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Failed Furnace installer blames propane supply

firesafe Member Posts: 15
Installed a new Bryant gas furnace.  Ran 39 days heat exchangers filled with soot and the air intake from concentric melted a top the burner box. initially the furnace ran on two 100 lb propane cylinders with 11" wc and after nine days they were both empty.  Filled both and 5 days later the heater started to have problems on the cold nights 20* or below not able to maintain temp.  20 days after initial firing of furnace 100 lb propane cylinders replaced with two 300lb cylinders.  Thirtieth day the furnace blew smoke like haze into home and produced a foul odor (burning pvc) again cold night.  Next day refired furnace all seemed well mild day and night temps.  On 39 day odor came back and system malfunction.Had to replace entire furnace.  Installer changed the routing of the exhaust flue and also condensate line leaving furnace.  Also hooked up heat pump at that time and set the cut off at 30* before firing on gas. Concerns what really went wrong with first furnace?Did installer set the switch over to gas too low (jersey shore) to keep the furnace running mostly on the heat pump to avoid it happening again?

Additional information: Bryant BY-355CAV060100 95% modulating natural gas furnace, authorized dealer installer,  concentric for fresh air,  propane conversion, efv gas correctly sized 3/4" gas connector, downflow application, cased up/down flow airconditioning coil, evolution thermastat, condensate to drain.

Bryant will not even look at it for possible equipment failure.  Installer has given statement that the furnace was run on a 30lb cylinder and avised homeowner that this could cause equipment failure. 

Thanks in advance more info please ask


  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Failed Furnace:

    Bet you a beer.

    Look on the rating plate. If it says "Natural Gas", it wasn't converted to propane. They run too hot with the hotter fuel and higher pressures.

    If it is, it's toast. It can't be fixed.

    It also, may have been mis-marked at the factory and have a Nat. Gas orifice in it.

    It is the responsibility of someone to convert it. If it can be converted.

    I consider it my responsibility to be sure that it gets converted by SOMEONE. Our local LP supplier doesn't like to do it.

    It should have been combustion tested. Another good reason to go out and get one. The cost of a DA is cheaper than replacing a ruined furnace due to negligence. And any heating appliance installed today should and must be combustion tested. Ask that company north of Boston that didn't pull permits and didn't test. His canoe is down the creek without a paddle after two died, and more were injured.

    And had someone been carrying something like a UEI CO71A CO detector, they wouldn't have gone in the house with the smoke haze. It would have been showing red and buzzing. That means "Get the Puck out, NOW".
  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    additional info

    Icesailor thanks for the quick reply.  The furnace was converted by installer.  One of the problems  in trying to figure out what happened is that the low/ fuel limit switch is missing from the old furnace.   Every thing else seems to be there but that switch/sensor and the orfices.  The installer said that switch/sensor did not work the night he red flagged the furnace but now has changed his story when speaking with Carrier Corp.   I

     I had our propane company come out inspect what happened and to see if we had the proper wc etc. They too looked at the failed furnace and they feel that it was overgassed.  They explained to me that over gassing produces a larger flame, burns blue in color but produces soot in the the process.   Eventually that soot blocked the HE all together.  Even with the soot issue aside, I just do not know why the intake pvc pipe burned so bad.  I would think some type of shut down safety switch in the burner box should have stopped the box from getting that hot to burn 2" PVC sch 40 all the way thru.

    I also had a licensed HVAC independant contractor look at the failed furnace along with the new furnace.  He has told me on the failed furnace without the limit switch and orfices it impossible to determine for sure that it was over gassed.  However, he says the results of his inspection of what is left and the burned intake points him to that conclusion.

      He was also very surprized to learn that Carrier does not want to see the failed furnace. (Originally they did but after talking to installer they changed there position on inspecting it.)

    I am looking for the reason for the soot.  Why the intake pipe and inducer burned so bad.  I am not buying that the propane pressure was low and that caused the incomplete combustion in this furnace. 

    Keep the suggestions coming......thanks

  • meplumber
    meplumber Member Posts: 678
    They didn't convert it.

    As my good friend Icesailor said earlier, they didn't convert it properly.

    I made the same mistake late one night. I had converted more boilers and furnaces than i care to count, but that night it was late and I was tired. I removed the Natural Gas orifice and went to put in the LP orifice. I mistakenly put the natural orifice back in the appliance. It ran and I did a quickie combustion test and adjustment and then went home. Mostly because I was coming back the next day to finish up and adjust.

