More bullshit...who is this HACK Guy?
An air source heatpump on an electric furnace will continue to provide heat
at above 100% efficiency well below 25F.An add-on HP may switch to fossil
fuel mode at the balance point of your particular house, which may or may
not be 25F because the heatpump may be too small to do the job because it is
sized to match your cooling load.
As you can see this group is not actually a legit help group. Rather
it is just a bunch of self important rejects that hang here to perform
their version of an online circle jerk.
$760 for the board is to much. Start looking for the board yourself or
start searching for a competent electronics tech to see if he can find
a flaw in the board.
If you get the board install it yourself and report it back here. Make
sure you let the HVAC professionals know that repairing a furnace
doesn't take a professional. That should go over well.
If you are handy at all, you may be able to fix this yourself.
Basically all you need is the circuit board, though you may also need
a new blower motor. The circuit board usually has a motor controller
on it, and depending on the design, as the bearings start to fail in
the motor, the motor will have to draw more and more current to keep
running. Eventually this can burn out the controller if the
controller isn't well designed.
I had this happen to me on the new years eve day last year. Had to
have someone come out on new years day. Took so long that by the time
they showed up I had the fan motor out and noticed it was almost
completely froze up. The tech immediately wanted to just bag it all
and replace the whole furnace. I had to press him to see if he had a
generic motor that could be fit in there to try. He said he did, but
it was going to be $380 for the motor. Now I've purchased industrial
motors before, and new I could probably get something that would work
out of Grainger, but they wouldn't be open till Monday, so I had him
After he had it all wired up, that's when we found the controller
board bad. Told me that was it, a controller board would cost 1/3 the
cost of a whole new furnace... so he claimed. I had him take his
motor, and he set me up to talk to a salesperson.
In the meantime, I started searching google using the part number on
the controller that was bad. (they relay traces had melt on the back
of the board). As luck would have it, I found a guy selling one on
Craigslist in my area, he had just put it up for sale the day before.
Apparently he had bought it for $250 to replace a bad controller in
his furnace, but then that wasn't the problem, so he had it on a
shelf. I bought it from him for $25. Then I found a HVAC guy that
was on call. I asked him if he had a generic motor that would work on
his truck. He said he did, and I offered to come pick it up. $100 for
3 hours later I had my furnace running again.
New controllers are gonna be expensive, simply because they are not
all that common. But if you can find one, it can be worth it to just
replace it and see how much longer you can go. A new furnace is awful
expensive thing to do when everything else is working perfectly fine.
Thats a nice story. All you've proven is that with enough time, money
and enginuity, you can screw up a good furnace and make it work the
way it wasnt designed to.
All you've shown us is that you know how to bastardize a furnace.
"Given enough thrust, even a tank can fly"
You have provided more than enough information.
We know your type... we get calls all the time at all hours..."My furnace is
broken, whats wrong with it so I can fix it myself and not have to pay a
licensed, insured, professionally trained, HVAC technician that will
warranty his/her work. I have already gotten 4 calls this morning just like
that. I will not diagnose over the phone, or the internet. Most of the
callers tell me their furnace has been broke for days, or weeks... even had
one tell me its been broke since last year!! and they all expect me to drop
everything and come running because they now think its an "emergency". Then
when I tell them that I can come out today but overtime charges apply, all
of the sudden its not quite so important anymore, nor do they want to get
put on the list for Tuesday or Wednesday. Its "I'll call back on Wednesday"
without thinking that I am already booked up and they will just have to wait
You on the other hand call a tech out, he replaces a bad motor, then also
needs to get the board replaced... you then have him take the motor back
out, and go get one yourself along with the board.... is the tech supposed
to re-box that motor that he installed and sell it to somebody else?? its
now a *USED* motor, and most probably has had the wires cut to fit *YOUR*
I suppose you then bitched because he had the audacity to charge you for the
service call?? What about his time for installing then uninstalling the
motor?? Now you wonder why HOs get the crap that they do when they come in
here....Gee, I wonder. And you have the balls to call us rip-offs.
