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Old 11-10-2009, 12:45 PM  
scotts
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Default Heat Exchanger Failure Question

My 11 year old Trane XE90 needs a new heat exchanger. I was relieved to hear that the part is covered under a lifetime warranty, but shocked when my HVAC guy told me that the labor to install it would cost nearly as much replacing my old XE90 unit with a new one.

I can't believe that after only 11 years of moderate mid-Atlantic use that I now have to replace the entire unit. My HVAC guy said he has never heard of a heat exchanger failing so soon, but thought that may be my propane had a high moisture content or possibly other chemicals that corroded it prematurely.

Should it cost $2,000. in labor to replace a heat exchanger?

Any input would be most appreciated.

Thanks, Scott



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Old 11-15-2009, 09:52 AM  
kok328
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$2K sounds a bit out of line with the scope of work.
Call around for a few more quotes or do the work yourself.
It a simple matter of removing the old and reversing procedure on the new, assuming you can acquire the new exchanger on your own.



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Old 11-16-2009, 01:47 PM  
scotts
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Thanks for your reply.

I called another HVAC contractor and they concurred that it was not worth replacing the heat exchangers. They said they would do it for about $1,500. which was better than my first quote of $2,000., but considering I can get a tax credit of $1,000. on a new system it made more sense to install a new unit. Also, the new unit (Trane XR95) is 5% more efficient than my old unit, so I figure I'll save about $125. per year in propane or about $1,250. over 10 years.

I considered replacing the heat exchangers myself, but having no experience with this type of repair I decided not to risk it. After my old unit was removed I examined the damaged heat exchangers and it really did not look like a very complicated repair. It might have taken me all weekend, but I definitely could have done it.

I was surprised to see that there were only two small holes ranging in size from 1/16" to 1/8" in diameter in each of the three exchangers. Oddly each exchanger had only a single hole in the center of each side wall.

Finally, I was told the installation of my new unit would take about 4 hours, so I was naturally expecting it to probably take 6 hours. However, I was amazed when it took less than 2 hours to remove the old unit and completely install the new unit! Seeing how quickly they replaced my old unit I still could not understand why replacing the heat exchangers was so time consuming.

Anyway, I hope my experience helps someone else in their decision making.

- Scott.

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Old 11-16-2009, 02:31 PM  
travelover
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As you are finding out, HeVac is kind of a gotcha. Sales of parts and repair information is restricted to DIYers. The official reason is for safety, but of course I'm sure it doesn't hurt the old bottom line, either. You'd think that installing a furnace was brain surgery, but it is actually pretty simple. After I had a new one installed in March, I had to fix a bunch of stuff that the installers had screwed up - nothing dangerous, but irritating stuff like the humidifier was wired to run constantly instead of with the fan on only, wall pass through for PVC vents not sealed properly, drain pipes had no slope, cap on chimney liner blew off, etc.

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Old 11-16-2009, 04:12 PM  
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The most important thing is to have a good installer!!!

I am a home inspector, but have not seen too many furnaces where you can get a real good look at all of the exchangers even with the mirrors. I spotted some signs of surface cracks in the 23 year old 60% efficient furnace, so I called a reputable firm to look at it since I know how sudden exchanger can fail a kill people in an hour or slow. My CO meter did not show any traces.

When the tech got there , it took him longer to unload his scopes and mirrors than it took him to red tag it. I thought I spotted the problem and he confirmed it without me telling him I had already looked at it.

I went with a 80% Bryant with a variable speed fan because our heating history usage was low (even in MN for a 1500 sf 2 level townhouse) and problems of putting in the venting for a 90+ unit were difficult and very costly.

The removal and installation was 2 hours. It took another 2 hours to get the final electrical and piping inspection out there. They also cleaned the exterior AC compressor, cleaned the A coil and pan and but in a decent drain for the AC condensate. Everything is square, level and plumb, supported and screwed in place with no rattles or vibrations - very neat.

I am glad I had it done right rather do it myself and with relatives over a one or two week period for less with none of the extras being done voluntarily and I got the right unit. I had other 2 quotes that were similar in price. There were no energy saving freebies, but I did get 18 months with no interest.

It turned out that my heating costs obviously went down and AC cost also went down and my over-all comfort and noise level was much better because of the variable speed fan (an expensive option, but worth it until I have to replace it.).

I would do it again.

Dick

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Old 11-23-2009, 03:06 PM  
Furnacexr95
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Default Trane XR 95 How did it cost to install the Trane XR95?, mine (100,000 BTU) was me $3

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Originally Posted by scotts View Post
Thanks for your reply.
How much did it cost to install the Trane XR95?, mine (100,000 BTU) was $3850 to replace XC90 with the XR 95 (4 hours of labor), I think I was overcharged

I called another HVAC contractor and they concurred that it was not worth replacing the heat exchangers. They said they would do it for about $1,500. which was better than my first quote of $2,000., but considering I can get a tax credit of $1,000. on a new system it made more sense to install a new unit. Also, the new unit (Trane XR95) is 5% more efficient than my old unit, so I figure I'll save about $125. per year in propane or about $1,250. over 10 years.

I considered replacing the heat exchangers myself, but having no experience with this type of repair I decided not to risk it. After my old unit was removed I examined the damaged heat exchangers and it really did not look like a very complicated repair. It might have taken me all weekend, but I definitely could have done it.

I was surprised to see that there were only two small holes ranging in size from 1/16" to 1/8" in diameter in each of the three exchangers. Oddly each exchanger had only a single hole in the center of each side wall.

Finally, I was told the installation of my new unit would take about 4 hours, so I was naturally expecting it to probably take 6 hours. However, I was amazed when it took less than 2 hours to remove the old unit and completely install the new unit! Seeing how quickly they replaced my old unit I still could not understand why replacing the heat exchangers was so time consuming.

Anyway, I hope my experience helps someone else in their decision making.

- Scott.
How much did it cost to install the Trane XR95?, mine (100,000 BTU) was $3850 to replace XC90 with the XR 95 (4 hours of labor), I think I was overcharged
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:24 PM  
Furnacexr95
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Default XR95 Cost

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Originally Posted by Furnacexr95 View Post
How much did it cost to install the Trane XR95?, mine (100,000 BTU) was $3850 to replace XC90 with the XR 95 (4 hours of labor), I think I was overcharged

Can someone please help: How much doest it cost to replace a Trane XE90 with a Trane XR95, 100,000 BTU same physical size and hook ups?
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Old 12-04-2010, 12:14 PM  
jags4don
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Default XR95 Cost

I live in CA but was just quoted for a natural gas xr95 and new coils for my a/c system was $4300.00 and minus the $1300 tax credit would cost me $3000.00 when done. The price for the a/c unit I believe was around $800.00 so your price of $3800.00 seems in the ball park.

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Old 12-04-2010, 05:09 PM  
paul52446m
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I sure would be nice if you people were in my area. I would be be glad to put your heat exchanger in for $300.00 Most of the heat exchangers only take a few hr.. I priced out two
95% furnace replacements 70,000 BTU today and they both came out to about $2,400.00. Later Paul

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Old 12-09-2010, 08:21 AM  
scotts
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Default XR95 Price

Paul - Does your price of $2,400. include the tax credit? If it doesn't then that's a great price!

Last year I paid $2,850. (before a tax credit of $850.) to replace my old XE90 with a new XR95. I also negotiated an amendment to the 10 year warranty to include the labor to replace any warrantied parts including the Heat Exchangers.

- Scott.



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