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?
Actually weather it be welded, glued, whatever.....what you have done is
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
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?
There is a procedure on that Troy, but generally done as an absolute
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
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.
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
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.
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
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#
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
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