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Evcon furnace heat exchanger failure


Jeff Beck
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I just got a call from a friend of mine about his furnace.

The furnace is an Evcon horizontal, forced air, gas appliance with about 70,000 Btu's input rating. It's 13 years old and the heat exchanger was replaced under warranty at around 7 years. It’s installed in the unheated crawl space of 1300 sf ranch style house.

The furnace had been acting up so he called an HVAC contractor who came out and put an IR camera on it. The IR image supposedly showed a hole in the heat exchanger.

In my experience a hole burned in the heat exchanger can be caused by the furnace burning too hot. I checked the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website and Coleman Evcon did have a recall for that type of problem, but his model number doesn’t match the recall notice.

The HVAC contractor also said that the furnace was a "California" version. I have seen that term used in recalls but don't know what it means. Could that have any bearing on the heat exchanger failure being that we are in Northern Illinois?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Jeff Beck

Foresight Home Inspection LLC

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I just got a call from a friend of mine about his furnace.

The furnace is an Evcon horizontal, forced air, gas appliance with about 70,000 Btu's input rating. It's 13 years old and the heat exchanger was replaced under warranty at around 7 years. It’s installed in the unheated crawl space of 1300 sf ranch style house.

The furnace had been acting up so he called an HVAC contractor who came out and put an IR camera on it. The IR image supposedly showed a hole in the heat exchanger.

In my experience a hole burned in the heat exchanger can be caused by the furnace burning too hot. I checked the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website and Coleman Evcon did have a recall for that type of problem, but his model number doesn’t match the recall notice.

The HVAC contractor also said that the furnace was a "California" version. I have seen that term used in recalls but don't know what it means. Could that have any bearing on the heat exchanger failure being that we are in Northern Illinois?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Jeff Beck

Foresight Home Inspection LLC

I doubt that a "California" furnace would fail just because it was installed in Northern IL. But it might be more prone to fail if it were installed in a damp environment like a wet crawlspace.

I also suspect that, as IR cameras start to become popular, we're going to see inspectors discovering a heck of a lot more failed heat exchangers.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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