cracked heat exchanger???

Had my (working just fine) 14 year old gas furnace given a tuneup/cleaning.
Near the end of it, the guy checked the heat exchanger and had me convinced I should get a new furnace due to some burn marks, corrosion and especially a cracked heat exchanger. He had this camera at the end of a flexible rod connected to a b&w monitor that he used to look around inside the heater.
He also took some polaroids.
I put the heat exchanger polaroid at this URL...
http://thefxfiles.net/heater /
It is blurry, but just the place where he says the crack is has me suspicious. I could be wrong, but I now think that what he says is a crack isn't really a crack, at least not one to be worried about, just the corner seam where 2 halfs are welded together (I'm guessing) is parting some.
He did test for CO, and said he found none. No gas leak.
His recommendation is to upgrade & replace furnace & air ducts.
I'm definitely leaning toward getting a second opinion, but I thought I'd see what people in this home repair newsgroup thought as well. Was also going to try alt.hvac, but read enough posts there to know to stay away :)
Again, I admit to knowing very little about this furnace stuff, but it appears to me it's more likely he just wanted to sell me a new furnace (and ducting) than it actually being a necessity at this time.
fx
PS: this is what he wrote on the receipt paperwork...
-----
fall 1991: performed precision tune-up & cleaning on furnace unit. checked all safeties - OK, pulled & cleaned blower motor - OK, hydro-scanned heat exchanger & found cracks on heat exchanger on the rear bottom - informed customer, transformer @ 25.16volts, run cap @ .4 amps - OK, replaced air filter, also corrosion build-up & burn marks on heat exchanger
* checked for (co) carbon monoxide - no gas leak @ this (not readable)
* found air ducts damaged & cracked - need to replace
recommendation: upgrade & replace furnace & air ducts
-----
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I guess you should ask your barber what he thinks. Maybe keep asking strangers until someone tells you the anwer you want to hear. Who knows--maybe he was trying to tell you about a dangerous situation and save your family's life? Nah-- he's probably just a crook.
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"I guess you should ask your barber what he thinks. Maybe keep asking strangers until someone tells you the anwer you want to hear. Who knows--maybe he was trying to tell you about a dangerous situation and save your family's life? Nah-- he's probably just a crook. "
There's nothing wrong with being skeptical. I personally have come across repairmen that were crooks. And I guess you haven't seen any of the stings done by police or news reporters where they take an appliance, like a TV set and put a blown out fuse or similar component in it, then take it to numerous repair shops. They almost always get a good percentage, like 25%, that come up with a diagnosis other than the simple blown fuse and BS to go with it, for a big repair bill.
While I'm no expert and those photos are not very clear, I don't see anything that looks like a crack.
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Those cracks dont look like cracks, post a blow up photo. Ducts cracked? he sounds like a crook, get a few more heating pros out
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I'm no expert so I will not comment on the alleged cracks.....
but I will suggest this....
either way, I would get one or more CO detectors for your home and mount them so that they monitor the heated air comming out of your vents.
Also one in the basement near the furnace.
I would do this even if you get a new furnace just for the peace of mind.
Mark
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fx wrote:

This is Turtle.
I think you over reacting to the beginning of a rust out of the heat exchanger. I think you have maybe 5 years or so till it can rust to a hole. Keep checking on it every year and see.
TURTLE
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fx wrote:

A cracked heat exchanger - or even one with a hole in it - is not necessarily the end of the world.
Such a "leak" implies there is no barrier between you and the products of combusion in the furnace. Just like a gas space heater or a fireplace. The products of combusion COULD include carbon monoxide, or, if the flame is properly adjusted, present no problem at all.
If it was me or my family, I'd take a chance and save the money. Aw, heck, maybe I'd spring for a canary - it's for the family.
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In most areas, particularly where licence requirements are in place, any tech that leaves a unit with a proven crack in the exchanger is liable, and should he be found out, can face crimminal charges of neglegence.(sp) Around here, if we find one , and its a definitive crack, or hole, we are required to lock the unit out, inform the homeowner, inform the gas company, inform the local code official, and offer a solution. Contrary to popular thought of many, this is not abused, and it is the one thing that none of us WANT to do.
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We have a lawsuit now. Tech condemned furnace, tagged it as "unsfe", disabled it and told the customer.......by phone. (They weren't at home at the time). Problem is: The tag (which is a 2-copy form) has a place for the customer to sign. Since they weren't home, the tech did not get a signature. Customer came home, hooked the furnace back up and ran it a couple weeks. Now he says he was never told and "has been having real bad headaches and mental disarray" (whatever that means). Unfortunately, without that signed ticket, he may have a case.
Kind of sucks. He KNEW the furnace was bad and now someone told him he could get easy money if he sues.......
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THATS the EXACT reason that we have to inform the powers that be, and wait for a gas company employee to lock the line...we can take it off, we can put a shut off valve on it, but the gas company has to lock it. Trust me..we hate doing it..its a pain in the ass, but this way, even if the home gets cold..no one dies.

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This is Turtle.
i know what you think is very much true in your part of the country , but here in louisiana you better watch out cutting off the gas to a heating system without a very good reason. Here Louisiana has Rights to homestead and it gives them the right to tell anybody to go from their house at anytime.
You call the gas company to come look at it and the customer calles the police to come tell you to get out of their house. then when the Gas company gets there the law tells them to get off their land also.
All that you say is very good to do but here it just don't happen that away. Here if you cut a furnce gas off, you got to know for sure the customer has a safe place to stay or be able to heat the house , but you have to have one or you don't leave. My answer is call the Sheriff department or the police dept. and let them handle it that away. i seen it happen one time like this and the Sheriff dept. took them to their station where it was warm till their son in Houston , Texas could come pick them up.
here if you cut the gas off to the heat and walk out. You run the risk of getting introducted to big bubba in the Sate Pen. You better have the police or sheriff dept. standing there before you leave with the gas cut off. now if the customer tells you they have heated house to go to or have other heater to do with to heat their house. you might walk with the gas cut off. now When you cut it off always disconnect the gas line and plug off the gas which will take work to get it back running.
this seem like a lot of hair splitting but you better these days about cutting the gas off to the heat of the house. It's not what it was 30 years ago.
TURTLE
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