HVAC Equipment Issues

I’d like to comment on Jim Wheeler’s heat exchanger piece (“Why Furnace Heat Exchangers Fail,” Supply House Times, October 2009, p. 68). As a residential contractor in the Denver area I am well aware of the debates regarding the health/safety aspects associated with cracked heat exchangers. Natural draft furnaces are by their nature more of a potential hazard than furnaces with draft inducer fans. What really bothers me is the degree of difficulty in testing and inspecting heat exchangers and other internal parts in furnaces. The manufacturers don’t provide inspection ports. They don’t even provide a port that can be used for temperature measurement or static pressure measurement. This is tragic.

Also, please help me spread the word regarding NO-NO locations for mechanical equipment. The ACCA, AHRI, you and I should communicate to our publics - especially home builders and remodelers - that we need more room, not only to install heating and cooling mechanical equipment, but also add-ons like high-efficiency air cleaners and humidifiers. We also need decent access space so we can service it all. Making the unitary equipment smaller is not the answer. Now that we have difficult-to-work-on 32-inch to 34-inch tall furnaces in restricted locations, what’s next? We need better working conditions so as to attract smart new field installation and service people. The equipment is getting more complicated and technical. The systems are becoming more proprietary as every manufacturer develops its own way of doing things. Future technicians may be educated as engineers who know how to use an oscilloscope to troubleshoot the new control, safety and integrated security systems. It will become increasingly difficult to recruit well-educated people if they are expected to endure lousy working conditions.

Alex Walter
About Home Comfort
Aurora, CO

“The Goal” Column Wins Fans

When I read Joan Adams’ article in the November 2009 edition of Supply House Times (“The Goal,” page 18), what she had to say impressed the heck out of me. The way she writes she must get plenty of these kinds of emails. I’d like to reprint parts of her articles or quote from them for my audience of dealers that sell equipment and supply products for the printing industries.

Omike Fichera
Fichera Publications
Margate, FL