    When I got home, I emptied my pockets to find the LP orifice in there. Oh Sh--!

    I went back over that night and corrected my mistake. Hey it happens. The relative difference in Natural Gas and LP orifices is the same as a VW bug and a Large Pickup truck. The natural will let a whole lot of gas through.

    I would bet money that is what happened.

    The thing that bothers me is that they are hiding it by not showing you the orifice and limit.
  • Jack
    Jack Member Posts: 1,045
    What bothers me about this

    Is the way manufacturers make only natural units and then put the responsibility and liability on the contractors shoulders to do the conversion. They then bust that contractors chops when there is a problem. Given the number of conversion kits sold, the manuf has the history to provide the correct number of LP units to the distribution. Perhaps it has gone on so long that it is the accepted standard in the industry, but that does not make it right.

    That vent pipe shows me that PVC is not the right material to vent with.
  • meplumber
    meplumber Member Posts: 678
    I completely agree Jack.

    I get extremely nervous when I have to convert a large btu boiler. 400Kbtu and up.

    Why can't we get this stuff already converted? Why do I have to risk my license doing it?

    Simple. They don't care about us anymore. Isn't it easier for them to do it in the factory than for me to do it in some dark dank basement at 9pm after a stupid long week in the middle of heating season?

    Oh well. Sorry for the rant.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    That installer reminds me of the guy who only made one mistake in his life. The time he thought he was wrong, come to find out he was right. His record is intact. In spite of proof to the contrary.

    If you live in an area that is heavily LP or exclusively LP, start demanding from your wholesaler, to stock equipment that is listed and rated for LP. If the manufacturers don't want to send it out as LP, threaten to buy equipment that is, and back it up by doing it. That will get their attention, quickly.

    I may be as qualified as the next guy to convert a gas appliance. I don't remotely consider that to be true. And if I had a problem like above, a good Tort lawyer would rip me to shreds on a witness stand and leave me with a gaping rectal orifice.

    Charlotte Pipe & Foundry does not approve of their Sch 40 PVC 1140 pipe for ANYTHING but draining, wasting and venting of water products ONLY. Even Sch. 80 isn't approved. There is no mention of exhausting any heating appliance. Just because the appliance manufacturer says its OK, doesn't mean the manufacturer of the pipe does. And they are the final arbiter.

    That burned pipe is visual proof why. If that install was in Massachusetts, and it had the required CO detectors installed, the horns would have been honking like a gaggle of geese.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Soot is the result of unburned carbon. Usually caused by an air/fuel that is too rich in carbon based fuel and not enough air. If you do oil burners, crank the air shutter to cut back on the air. The CO2 goes up and smoke appears.

    These modern gas burners don't really have a way to control the air fuel ratios. There isn't an air shutter for adjustments. It is my conclusion that these appliances are designed for Nat. Gas and LP is an afterthought. All you need to do is change a set of orifi and you are good to go. Interestingly enough, if you look at the ratings though, a converted LP appliance is usually rated slightly lower than Nat Gas. Because the burner mixing tube is designed for a Nat. Gas mixture. So, they have to play with orifi in an LP application.

    Tim McIlwaine may say I'm wrong, and I may be. It's my observation and decided supposition.

    Get a good digital camera with a big card. Document whatever you see that is bad. Make it a habit. When someone tries to BS someone and blame you, whip out your camera. They make good phone cameras. I don't have one. I have a Canon Power Shot SX120IS. Cheap insurance policy.

  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,482
    Truth be told

    the propane company should coordinate with the installer to insure the equipment is designed for LP or has been correctly converted. Conversion of equipment is not always a simple process on some equipment. There is also some equipment that should not be converted.

    The propane marketers are aggressively pushing their product as a replacement for oil. Those supply houses in those areas would be at an advantage if they sold equipment already set up for propane.

    I once had a job that said the unit heaters were for LP gas, a brand new Golds Gym open house on a Saturday morning 20 people overcome by carbon monoxide while exercising. My finding as the investigator after the fact - thy were set up for Natural Gas from the factory. Rating plate stated set for LP - it pays to check everything. Remember a combustion analysis will always bail you out before the problem.

