Yeah, that is what I was thinking. Calling someone from another
I hope someone can actually fix the problem, rather than scaring me
without any obvious reason.
This person seemed like a real ass, right from the moment he walked in
to our house.
Only problem I have with this whole story is, that he didn't take any
That is what is creating this whole dilemma in me, otherwise it would
be more like a visit from the sales man.
Hey, maybe this is one of their tactics, expecting us to call back and
get a new furnace, maybe they're getting some bonuses for sales.
On the other hand, if he is right, sh*t, you know... I am not prepared
to die this winter :)
Not yet, I am only 33 and I'd rather see myself retiring rich one
Did he at least kiss you and use a good lubricant?
Call a more reputable service man. This is a perfecft example of why
calling a pro is not always the answer. Now, it may be possible that there
is some other problem, such as the heat exchanger, but this guy should have
been able to point out the problem and explain why it would cause concern.
Normaly , I'd say replace the transformer, but to put you mind at ease, get
a knowledgable person to check it out. Does your gas company offer service?
I posted a few replies ago with my almost identical problem. I had a
professional come in and they located the problem. It was the pressure
switch. So basically the first blower would start...then the pilot
light would ignite...then the main gas would only come on for just a
second...followed my the main fan. The pilot light would remain on and
the furnace would act as if nothing was wrong. Once the pressure
switch was replaced..all was well
On Thu, 18 Oct 2007 18:48:29 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I had the same problem for a week now, pilot light on but no flame.
Then after some heroic fiddling around I have flame but have to turn
it off by hand, that is turn the regulator control from gas ON to
PILOT to shut off the main burners. As luck would have it the fall
weather turned really nice after an early near freeze. Therefore I
was no longer under the gun to fix it immediately. If I needed heat I
just turn it on long enough to warm up. I'm mostly at home all day
and night so there's no problem of anything (water pipes) freezing up.
I'll go straight to the things you can check out. In my case the
final problem was that the insulation for 24Vac wire leads to the
upstairs thermostat had baked hard and cracked. 25 years next to the
hot burner section of the furnace does that. It shorted taking out
the old style mercury switch thermostat. I'll have to replace that.
These are no longer available, mercury is a harzardous material under
current regulations I shall get a non programmable electronic
thermostat. I hate the programmable type as I can never remember how
to reset them for daylight saving time for example.
1. Go check all your wires and replace any that seem less than prime
condition Check that the 24Vac transormer and measure the voltages to
ensure they are all there. Measure the voltage output yourself. The
14V reported by your service guy doesn't sound right. The label on
your regulator should specify this (24Vac). If so replace with a 24
2. In case your thermostat is shot go to the furnace regulator and
disconnect one of the two thermostat wires on the regulator terminal
assigned to the thermostat. Then jumper the disconnected terminal to
the transformer (ie close the circuit without passing through the
thermostat.) If the burners fire up you have a bad thermostat.
Correction. Do this jumper test first as this is easy to do.
3. Give the gas regulator a good thump with a rubber mallet. This
may loosen a stuck valve if that is the cause of your problem. That's
what the service technician did. It didn't solve my problem but
that's something you can do yourself and check it out.
4. Call your gas company emergency service to check out your furnace.
I was so freaked out by the horror servicemen from hell stories (eg
yours) that I resisted calling one. My gas company ATCO Gas of Canada
has a wonderful 24 hour emergency service. They came for all my three
calls (long story) within 3 hours.
4:1 The first call was when I lost my hot water heater flame too after
having shut off the gas supply to work on the furnace. The darn heat
regulator switch wouldn't turn far enough for me to reset ON the
safety shut off. All it required was to pop off the swich cover and
turn the switch stem by hand. He had too many calls and wouldn't work
on my furnace. No charge.
4:2 I couldn't for the life of me budge the gas regulator with a big
wrench to unscrew and replace it. I dared not use more force as the
burner manifold was already starting to twist and I dreaded breaking
anything. So I made another service call. Voltage checks OK. Good
thump didn't loosen stuck valve. Said I would have to replace the
regulator. I was too muddled to take up his offer to do the job then
and there. (I found out in 4:3 that it would have cost me only around
$5 more than I paid for a new regulator) I told him my problem with
uninstalling the regulator. He did it for me. I'll buy the new unit
and install it myself. No charge.
4.3 Bought a new regulator $183 incl tax and installed it. No main
burner flame. Voltages checked out OK. I had already spent enough
effort and time to have lost track of my trouble shooting steps and
options. Called ATCO Emergency Service. Guy came. Spotted crappy
thermostat wires. Did the jumper thingy. Saw burn marks on
thermostat dial. Problem solved. 30 minutes. No charge.
No high pressure sales from any of the three service guys to buy
unasked for equipment.
================================================From your post there won't be much youcan do besides the electrical
checks and the big thump. At least you will be satisfied that if its
a regulator problem swapping in a new regulator is the only fix a HVAC
guy can legally do. Phone up your gas company's emergency service and
find out what services they provide. The three different guys I had
were the most pleasant and helpful guys I have come across. They
didn't bat an eye when I told him my attempts at repairs and my intent
to replace the regulator myself. This gave me confirmation that what I
did was not some dumbfool thing.
