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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

  • From start to finish their work has met/exceeded our highest expectations.   Bill Hann guided us through what needed to be done and his workmen were extremely competent and easy to communicate with.  The new system works beautifully.  Thank you!  We highly recommend Verne & Ellsworth Hann.

    - Rose B.( Geauga County, Unico Air Conditioning Installation May 2017 )
  • Verne & Ellsworth Hann has gone above and beyond for us repeatedly including giving us two salvaged cast iron radiators when our existing ones were not doing the trick.  They came back countless times when we were unable to regulate the temperature in the house until they found the perfect balance.  They’ve responded to emergencies in a matter of minutes and performed invaluable services professionally and expertly.  I cannot recommend Verne & Ellsworth Hann enough and will continue to use them and trust them with all of our home needs.  They are fantastic.

    - Tatiana D.( Cleveland Heights, Heating, Cooling & Plumbing Service )
  • The installers were very professional.  The workmanship looks excellent.  They answered the few questions I had, and the job went smoothly.  I am very pleased.

    - Kathleen C.( Cleveland Heights, Boiler Installation March 2017 )
  • Verne & Ellsworth Hann cared about making sure I knew my options. I was given detailed explanations to my questions and did not feel pressured at all. The crew was kind and considerate and put drop cloths everywhere. You must do yourself a favor and choose to work with Verne & Ellsworth Hann, Inc.

     

     

    - Frank V., Painsville( Furnace & Air Conditioning Installation, March 2017 )
  • I really appreciate the amount of time Bill spent going over all our options.  The installers were great and the process was painless from start to finish!

    - David G.( Cleveland Heights, Boiler Installation February 2017 )