    I have been pushing for a long time to stop venting equipment with plastic pipe. I guess we will have to wait until someone gets killed. Sorry I know this upsets all the installers here who use it aggressively to keep costs down.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997

    were the orifices removed from the unit?  Without those you cannot verify the proper conversion. When your supplier came out did they test their regulator(s)? Who did the conversion on the unit? Did they leave the kit (box or directions or anything?) used to convert the unit?
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    It has always been my understanding that the paper that comes with the conversion kit, is (in a way) a legao document and you are supposed to sign whatever information that is required. It is also to be left with the appliance. If someone took theparts and information, it could be construed as tampering with evidence. It doesn't much matter though, that company North of Boston, couldn't come up with the information or evidence that could have absolved them of responsibility in the accident so they are screwed.

    Veissmann Vitodens 100's come through set up as Nat. Gas. You MUST convert them. You also MUST fill out an information form and FAX it to them at the earliest convenience so they can keep track of where and who the conversion took place at.

    CYA my friend, CYA. I suggest that you write down everything you remember about what happened here. You are the good guy. Some at fault will try to make you the bad guy. You can not ever do enough to CYA. Ask ME and Tim McIlw.

    JMO, who has seen a lot of this stuff happen by those who are always in a rush.

    There's never enough time to do it right. But always time for someone else to do it over.
  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    Dealer/installer did conversion

    The conversion of parts was done but at a time that the gas was not finalized (available at the gas valve but flue condensate and thermostat not yet complete) 

    The day that the furnace was initially fired and the above items completed. I do not know what was done or completed as far as the conversion.  I was told on that day that the furnace had 11"wc and that all was good.

    The box for the conversion kit was dug out of trash the information on the box is as follows: KGANP4301STM.....KIT GAS CVRSN natural to propane hot surface ignition step modulating 355cav/58mvc.....p/n 319968-429 rev.a......also (large font of the number112) below 781897 in upper right hand of label

    heres a link to the tech sheet
  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    What tech sheet says about missing switch

    Step 12 — Check Low Gas Pressure Switch Operation

    The newly installed low gas pressure switch is a safety device

    used to guard against adverse burner operating characteristics that

    can result from low gas supply pressure. Switch opens at not less

    than 6.5 in. w.c. and closes at not greater than 10.2 in. w.c

     (can some one explain this I understand that it completes the circut but does below 6.5 wc mean low pressure?)

    This switch also prevents operation when the propane tank level

    is low which can result in gas with a high concentration of

    impurities, additives, and residues that have settled to the bottom

    of the tank. Operation under these conditions can cause harm to

    the heat exchanger system.

    This normally open switch closes when gas is supplied to gas

    valve under normal operating pressure. The closed switch

    completes control circuit. Should an interruption or reduction in

    gas supply occur, the gas pressure at switch drops below low gas

    pressure switch setting, and switch opens. Any interruption in

    control circuit (in which low gas pressure switch is wired) quickly

    closes gas valve and stops gas flow to burners. When normal gas pressure is restored, the system must be electrically reset to re--establish normal heating operation. 

    (this did not happen with the failed furnace.  All that was needed when the initial propane tanks went empty was to fill and re-connect the tanks to the regulator and the heater started on its own)  Tanks only went completly empty one time 9 days (ran out of propane) two other times they were low around 10-12 gallons ane were refilled still no need to reset the furnace electrically.

     (could this mean that the switch did not operate correctly?)

    Before leaving installation, observe unit operation through 2

    complete heating cycles. During this time, turn gas supply to gas

    valve off just long enough to completely extinguish burner flame,

    then instantly restore full gas supply. To ensure proper low gas

    pressure switch operation, observe that there is no gas supply to

    burners until after hot surface igniter begins glowing.


       If the furnace was overgassed, it would be safe to say that it used excessive amounts of propane.

    Thanks again for helping out......
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470

    to be clear on something.....You had to pay for the second furnace?
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    LP Conversions:

    Those are very complicated conversion instructions. I can see that if any step was skipped or anything done that didn't follow the instructions could lead to a real problem.

    I don't see any short cuts to happiness there.

    And it sounds like they had different sets of orifi for different ratings of the burner/appliance. That is no 10 minute conversion job. It sounds like the missing low gas pressure switch is there for LP and must be installed by the converter. Does this company do a lot of LP or is it mostly Nat. Gas?
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,482
    I downloaded the

    Installation Instructions KGANP4301STM and went through them in detail. I have some questions and also comments.

