If you are coming here because you have this same furnace and can’t find a part for it, please leave a comment on this article with the part you are looking for, I found most of them online and can send you links to where I found them, I was looking mostly at the sensors and electronic parts and almost all of them are standard Honeywell parts.
So we got a bit of a surprise when we turned our furnace on this year, it came on a couple times, then one morning it seemed kind of cold, I checked the thermostat and it was about 64 degrees in the house and the furnace should have kicked on at 68 degrees, not good!
So I go through some basic troubleshooting, turned the furnace off and on, checked the breaker, made sure the AC could come on etc. I ended up noticing the controller for the furnace was blinking an error code, time to call the furnace repair place I guess. Of course this breaks quite the streak for us, this was the first time we have had to have a repair person to our house to fix something since we bought it 5 years ago, everything that has broken so far I have been able to fix.
So a couple days later the repair man shows up and as luck would have it, the furnace was working just fine that day, he seemed to think it was a clogged up filter causing it, I shrugged my shoulders and said I would replace it. Two days later, furnace stops working again, called the repair place out and luckily this time it wasn’t working when they got here, I wasn’t at the house so I don’t know what they did, but it was working when they left. They told Meagan that if it still wasn’t working we would probably have to replace the controller.
So guess what, couple more days and it stops working yet again, gah! I call the repair place one more time and they tell me they will research the prices and call back that afternoon. In the mean time I had been looking on the internet to try and figure some of it out myself, I didn’t want to mess with it too much because I have no experience with gas products and didn’t want to blow the house up or something. In my research I came to find out the company that made my furnace has been out of business for several years and that nobody carries parts anymore for this furnace.
A couple days later the repair place calls me to tell me none of their suppliers have even heard of this name brand and that they probably can’t get parts for it, they ask me if I can find out who installed the furnace so that they can try a different way of tracking it down, of course I have no idea who installed it and no way of finding out. So now I am at a bit of an impasse, as per the repair place it is looking more and more like I am going to have to get a brand new furnace because of a $200 part they can’t find.
Anyone that knows me very well will know what came next, the furnace is essentially done for, nothing for me to break at the point, so I started tearing it apart and researching everything I could find, in about a half an hour I found our that #1 all the controls on my furnace are made by a company by the name of honeywell and they are still in business (and a pretty standard brand) and #2 this particular part (the controller) was used in another brand of furnace that they still make, so I could get the part.
A few minutes more of research and I found one used on eBay, I was able to buy it for $35. A few days later the new part came in and it took me about 45 minutes to switch them out, I flicked the switch and the furnace roared to life! I was excited, I didn’t have to pay any more money to the repair place, and I wouldn’t have to “somehow” come up with $2,000 or more to replace a mostly working furnace.
Of course, as is probably becoming apparent by now, it wasn’t actually fixed yet, worked for a couple days, then the same error code blinking again. I was annoyed, but I had spent enough time researching that I was pretty confident that I could fix it, I had cross referenced and been able to find almost every control part on the furnace, so it was just down to determining which part was bad.
I took a ton of high resolution pictures to send to my good friend Paul (He works in maintenance for a local grocery chain in PA and NY) and I would trust his opinion way more than the “trained” guys they sent out. He told me how to check the different sensors, I checked them once while the furnace was working then I just had to wait till it stopped working test again and compare the results.
While going through the pictures again I found that one of the air lines to test air pressure was half full of water, I drained that, turned the furnace back on and it worked, twice when the furnace wasn’t working I found that that line was full of water and draining it would immediately “fix” the furnace.
Great we know the cause, now to find the solution, there had to be a reason for the water to back up into there. So this last weekend Paul was out for a visit and we spent some time looking at it and found the drain lines were totally and completely plugged up, he could barely blow through them! I spent some time with a dowel and hot water getting everything cleaned out, and that seems to have fixed it.
There is a real takeaway from this story, had I just blindly followed what the “experts” that came out to my house had told me, I would currently be at least $2,000 further in debt. However, instead I took the time to try and work out the issue and in the end I spent about $125 to fix it (Of course looking back I could have fixed it with a 50 cent dowel!). I know I am most likely better than average at troubleshooting than the average Joe, but for two thousand dollars, I think most people should be willing to spend some time trying to work out the problem.
The writer of one of the financial blogs I read every day (Get Rich Slowly) has a quote that is so true “Nobody cares more about your money than you do”. I for one am glad to have my furnace working now, and if it breaks again, you can bet I will take a stab at troubleshooting it before calling in another “expert”.