholesaler does.

Two elements are broken.  Is it possible to find these elements still?  I have been all over the internet but maybe I am looking in the wrong places.

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On 10/22/2020 at 5:22 PM, Jim Katen said:

You don't have 24 filaments. That's a 20 kw furnace. It has 4 filaments in two sections. The section that you're holding in your hand in the picture is a 10 kw module with two 5kw filaments. I think that I can see a break in the upper filament. 

What about this Goodman/Amana module: https://controlscentral.com/tabid/63/ProductID/682253/goodman-amana-parts-bt1420034-10kw-heat-element-kit.aspx?gclid=Cj0KCQjw28T8BRDbARIsAEOMBcyrvft4o9OmPGYv7_54WN4vZL0_zAcSLWwXD2xOYq00DV8MSeOunR4aAvaUEALw_wcB

It looks very similar, just check with the seller to be sure that the dimensions will be the same as your Wesco. 

Thank you .  Closest I have gotten to an actual part and we did order it.  Crossing our figures now.  Dimensions are a good fit.

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