    1. Did the homeowner run this unit on a 30 lb cylinder? If so it would run out very quickly in a cold weather situation keeping that in mind read my comments later about "low pressure switch".

    2. Is the installer an authorized Bryant/Carrier service technician trained by Carrier? Comment: These units are tricky to convert from natural to LP in fact if I had my way you should not be allowed to do it in the field. Only a factory trained individual should be doing this otherwise. This is not your typical change the orifices and change the spring in the regulator conversion.

    3. The missing orifices and low gas pressure switch missing gives me concern as follows:

    a. Did the wrong orifices get left in the unit (volume of gas usage would seem to say so) Propane company could actually figure that out based on degree days and typical usage breakdown at the correct input versus input if natural gas orifices left in place.

    b. Did the low gas pressure switch even get installed, or if it was did the installer wire it correctly to the board?

    4. Low out door temperature with propane can cause low pressure in the LP tanks, again the low pressure switch should have functioned to shut off the furnace. The switch will shut down the system if pressure goes below 6.5" W.C. and will remake at 10.2" W.C.. These can sometime be construed as a nuisance by some techs so they leave them off the unit. They do require resetting so this leads me to believe they may not have even been there or were wired incorrectly.

    No instructions anywhere in that downloaded instruction sheet for a combustion test to be conducted. Warm air furnace manufacturers are very lax in that area. They often will not even give you typical readings to be expected on their units. That should not stop us from testing however. A test here if nothing else would have shown very high levels of CO I am sure.

    I hope that everything is hooked up correctly on these units now. Just one more thing is the air intake for this unit anywhere near the ocean?
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997

    in reference to #4. I have a number of these unit's in the field with the pressure switch installed properly. I have never had an issue with a properly sized LP system feeding to one of these unit's. At -5 degree's, for a period of a week or two a propane tank properly sized for the installation will still supply enough pressure to run the applications...btw, if you call the manufacturer and ask them for numbers they would like on their unit (combustion readings)  they cannot answer...They will also tell you it's not needed to test these units...
  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    edited February 2012
    Yes we have been asked to pay for the replacement furnace

    Yes we have been asked to pay.  At this point I paid in full for the original equipment.  However, I have only sent half of the total for the replacement furnace with an explianation that I will foward the balance when the cause of the failed furnace is determined and is our fault due to the propane.

     At first it looked like Carrier was going to replace the failed furnace but after they talked to the dealer/installer they advised us that no compensation will be given at this time and they would wait until they received a statement from the dealer and the failed unit was returned to the local distributor and revisit the issue.  

      Then the next day emailed saying that they would get back to me as to if they need the failed unit returned or not with an explaination.   Next email, three days later said that they do not need to look at the failed furnace with no explaination and thanked me for my paitents while they looked into the matter. 

    I of course emailed Carrier back.  Again asked for them to look at what happen to their furnace for the safety of my family as well as the safety of other famlies their equipment serves and attached the two pictures you see above in this thread.

    Thanks for helping to figure out what went wrong

  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    answers to concerns...

    1. No,  Two 100lb propane tank with a tangent ( not sure if right word) regulator.  Tanks were empty on the 9th day.  temps mild no below freezing nights.

    2. Yes the installer is a Bryant authorized dealer.  Can not answer if he was trained by Carrier but he told me along the course of installing our system that he does have to go to training classes/seminars....not sure if they were giving by Bryant.

    3a. Not sure what size orfice was used in the failed furnace.  The  box I dug out of the trash had 5-45 nat gas and one 1.25 in it.  Also he removed the orfices from the failed furnace and replaced them with 5-45 nat gas finger tight.  That is a total of 10- nat gas 1-1.25 propane left behind on the day the new furnace was installed.  Also down in the conversion box was a drill bill (looks un used) that fits inside of the 45 orfice hole/jet. 

    3b. Yes, I saw the low pressure switch installed on the failed furnace.  I work nights so the night installer came to trouble shoot the problem he told my son that the switch was not working.  However the installer is now telling Carrier that it did work.  I know that the new furnace has a new switch since the old switch was covered in soot.  No way of telling if it was wired correctly as the original switch was not left behind with everything else.

    He tried that night to blow out the soot from the HE but was not able to correct what went wrong an refire the furnace. (I am now gald he could'nt based on what that intake looked like when I got home the next day)

    4.  Never had to reset the switch.  On that ninth day when we ran out of propane the furnace came on by itself when the the filled cylinders were reconnected.