And I love the type of techs like you, because I see them all the
time. Got a chip on your shoulder that anyone might try to fix their
own furnace. And you jump to all sorts of conclusions. Of course the
customer is a complete dick, because they are always too stupid to get
out of their own way, but slightly dangerous because they are always
in your way. No where did I call all of you rip-offs, nor even one of
you. Me thinks you doth protest too much.
For your edification:
I paid a trip charge and an emergency service charge. I also paid for
an hour to diagnose which included the time to install the motor and
take it back out. I didn't see anything wrong with the charges from
the tech and didn't even try to talk him down or anything. He did the
work that I asked for, so I paid for it.
The only question I had with the tech was the price of the universal
motor and the somewhat hard sell on a new furnace. I don't know that
it's that big of a deal as that obviously was the tool that he had to
use. If you don't have any parts for old furnaces, and you have new
furnaces, well then if you're gonna solve a customer's problem, I
guess you're gonna have to sell them a new furnace.
The tech validly assumed the motor was bad, since when you tried to
turn the squirrel cage for the fan, the motor barely would move.
The tech, on seeing this (I paged him at 10pm Friday, was called back
at 8am Saturday Morning, he arrived at 10am) about the motor
immediately tried to sell me a new furnace. I asked if he had a
generic or universal motor that he could fit. He said he did, but it
would cost $380 plus labor of about 1 hr.
Now I have worked in purchasing for a industrial manufacturing plant
in the past. I know how much electric motors cost, I know that the
motor in my furnace, doesn't cost $380, and even if you mark it up a
good amount, that's way above list price (and this company I called
doesn't pay list for their parts) In fact since I had it apart, I
knew what the motor cost really was as I had looked it up on Grainger
to start with, and such a motor varied from $75 to $150 depending on
the manufacturer. So when he threw out $380 the red flag went up.
Well, regardless, I felt I needed heat, it was 46F in the home and
getting colder (Outside Air Temp, 10 degrees F), what could I do. I
told him to do the motor, as the best they could do, even if I
purchased a furnace, would be install Monday, 48 hours away.
So he installed, and it didn't work. Call for heat, motor would jump,
then control board would let out a big spark. He looked at the board,
found a relay shorting out. Board bad.
So then he said there is nothing more they can do. Did I want a
salesguy to call? I said I guess so, what other option do I have? He
said he didn't have a control board, didn't know if he could get one,
and even if he did it would probably $800. Did I really want to throw
over $1100 into this furnace? (A valid question)
He asked if I wanted to keep the motor. I asked him if there was any
point to keep it? He said no. (and what exactly will keep him from
using again? It never ran?... he left all the wires long just to test
it) So I said he might as well keep it.
After he left I sat and thought through the problem. It looked like
regardless of what I do, I'm gonna need to heat the house now. Then I
remembered, and went to a rental place and rented 6 electric space
heaters. That would get me through the weekend. After getting the
heaters, I got a call from the salesman. He could come over Monday
afternoon and give me a quote. I told him I'd call him back.
I then pulled the controller board on the furnace to see if there was
a component I could just de-solder and replace. Turned out the trace
to the relay that was failing was also melted. I could solder on a
jumper wire, and replace the relay to bypass the bad trace, but that
didn't seem like a good idea. I found a part number on the board, so
I went to google and started searching. I found various repair
websites geared towards helping the repair tech. A couple of them
advertised a different control board as a retrofit for the one I had.
The different number apparently was a revised board designed to trip a
circuit breaker if motor load gets to high. So I punched this new
number in and found a craigslist posting by someone locally selling
just such a board.
I got lucky. I then called a different HVAC company, I have a friend
that is a Plumber, and he had an HVAC friend and gave me his phone
number. I told him I was looking for a motor, and he said he had one
on his truck. I met him at his house on my way back from picking up
the controller. Got home, 1 hour later the furnace was back together
The whole point of my initial post here was to let the OP know that
there are options on there, long shot options, but certainly options.
Perhaps there are some folks in the HVAC business that would rather
see customer options to be as limited as possible?
