Wood Furnace - Cracked Firebox


I have a basement mounted wood furnace heating my home and when we first purchased it the firebox had a two inch crack in the side which actually exposed the burning chamber to the outside panel of the entire unit. Obviously this was a safety hazard even though the furnace was ran an entire year without anyone really knowing the extent of the damage. To make the fix we used an arc-welder to close the crack and it worked fine for another year (We have carbon monoxide detectors downstairs and upstairs with no alerts ever going off) but I have been since told that welding is not a suitable repair method and that the entire unit should be condemned. The reputation of the service men responsible for condemning it however is in question as it took them four callbacks just to complete the actual cleaning that they were called for and didn't even do it properly as they never even touched or commented on the filthy air filter or duct system. Being in the army I'm not home a lot and it was my wife that called the repairmen while I was gone so I wasn't present when all this happened and I don't know for sure the details of everything but what is sure is I can't afford to replace the entire unit and we NEED heat. What can I do about this and is welding really unsuitable for repairing a wood burning firebox?
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destroyed the UL rating of the furnace and lost any household insurance should anything happen from the repair. I am a welder of 26 years. It is impossible to say weather your repair is good or not without physically seeing it. What does happen , depending on how it was welded, is that you have two materials (the weld and the exchanger) cooling at heating at different speeds which could creat another crack, generally right beside the weld you made on the repair. Your serviceman was covering his ass. He saw the repair and figured it should be something for him to stay away from. Him servicing a condemned furnace would be himself contributing to a bad thing. I have been asked to repair wood stoves that have had cracks in them. I've refused to weld any of them, unless it's going in somebody's ice fishing shack or old beat up worthless cabin.. Once I strike an arc on anything like that, the UL rating is toast and so is your insurance, and myself, as the welder would be liable if anything happened as a result of that weld. I'm suprised your serviceman came back at all...Hope that was of some help...Jim
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It was suggested that if you bolt a steel plate on both sides of the crack that the repair would be sufficiant until there is time to actually replace the entire unit. What is your opinion on that?
Troy
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last resort to last only until the new unit gets there. Please get in touch with me at Morriswelding-at-sasktel-dot-net and be armed with LOTS of digital photos! Jimi
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You say your Co detectors dont go off or alarm, are they digital display with a pek memory function that your family checks often or a special constant monitor. Because if you use a regular cheap unit you still might have harmfull co at times. Hire a real boiler repair company and get a real Co monitor.
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m Ransley wrote:

The unit doesn't have any digital readouts or anything fancy. It's just a simple plug-in detector that monitors any CO in the air. I don't have the manual handy to know what the threshhold level of the alarm is
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m Ransley wrote:

Hummm....my last reply didn't seem to post. Anyway no it doesn't have a digital readout or anything fancy fancy like that. It's a simple plug-in that monitors the CO content in the air. I don't have the manual to tell you what the CO threshold is on the alarm.
Troy
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For maybe 25$ you could be sure and not guess on your familys saftey, tens of thousands are made sick every year from Co, hundreds die.
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To make the fix we used an arc-welder to close the crack and

If it is cracked then you have to replace it, that's the bottom line. A lot of wood burning furnaces are really old and are simple devices. What the other chap has said is all true. Almost no one in this forum is going to tell you to used a damaged or repaired wood furnace since your safety and that of your family is at stake.
I will say, however, that a welded repair is better than none at all. Repair it again if you must but don't ever say that I told you to, lol. My local farm supply has wood furnaces and they can be pretty cheap so start looking.
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Troy wrote:

I'm of the opinion it could be fixed safely, but as pointed out if there was a fire caused by the furnace, even if it had nothing to do with the repair, your insurance company would work very hard to obtain a freebie (for them).
Also, if it cracked in one spot, what other spots are just waiting to go? Perhaps in the middle of the night?
You could try hitting up the manufacturer, call 'em and tell 'em "Yeah, I have one of those Model 19 units with the cracked firebox...".
Just insert the proper model#
Dave
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Well basically I'm trying to find a fix that'll make it safe enough for the time being until I can find either an affordable replacement unit or a compatible replacement firebox. I'm looking into the manufacturer to see if they have anything in my unit but in the meantime I'm going down to the hardware store and getting a better CO detector like suggested. For now it unfortunately has to last me. I feel that it may be ok for the time being as it was ran 3 years now, 2 without the fix and 1 year with the weld and nothing bad happened....could have been our dumb luck but I'm not taking anymore chances.
Anyone got a Summeraire brand furnace they're trying to ditch? haha
Troy
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