    One more thing.  No, we live about 25 miles from ocean in a woodland setting.  We only seem to have trouble on 20* below nights the furnace could not maintain the demand of 68* set on the thermastat.

    Thanks for you insight still not sure what failed here.......

  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15

    Tim thanks for you help in troubleshooting this thing.  I have been told that the propane tanks running out or low caused the failure.  

    Since you have several of these systems installed correctly without the problems this failed furnace experenced do you mind helping answer a couple of more questions.

    1. Is this switch suppose to shut down the furnace if the propane runs low or empty in the tanks? 

    2. If so does it shut down the furnace to prevent incomplete combustion or for another reason?

    3. What do you think caused the burner box to get so hot to burn the air intake and the induction motor plate?

    4.  Will over gassing cause soot and or overheating of the combustion box?

    5.  Does the combustion box have a switch to shut down the furnace if it gets to hot?

    Thanks again for you help....... 
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,482
    Tom I was referring

    to the statement of the 30 lb cylinders as to drop in pressure they would never handle that load.

    Some of these LP low gas pressure switches require a reset some do not, do you know if these Bryant units reset automatically?

    Do you find cases that on LP the switches are not installed? I have several times found them still in the box at a job site running on Propane after a conversion.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,482
    Firesafe do you want

    LCHMB to answer questions or me?
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470

    way you slice it, the homeowner is not responsible for replacing that unit. Either it was not converted correctly, or was defective from the factory. As said....write down as much information regarding the time-line that you can remember.Don't send any more money.Send a copy of the conversion instruction, with the section on the LPGS highlighted, and demand your money back.Send it registered mail,have it notarized, maybe the notary would even mail it for you, for a few more dollars.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    edited February 2012
    Hi Tim

    Sorry didnt realize you meant the 30#' far as the switch on the Bryant, the unit's I have seen are auto reset. I have not seen any pressure switch's that require reset in the last couple years.

     I come across an amazing amount that do not have the switch's installed or are installed and the wiring was never run to them. Standing rule for us is to install them properly to protect the unit's.

    My next questions would be, who removed the switch and orifice. Was an inspection done of the system itself and did the installer hook this system to the temp tanks? Why was it necessary to re-route the vent pipe's/condensate lines after the system failed? You mentioned on the 13th day it blew a haze into the house, did your installer come out and check your unit or did you contact him reference this problem?  Again my next concern is how was it possible for this unit to over heat so badly, the air box has (should have? I'll check my manuals tomorrow to verify whether it does or not) manual reset high limit's on at least 2 sides?
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470

    Quote...." Also he removed the orfices from the failed furnace and replaced them with 5-45 nat gas finger tight".

    Be patient with me, but this makes no sense, because you said the assembly was missing.I'm sure it is just a time-line error, but if you were in small claims court, it could lose the case for you.Just trying to help. 
  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    edited February 2012
    Sorry, I am a newbie

    Sorry, I am new to the board.  I certainly did not mean to offend anyone.

     I meant those questions for the person that posted he has several of these units with the switch installed correctly  but if could also answer those q's that would be great I need all the input I can get to help resolve this and move on. 

      I do appreciate all the help everyone has given me so far.  I was just trying to answer everyones questions directly and got a little confused who was who.

     If you or anyone needs more pictures or have any additional question please feel free to ask.

      I am trying to be as honest as I can.  I do not want to hurt the dealer/installer in anyway.  I just want to be sure this does not happen again.  I already lost my house to a fire once before and do not want to go there if you know what I mean.

    Thanks again

  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15

    What I was trying to say was:  When the new furnace came the installer took the orfices out of the burner tube assembly of the failed unit.  He replaced them with nat gas #45 that came on the new unit and installed them into the failed furnace finger tight he then losely replace the burner tube assembly back into the failed unit.  

     I, also tried to show the following:  How did ten nat gas 45 orfices end up being left behind? 

    The kit comes with 7-1.25s according to the tech sheet

    DESCRIPTION                                       PART NO.           QUANTITY

    DESCRIPTION                                       PART NO.           QUANTITY

    Main Burner Orifice (Drill Size 1.25 mm)   LH32DB209                7


  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470

    you got from the trash(out of failed unit). Five from the replacement unit. I assume he was re-using the conversion kit? I'd use the conversion instructions and go through the failed unit, step by step. Did he leave jumpers in, causing the unit to stay in high-fire?
  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    Propane tank time line........just to be clear for everyone.