You know people, it's not against the law to edit your posts instead
of dragging the entire thread into your replies.
Mike H wrote:
What I don't understand, Mike, is why you didn't go out to an
electrical or farm hardware store (TSC?) and buy a new $100 120V
electric 1/3 or 1/4 hp motor and wire it up to a jury-rigged standard
light switch (or plug it directly into a nearby recepticle) so you
could manually power your furnace fan and get heat while you figured
out the problem with your $100 fan control circuit board.
Why? I would do exactly that (fix the trace) and see if the relay or
the wire blows again. You're already going to chuck the board, so
there's no harm. Especially if you already had rigged power to a new
fan motor as described above as a backup plan.
What's so special about the motor?
Is it different than an ordinary 1/4 or 1/3 HP 1200 to 1550 rpm
motor? Is it a DC motor? Is it variable speed?
Hey, I'm not knocking your desire to fix it yourself, but I would have
done things a little differently.
Like chucking the controller board and installing a Honeywell L4064B
Fan/limit controller to run a new $100 motor.
That is certainly the case.
As far as marking up the motor, that's standard for most residential
Roofers will almost double the price for shingles, and most roofers
won't install shingles that you've paid for and arranged to have
delivered to your roof.
Natural Gas Furnace with safety control systems built into the control
board. This is a pilot-less furnace.
The board had a coating on it that I would need to strip off to solder
a wire to the trace, Then I'd need to find a relay to replace the bad
one. The relay had a clear case which I removed. The contact
assembly in the relay was burned away such that it was barely
completing a circuit any more. I was tired and to be honest, I was
not exactly able to consider all my options.
It was a two speed motor, that's about the only thing special about
it. An HVAC company was the only place I could think of to get a
blower fan motor the proper housing size to fit the motor holder in my
furnace on a Saturday. A farm store never came to mind, but now that
you mention it, I likely could have found a replacement that would
work at Fleet Farm.
I looked for generic Furnace controllers.. didn't find any,
specifically for a Natural Gas Furnace.
Don't get me started on Roofing companies. With hail hitting around
our area pretty much once a year for the past 4 years, we get the
contractors that swoop in and want to check your roof for you. The
cost to replace the roof always seems to add up to exactly what the
insurance company will pay. No more, no less.
Consider the time to clean the board, and make repairs, then having the
specific parts to do so.... its easier and cheaper to replace the board.
Depending on the furnace, it could be 850rpm, or 1075rpm, or 1100rpm. It
could be a PSC motor, or DC with a control module(ECM). It could be anywhere
from 1/8hp to 1hp.....but then I am only a tech, what do I know.
You can have the "proper size housing", but is it correct HP, RPM, direction
of rotation, and current draw for the application??
Thats because they are specific to make/model/serial number.
No, they won't because of liability and warranty issues, same as HVAC
Maybe you should be looking at local roofing companies instead of the
It was a 1/2hp motor, but beyond that I don't recall. I had written
down all of the information off the old motor. It did not have a
capacitor, which the new motor required. The housing of the old motor
was heat damaged, but I was able to get a model number off of it, and
a few numbers. Then from the model number I could find the specs
It was correct only in that it was a direct replacement per the specs
on the old motor. Now that doesn't exactly mean the old motor was
correct, but chances were likely as the motor appeared to be as old as
the furnace. The house was built in 1986, and this was likely the
And that has nothing to do with running your own business.
Your job was to shop the best price with regards to urgency.
Hang a carrot in front of a mule/vendor if necessary in order to do your job
Do you think for one moment, the manufacturing plant you worked for,
didn't charge as much as the market would bear for their goods?
I'm not trying to say that the free market system shouldn't work. It
seems that some people are taking offense at the fact that someone
might try to do something to avoid paying a surcharge for something
simply because their back is against the wall. There is absolutely
nothing wrong with someone charging $380 for a $150 electric motor.
But then I don't need buy it from them, and I can make a note that I'm
not going to work with them in the future. Not really life, but it is
the free market at work, a benefit of living in the U.S.A.
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