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FHA Furnace

  1. #1
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    FHA Furnace

    Okay, let's try to keep this simple and on topic...

    Propane FHA furnace - the warning light on the control panel indicated the pressure switch was stuck open. No biggie, cheap DIY replacement. Swapped out the pressure switch & it ran fine for a day or two. Then it just started blowing cold air and gave me the same 3-flashes warning light, which would again indicate the pressure switch is stuck open...

    -Jumping the pressure switch only works occasionally and without pattern. We obviously don't want to run it that way, I was just checking...

    -Chimney & vents are clear...

    -Would it be logical to look at the induction/inducer fan as a culprit? I noticed a bit of corrosion built up along the bottom seam of the fan, almost like some moisture has been VERY slowly escaping. It SOUNDS like the fan is running as it always has. Just wondering if it's possible that some corrosion build up inside may be effecting it's ability to close the switch...

    -The furnace is roughly 20 years old, labelled "super high-efficiency" (at least for it's day). The only things other than the filter that's been replaced is the pressure switch which I did recently and the control board about 10 or so years ago...

    -The problem has been happening intermittently for almost a year now. Simply "resetting" the furnace used to work, but that has run it's course...

    -We have ZERO desire to replace the unit as it's mainly secondary heat. Circumstances this year will have us relying more on this than in past years, and would just be happy to have it run reliably...

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  2. #2
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Can't help with the heater situation but if you are in need of wooden heat, I'd be happy to send some over.

    My apologies for immediately going OT.

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  3. #3
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    Okay, let's try to keep this simple and on topic...

    Propane FHA furnace - the warning light on the control panel indicated the pressure switch was stuck open. No biggie, cheap DIY replacement. Swapped out the pressure switch & it ran fine for a day or two. Then it just started blowing cold air and gave me the same 3-flashes warning light, which would again indicate the pressure switch is stuck open...

    -Jumping the pressure switch only works occasionally and without pattern. We obviously don't want to run it that way, I was just checking...

    -Chimney & vents are clear...

    -Would it be logical to look at the induction/inducer fan as a culprit? I noticed a bit of corrosion built up along the bottom seam of the fan, almost like some moisture has been VERY slowly escaping. It SOUNDS like the fan is running as it always has. Just wondering if it's possible that some corrosion build up inside may be effecting it's ability to close the switch...

    -The furnace is roughly 20 years old, labelled "super high-efficiency" (at least for it's day). The only things other than the filter that's been replaced is the pressure switch which I did recently and the control board about 10 or so years ago...

    -The problem has been happening intermittently for almost a year now. Simply "resetting" the furnace used to work, but that has run it's course...

    -We have ZERO desire to replace the unit as it's mainly secondary heat. Circumstances this year will have us relying more on this than in past years, and would just be happy to have it run reliably...
    I'm not a furnace guy but I am a controls guy so I had a look at troubleshooting the pressure circuit on a gas furnace. I actually stumbled across a nice write up on the subject you might find helpful.
    How to Fix a Stuck Gas Furnace Pressure Switch | DoItYourself.com

    Not to be the LMGTFY dude, but there's some pretty good info in there; for instance checking the pressure switch plumbing. If you can eliminate the pressure switch as the problem I would move on to your inducer fan. Even if it is running it may not be causing enough of a pressure differential to actuate the pressure switch. Eliminate that and you'll be replacing the main board.

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  4. #4
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by butcher bergs View Post
    Can't help with the heater situation but if you are in need of wooden heat, I'd be happy to send some over.

    My apologies for immediately going OT.
    Thanks Paul!

    We're all set with firewood. As you know, the furnace is our secondary heat source. But this is the time of year we prefer to run it instead of the wood because propane is cheaper this time of year and it won't have to work hard. That, and our situation has changed a bit and we'll need to rely on the furnace a bit more during the week...

    Thanks again!

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  5. #5
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    I'm not a furnace guy but I am a controls guy so I had a look at troubleshooting the pressure circuit on a gas furnace. I actually stumbled across a nice write up on the subject you might find helpful.
    How to Fix a Stuck Gas Furnace Pressure Switch | DoItYourself.com

    Not to be the LMGTFY dude, but there's some pretty good info in there; for instance checking the pressure switch plumbing. If you can eliminate the pressure switch as the problem I would move on to your inducer fan. Even if it is running it may not be causing enough of a pressure differential to actuate the pressure switch. Eliminate that and you'll be replacing the main board.
    Yeah, I've seen all those. The pressure switch is new, as I said. I've made sure all the venting, tubes, etc., were clear and attached properly. And jumping the pressure switch doesn't really work either, so all signs point to the inducer...