    Nov 12th 2011 1st day of service Mild temps day/night.

    Initial fire of furnace.   TWO 100lb tanks filled that day. 

    result:  furnace seemed to run fine for 9 days.  9th day both tanks empty.  Did not contract installer,  refilled tanks re-attached to piping system and furnace re-fired.

    Nov 26th 14th day of service.  20* below night time temps

    Furnace could not keep up with thermastat that night.  System not running in morning.   First signs of trouble. 

      Called installer, we tried to troubleshoot over phone.  Could not get it to re-fire. Told us he would come out.  Since it was not running that morning, I moved the thermastat location up the wall to 60" as the dry wall installer put it to low.  (when I did that I blew the 3am fuse and killed the low voltage to thermastat fuse was NOT blown that night)  He came out replaced the fuse and got the furnace running again.   On the way out he discovered soot in the condensate hose from HE.  He discovered this somewhat by accident as he was trying to re-route the hose for a more positive pitch to waste.  At that time he was told about the tanks running empty on the ninth day and informed us that this is what caused the soot and not to let the tanks run out because when the pressure gets low the furnace will make soot when it operates.

    result:  Furnace seemed to operate properly

    Dec 10th 27th day of service 20* below night time temps

    Furnace again was not able to keep up with demand.  Thought that tanks were empty again.  Checked tanks one low one half empty.   New propane tanks scheduled to be installed in three days.  Placed a 30lb cylinder in place of the low 100lb cylinder to allow furnace to operate while I filled the low 100lb tank .  Replaced 30lb cylinder with the filled 100lb furnace fired and all seemed well about one hour total running with one 100lb half full and one full 30lb tank.

     result:  Did not call installer, everthing seemed to operate correctly at that point. 

    Dec 13th 30 day of service Mild day/night temps

    Two new 420's Propane tanks installed. Prevous 100lb tanks still had propane about 50% all together.

    result:  Furnace seemed to run properly.

    Dec 19th 36 day of service 20* below night time temps

      Son home alone smelled what he described as a electric burning odor and reduced demand to 60* at thermastat.  Daughter came home about 1 hour later complained house was cold turned thermastat demand to 73* Furnace starting producing odor again and smoke like haze in living space.  Son shut furnace down at emergancy switch and shut gas valve off.  Called me at work and told me what happend.

    When I got home no haze remaining however, odor seemed to still be lingering.  It was near Christmas and my son had been playing with his model train all night (which makes a lot of smoke) in faimly room right under one of the cold air returns.  I assumed that is where the odor and haze came from and refired furnace.                 

     result:  Furnace seemed to operate properly and I did not call installer.

    Dec 24th Again 20* below night time temps last two nights

    Son again called me at work and told me that he smelled the odor again.  I told him to call the installer on his service and have the service tell him to  call me at work.  We disscussed everything even had my son check the new propane tanks which still had 70% and 75% respectivly.  Since it was Christmas eve I told him not to come out.  He choose to come anyway.  He found the furnace heavyly sooted.  He said it was the worst soot he had every seen. He and my son tried to clean the furnace with compressed air and our shop vac and refire but was not able to get it going. 

    result:  He shut down the furnace and the gas that night.

    Dec 26th no heat mild day/night temps

    Installer returned on Monday morning wanting to hook up heat pump.  He told me that we would have to replace both the primary and secondary HE's on the failed furnace.  He said his wife would get me an estimate and availability of all parts involved.  We decided to wait till Thursday my day off to hook up heat pump.  We still had the space heater we used to keep warm before system was finished and told him we would be okay until we repaired the failed furnace.

    result: After I received estimate and did some research I found that it is recommended to replace the furnace.   We scheduled this for Jan 5th 2012.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470

    Regardless of what you were using for a tank,if the LPGS was hooked up properly and functioning correctly,it would protect the unit from conditions that might damage it.That's why they have it.You need an answer from the contractor for a request for your money back.Maybe it would be better if you didn't play all your cards, and just request your money back because this is not your fault.If it has to go to small claims court, he'll look foolish if he claims it was caused by low pressure, and he was suppose to install and test something to prevent that.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Something doesn't sound right....

