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A Bad Heat Exchanger Is Like A Bad Robot

Pictured above is a very old heat exchanger from a furnace we recently replaced. A heat exchanger, whether in a boiler of a furnace, is the principal internal component that transfers heat from the burners to either water or air. This sealed component is what allows for a clean transfer of heat without any combustion related contaminants.

This particular heat exchanger is unusual in it’s age, shape and material make-up. It’s a very heavy cast steel. The phrase “they don’t make them like that anymore” could easily be applied here. And, if left undisturbed, it might last another 50 years – as a solid piece of steel. But two things (there are more) led to it’s demise. First is the controls that make the system work. After a certain point both the principal manufacturer (if still in business) discontinues making parts because so few of these units are still in existence out in the field, and the secondary market (third party vendors) also cease parts support.

More importantly it’s what cannot be seen by the naked eye that spells doom for these units. And that is small cracks in the steel itself. While seemingly innocuous when seen by an inspection camera, these cracks will eventually develop into larger cracks due to the dynamics of heat/cool cycles. These cracks are a pathway to carbon monoxide entering the air that you breathe if this is a furnace based heating system. This is not only a serious heath issue, it could very well prove to be lethal.

No one wakes up on a given day and thinks; I’ll change my furnace today! But when shown the evidence of a cracked heat exchanger, it is a powerful motivating factor.

With a little imagination this old fellow could be a Steampunk Robot from the late 1800s. It might even take on a human shape; standing upright on legs, a barrel body. But unlike Robby the Robot from the great Fred M. Wilcox 1956 movie “Forbidden Planet”, this is a Bad Robot. A very, very deadly Bad Robot.

At Verne & Ellsworth Hann, we’ve been dealing with Bad Robots for a long time. If there’s one in your basement, call the experts at 216-932-9755.

What People Are Saying

  • Your company did an excellent job!  We really appreciated how quickly your crew worked in order to get our heat back on as soon as possible.  Everyone seemed very knowledgeable, professional and excellent in their work!

    - George O.( Cleveland Heights, Boiler Installation, January 2018 )
  • Thank you thank you!  For your amazing response and difficult repair – I really appreciate it!

    - Marianne P.( Aurora, Boiler Installation, December 2017 )
  • Bill carefully examined the old boiler and piping, checked all the radiators and came up with a replacement proposal.  He explained two issues with the old boiler that other contractors did not notice or did not care to explain.  The first was what’s causing the rust in the boiler and how he was going to minimize the issue in the new system.  The second was how he would re-pipe the kitchen loop so the kitchen wouldn’t be so cold.  Bill addressed each and every question I had.  Although we received four bids that were comparable, we chose Bill Hann’s company because he was knowledgeable, thoughtful and detailed.  The work was completed in two days by a great installer team.  They were on time, professional and courteous.  The new boiler and piping work nicely without any issues and we now have a comfortable kitchen to dine in.  I’d highly recommend them.

    - Brian B.( Shaker Heights, Boiler Installation, January 2018 )
  • I strongly recommend Verne & Ellsworth Hann without reservation.  Choosing the right boiler was important and proper installation was critical.  I was impressed with all aspects of the Verne & Ellsworth Hann organization.  Most importantly, Bill Hann earned my trust.  The installation team was excellent.  They were experienced.  They arrived precisely on time every day.  They explained every step of the process.  They worked as a team.  They treated my home with extreme care, as if it was their own.  The installation is a thing of beauty.  Every time I go into my basement I smile.  I now have a reliable, efficient system.  I don’t usually take the time to write recommendations, but in this case I am doing so because it is so well deserved.

     

    - Allen P.( Shaker Heights, Boiler Installation, December 2017 )
  • Boiler has performed like a champ!  Install is neat and clean. Instructions for next 3 months have been followed.  New stat works well!

    - John R.( Cleveland Heights, Boiler Installation, December 2017 )