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Building materials in air ducts disables furnace

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by kholbert, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. kholbert

    kholbert Member

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    After replacing the filters last Sunday, we noticed a burning smell came from our bedroom vents. Upon inspection, I noted that the attic furnace blower fan was not turning even though electricity was reaching the furnace. At my request, Van Metre's HVAC installer, W&E, fixed my attic furnace today. Inside the blower fan they removed 5-6 pieces of dried drywall tape.[:0]

    The longest piece was about 7 inches long. Once these building materials were removed, the furnace operated properly. W & E said that the increased air flow allowed by the new filters disloged the drywall tape which in turn jammed the furnace blower fan. Without airflow, the furnace overheated and turned itself off. Thats what caused the burning smell. If not for the furnaces automatic shutoff, I could have had a attic fire and lost the house. :(

    Warning to all Van Metre homeowners with furnaces that have air filters located at the return vents instead of at the furnace blower fan. Sloppy VM contractors may have left construction materials INSIDE of your upper zone return vents. Upper zone furnaces typically do NOT have a filter between the vent and blower fan. Have a HVAC professional inspect ALL of your vents for potential obstructions. Despite having multiple home inspections before and after settlement, the obstructions in my vent were not found.


    Below is a partial e-mail transcript with VM customer care:

    Van Metre Customer Care,

    Yesterday, 1/26/04, I call VM Customer Care and reported that my attic furnace was not working. I was told by the VM Customer Care representative that a work order would be placed with W&E whom I understand is the HVAC contractor who installed my furnace. It has been nearly a day since I called VM Customer Service and I have not heard from AME. Since Sunday, my family has had no heat in our bedrooms.

    I have inspected my failed furnace and noted that power is getting to the furnace but the fan is not turning. No fuses have been blown or tripped. When the furnace failed on Sunday, we smelled a electrical burning smell from our bedroom vents.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Ken Holbert []
    Sent: Tue 1/27/2004 12:28 PM
    To: Carolyn McLaughlin
    Cc: Angela Holbert
    Subject: RE: Failed attic furnace @ 21831 Inglewood Ct "Executives"


    Ms. McLauglin,

    Thank you for your prompt reply and diligence in your attempts to contact W&E. I will contact the Goodman service contractor and cancel my appointment for tomorrow. Considering that the temperature outside has been below freezing since Sunday, I would consider repairing our furnace an emergency. The basement furnace does not adequately heat the bedrooms upstairs.


    Kenneth F. Holbert, Jr
    Ashburn, VA

    Subject: RE: Failed attic furnace @ 21831 Inglewood Ct "Executives"
    Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 12:56:25 -0500
    From: "Carolyn McLaughlin" <CMcLaughlin@vanmetrehomes.com>
    To: "Ken Holbert"

    You are welcome. I understand your point about the heating issue, but they only consider total loss of heat to be an emergency. Policy is that if there is no heat in a home then it is an emergency, but if it is only partial loss of heat, they will get to you as soon as possible. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you.
  2. kholbert

    kholbert Member

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    I know there will be some of you who do not wish to have negative Van Metre experiences posted because they may adversely effect home values. I consider that before creating this topic. I feel that a improperly installed HVAC system has the potential of being a serious health and property hazard. As such, I felt it was my civic duty to warn my fellow VM homeowners.
  3. hberg

    hberg give me some of your tots

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    Anyone recommend someone they have used for HVAC maintenance? I think after reading Ken's post, that I will have mine serviced before this first year ends.
  4. Wick

    Wick New Member

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    kholbert

    We recently had the exact same issue. One morning I woke up to a freezing cold bedroom. I checked the thermostat, and the air temperature was below 60. The upstairs unit had stopped working overnight. It was very cold upstairs since I normally reduce the temperature on the downstairs furnace at night. I climbed up into the freezing cold attic and tried to reignite the pilot light. However, I was unable to.

    I immediately called the VM customer care emergency number. Before lunchtime that same day, the contractor was at our house and found the problem -- a piece of shingle inside the vent or another part of the furnace had caused it to shut off. I didn't get the full explanation since I wasn't at home when they were there.

    We were told by VM that same morning that the situation was not an "emergency" worthy of the after hours customer care phone number. However, they still responded quickly.

    I haven't considered the risk of a potential fire, but I suppose that you are right. I will customer care -- they should be responsible for inspecting the furnace. We should not have to hire a HVAC contractor.

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