    And just based on the information you've provided, I suspect our contractor is hiding something. He (and you ) are obviously lucky that your house didn't burn down.

    If I were the manufacturer, I'd be on this like white on bread, because regardless of who or what was wrong, it indicates that something is SERIOUSLY wrong.

    It is impossible, even for en expert witness with lots of experience, to make a decision based on the information provided, but I can tell you from experience that the ONLY time I've ever seen ANYTHING close to this, was a natural gas appliance that was installed with LP and not converted.

    I do not like seeing situations like this go to a legal battle, but you may want to consider talking to a lawyer to see what options you have. With critical evidence missing from the job site, it is going to be difficult to point a finger of blame at the installers, but these things do not just torch themselves for no reason at all...

    If the installers was smart, he'd fix this and make it just go away. Instead, sounds like he is doing everything in his power to avoid getting caught for his wrong doings, and is just digging himself into a deeper hole with each step.

    An undersized LP system might have caused nuisance lock outs, but I don't believe it could have started the fires you were seeing. That can only come from being over fired, which if it was a natural gas orifice in a LP setting, would cause these symptoms.

    As i said, if I were the maker, I'd REALLY want to know what was going on, just to cover the investors if nothing else. If they were made aware of the situation without performing due diligence, then they are just a culpable as the installer. And if it is the dealer that is broken, then get it (the dealer) fixed, or replaced.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    edited February 2012

    there was a situation involving the regulator's, low pressure from a run out will NOT cause a unit to soot. If that were the case I would have just spent my afternoon cleaning a Lennox that had just run out. Another thought, a  runout will not cause an overheat situation. The pressure drops, the unit does not sense flame and flame failure occures. I agree with Mark that either the unit was not converted properly or something in the unit failed (gas valve) in which case it is the installer not you that should be fixing this issue...

    BTW, the manual does show this unit having 1 flame roll out switch and the pressure switch's which  "ensure adequate flow of flue gas through system and out vent" why did they not shut the unit down as it started to plug? That's why it's there and concerns me that a new unit did not function to the point the air intake melted...
  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    I know this is a safey issue but....

    I grew up in a plumbing family.  I remember as a young boy seeing an American Standard Poster that said "Plumbers Protect the Health of the Nation"  I can still see that poster in my mind.  I asked my dad at the time what it meant and he explained that a tradesman has an obligation to the public's safety not just an obligation to make a living. 

     I think that this failure or worst could be repeated in the HVAC field and feel an obligation to figure out what really caused the failure.  Had my children been sleeping who knows what might have happened on that night.  It looks like by the replies to this thread you guys feel the same way and I thank you for all your help.

    However this installer reached out to our family in efforts to help us restore our home that burn badly due to a fire in 2010.  I had used him on a couple of renovation jobs and found him via one of my customers.  

    When I tallked to him last summer about getting a quote for installing heat and air he offered the following:  That we would do the job after work and on weekends, my only costs would be the cost of the materials.   I had two other estimates already including labor and from them established a budget.   He then recommended that we go with the Bryant equipment with the Hybrid heat.  The Bryant equipment and the ductwork alone was about the same as the other two estimates with labor but within the budget.  I was happy with the free labor better equipment so I went with him and what he thought was best.

    I now have found out that a Bryant dealer has a sales quotta or level that they must reach each year.  We had simular incentives with certain Manufactors in our Plumbing supply.   I do know for sure if that is true if there is a Bryant Dealer out there to confirm this then maybe his morals were two fold.  Still, I took into consideration that he did not charge labor.  That is what I based the decision to pay the thousand dollars (a little more than half the costs of the replacement furnace) towards the new furnace until Carrier decided what they are going to do.

    I do not want to go to court.  That sounds like it will cause the installer problems.  If he made a mistake I just want to know that, and what REALLY caused this failure. 

     If it was equipment failure I would want the cost of the replacement furnace to be covered by Carrier. 

     I spoke to another local authurized Bryant Dealer his rate is $96.00hr to come out and look at the failed furnace and go over the installation of the replacement furnace est 3hrs.   I am okay with the rate but I see two problems with this.  

    1. The original installer will blame any future problems on the new tech. 

    2. The new tech may report the first installer to Bryant for negalance and cause him to loss his Bryant dealer status or worse his licesne.