Their emergency service is to restore gas service and simple fixes for
home gas fueled equipment - furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces. If
your installation needed major work requiring a tradesman to correct
that's not his job and he'll advise you.
I went to the appliance parts store to get a replacement regulator
before attempting to do any fancier repairs. My gas regulator model
is found in http://www.amresupply.com/category_view/H/HK,21,3 model
identified as SKU V800A1161.
The parts supplier can only sell the complete factory assembled unit,
no sub assemblies. By law he cannot sell any unit that has been
disassembled and reassembled. Once installed (used) he cannot take it
back for a refund. The service technician says the same thing. He
can only check the voltages and connections or change a whole
regulator. He cannot open up the regulator to do repairs. He doesn't
even know how the parts inside work though like me he must have opened
up a scrapped one to self educate. I shall write this up in due
course on what's inside and decide for yourself if you want give parts
repairs a shot.
Actually its quite simple. On the bottom of the regulator are four
long screws. Undo them, the cover plate (has smaller parts) and the
bottom half assembly should come loose (jiggle it) to expose a
teeter-totter assembly. The rubber valve at one end of this assembly
covers a gas orifice. Mine was slightly stuck and popped open when I
took off the bottom assembly. Had I not been alert I would have
likely missed noticing the stickiness. Not that it matters since
loosening it is the idea. The other subassemblies of the regulator
are very simple, non moving and built like a tank. They won't wear
out. There's nothing to repair. Messing with them will likely
introduce problems that were not there originally. All parts are
keyed to prevent incorrect reassembly.
If you ever do major work like I shut off the main gas supply and the
electrical power to the furnace before working on it. Shutting the
gas off for an extended period causes the safety shutoff at the
regulator next to the gas meter to set. Very little gas flows into
the gasline. The dinnerplate sized gas regulator has a center stem
(like a mushroom stem) Unscrew the thimble shaped cap at the tip. It
will reveal a metal stem. Pull on it and it will feel like popping a
suction cup. This resets the safety and lets the gas flow into the
My game plan was if the estimate from a repair guy exceeded $500 I
would toss out the existing furnace and install one of those high
efficiency ones myself. Mine looks new (well maintained) but its
already 28 years old thereabouts. When the heat exchanger tubes give
out, as they must some day not too far into the future, they will no
longer be replaceable . By law the stores are not allowed to to stock
them as replacement parts or sell any. Same with that $183 regulator.
If faulty, replace only, no repairs.
Now if you HVAC guys can say this nicely, that your hands are tied by
law (be prepared to show printed copy to customer) and give a best
effort to do the simple fixes first, then perhaps you will get a much
less hostile reaction from your customers. Explain what you did in
repairs and why they didn't work. Gas fitting is not brain surgery
that only HVAC guys can understand. Explain the problem solving
procedures so that the customer knows they were something he could or
could not have done. We all want to save a few bucks and this
knowledge will satisfy the homeowner that its better to call you for
fixes he'd realise as beyond his abilities.
Then give them the "bad news" a $3000 replacement or some equally
shocking figure. Give them the name of your supplier so that they can
check on prices. And also the opportunity to select a particular
model. The customer expects to pay you something extra and reasonable
as a markup for you to order and deliver the hardware for them. And
to get rid of the old one. You charge service fees accordingly. The
dollar amount won't be pleasant. But an honest breakdown of the costs
that the customer can check on avoids a lot of unwarranted suspicions
and bad impressions.
I went to a major appliance parts supplier store and they had a number
of furnaces on display including the high efficiency ones. The panels
had been removed so it was easy for me to make a close inspection of
its assembly modules and installation requirements. To install a high
efficiency furnace is a lot easier than to service one. Specified PVC
ducting for the air intake and burner exhaust. The gas connection and
the electrical connection. That's it.
The new furnaces are shorter than the old gas furnaces. A transition
plenum will be needed to connect the shorter) new furnace to the
existing hot air plenum. My intended adaptation will be to instead
make a steel stand to raise the furnace to the existing plenum. That
way the bottom of the furnace will be off the floor and free from any
dampness or standing water. My existing furnace is resting on spare
aluminium bath door tracks and its free from rust and grime.
I chatted with the store personnel and they didn't bat an eye on my
intent to do the installation myself. In fact they gave a lot of
pointers on things I should do, such as resizing the hot water heater
exhaust vent (to a 4 inch liner) as my existing stack will be too
large. I found the same information in the installation manual. But
I still appreciated the information as it gives me the right
information to make my installation plans in the meantime.
The basic high efficiency furnace model is $1300. I can budget for
Can't you think logic? Thermostat sends heat command signal(24V AC on W
terminal) to furnace >>>> furnace gets the signal and actuate gas
valve >> valve opens >> gas flows >> pilot ignites the gas >> so on and
so on. Follow this logic flow and see where the trouble is. If it is
over your head, call the pro.
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