    The first installer has turned out to have a "hot head" side that I never knew about his wife even told me so.  So, talking to him might be difficult.   I sent a letter along with the payment explaining our stand.  It basically states that we will pay the balance when the problem with the failed furnace is sorted out and the new furnace operates on all three burn modes.  It currently only operates on med and high.  I was told that the furnace does operates on all three modes but is set at the thermastat to operate only on the med and high modes by his wife.  She stated that he does everything for a reason but did not give the reason. 

    Sorry, for all the long posts but I am trying to be as fair and honest to this board and its members as possible. 
  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    orffice count

    Five 45's nat gas were loose in the box of the conversion kit also one 1.25 that comes with the kit that is what I dug out of the trash.  Also in that box was a drill bit no index markings on bit but it fits in the 45's jet/orffice hole

    In the failed furnace itself there was another additional five 45's nat gas losely installed in the burner tubes.

    That is a total of 10 45's nat gas and one 1.25 propane left behind after the new furnace was installed. 

    Somthing does not add up.   Yes,  to my knowledge he reused the lp conversion kit but his labored told me that he had another kit on the truck and used some parts from that kit but laborer did not know what parts.  I am assuming at least the LPGS...

    Hope that clears it up.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    I think

    without being on site, and without wanting to step on toes, I would say your going to purchase the new unit, and move on. I would spend the money to have your supplier come in and do a full safety. Ask them to bring a Bryant tech rep with them if you have any doubt and pay him also. After that, chalk it up to history and move on...As far as quota's or what not, that has no bearing on what happened. If the equipment is not tested or installed properly then this is something  that can occur.
  • firesafe
    firesafe Member Posts: 15
    Just to be clear

    Pay balance of replacement furnace.

    Have my supplier (propane company) check out new furnace.

    Hire a different authorized Bryant dealer to go over new replacement furnace.

    Let Carrier off the hook for inspecting of failed furnace and bury this.

    I am okay with all of that but what if there was a combination of things that went beyond the tech sheets and or training of Bryant dealers and this happened again to another faimly with even worst results then just losing their new furnace?

    Not trying to be rude at all.  This is the one moral issue that just does not seem to go away by just putting this behind my family.  I hope you can understand that.  

    This is why I am so actively seeking advise of HVAC installers in the field.  To better understand what happened and provide Carrier with information that may be useful.  As well as make it a little easier to sleep at night if you know what I mean. 

    Thanks again

  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,482
    Based on your

    concern about this happening again to someone else have fun I have been doing this gas business for over 50 years and am a registered expert witness for court cases. If you are definitely looking to pursue this the I would demand a factory rep from Carrier, an expert from the Propane industry, a good lawyer and go after everyone involved. Otherwise it has been my experience when failure to properly convert equipment (I have been involved in hundreds of these over the years especially when I worked for a gas utility) by contractors the only way to get any action was to get tough with them.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997

    as you said, you do not want to get the installer into any trouble. What is it you really want? Answer's..and if so, you cannot protect anyone in this situation. If you want an answer, and to protect everyone else who may run into this, you need to hire a pro (like Tim) to find the cause of the problem and hold those responsible. No matter where the chips may fall... You hold the cards, it's up to you to follow through or drop it....
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,863
    I wouldn't worry

    about getting someone in trouble. This thing could have burnt your house down and/or killed you and your family. Tim is right, you need to do your civic duty and get tough with whoever is responsible, before they harm someone else. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • VictoriaEnergy
    VictoriaEnergy Member Posts: 126
    edited February 2012
    Hmmm.. Big furnace running on little tanks

    The last 3 digits of the Bryant model number is the capacity. 

     So this is a 100 000 BTU furnace running on a pair of 100lbs cylinders.  There is a complaint of insuficient heat from a 100 000BTU furnace when the weather gets cold. 

    Sounds to me like we are way below the effective vaporization capacity of a pair of 100 pounders.   A pair of 80 gallon (420lbs) tanks would be border line small for continuious load that big in cold weather.

    I'd bet the low pressure switch must not have been functioning.  Everything else is a consenquence of running it with very low inlet pressure.
    Home Owners Please Note:

    You are receiving advice from some very skilled pros completely free of charge. One of the reasons I participate is to sharpen my own troubleshooting skills. So; did we get it right? I would be grateful if you extend this courtesy back by posting the final outcome of the issue you are inquiring about. Thanks
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