    I've been searching the interwebs about it, just want actual human verification. Also been watching 'the tube' to see how easy replacement is...

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  6. #6
    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    Okay, let's try to keep this simple and on topic...

    Propane FHA furnace - the warning light on the control panel indicated the pressure switch was stuck open. No biggie, cheap DIY replacement. Swapped out the pressure switch & it ran fine for a day or two. Then it just started blowing cold air and gave me the same 3-flashes warning light, which would again indicate the pressure switch is stuck open...

    -Jumping the pressure switch only works occasionally and without pattern. We obviously don't want to run it that way, I was just checking...

    -Chimney & vents are clear...

    -Would it be logical to look at the induction/inducer fan as a culprit? I noticed a bit of corrosion built up along the bottom seam of the fan, almost like some moisture has been VERY slowly escaping. It SOUNDS like the fan is running as it always has. Just wondering if it's possible that some corrosion build up inside may be effecting it's ability to close the switch...

    -The furnace is roughly 20 years old, labelled "super high-efficiency" (at least for it's day). The only things other than the filter that's been replaced is the pressure switch which I did recently and the control board about 10 or so years ago...

    -The problem has been happening intermittently for almost a year now. Simply "resetting" the furnace used to work, but that has run it's course...

    -We have ZERO desire to replace the unit as it's mainly secondary heat. Circumstances this year will have us relying more on this than in past years, and would just be happy to have it run reliably...
    Pressure switches are really simple, I suspect you are not getting enough vacuum to it. You mentioned corrosion, you might have an air leak that prevents adequate vacuum from building. The switch should have the vacuum rating written on it and you can buy a cheap manometer to see if the vacuum that's present is more than the rating on the switch. I found one one ebay for 15 bucks: U-Tube Manometer Gauge - Radon System Vacuum Monitor - DynaMeter UTube VM2 gage | eBay Assuming the vacuum is too low, you'll need to look for leaks, blockages, or anything else that would make the inducer fan inefficient. If the vacuum is good, the switch is bad...

    I do find it odd that jumping the switch does not make the furnace run, that implies that maybe the air:fuel ratio is off, which would point away from a bad switch. I struggled with a Rinnai heater for years until I learned how to tweak the ari:fuel ration a little and it's been flawless since. It was too lean from the factory.

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  7. #7
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Again peeps, I replaced the switch. I spent the extra little coin and got an exact replacement for my brand & model so we wouldn't have to dial in the range. Let's forget the pressure switch, we pretty much know it isn't that...

    Thanks, but we've already covered that...

    I should probably delete this thread at this point. Everything I've read & have been told to this point verify that it is most likely the inducer...

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  8. #8
    IWOK - Vice President LuvDog's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    I had a similar issue and I ended up replacing the inducer fan and it fixed my issues


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    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    Again peeps, I replaced the switch. I spent the extra little coin and got an exact replacement for my brand & model so we wouldn't have to dial in the range. Let's forget the pressure switch, we pretty much know it isn't that...

    Thanks, but we've already covered that...

    I should probably delete this thread at this point. Everything I've read & have been told to this point verify that it is most likely the inducer...
    Is this aimed at me?

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  10. #10
    Senior Member myzx6's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Not a furnace guy so I am probably of no help but if you jump the circuit and are sure that you have a good connection at your jumper and it still isn't consistently running, that should rule out the switch and inducer fan and point to either a bad(corroded) wire or bad circuit board. Jumping the switch should make the unit believe the fan is doing its job and let the system run. If you have a multimeter, disconnect both ends and check the resistance of the wires from the switch to the im assuming circuit board.

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  11. #11
    364 Beers Shy of a Liter Trajiks9's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Make and model of the furnace?

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  12. #12
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Confirmed it's the inducer fan. Part has been ordered, should be in tomorrow. We'll let you know how it pans out...

    Thanks for the input!

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  13. #13
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    BTW - This was supposed to be fixed in March by a family member who owed us a BIG favor by his account, not ours - we don't float that way. None the less, we won't be bailing him out next time his work van is stuck in a snowbank on a non-maintained road four miles into the woods TWICE in the same night. Long story...

    Otherwise, we would have had someone come in and take care of this proper from the get go. Live & learn...

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  14. #14
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Oh my fuck! It was a comedy of horrors with this fuckin' thing. The unit called to replace 'this', it works for a short while. Then it calls to replace 'this', it worked for a short while. Nobody could figure out what the hell was going on and we were THIS close to just saying 'fuggit' and replacing the whole damned thing. Luckily we have family in the parts/supply end of things and were only into it for a few hundred dollars at that point...

    We went up until last week with a furnace that rarely ran. I've always praised our Liberty Lopi woodstove and it's ability to comfortably heat our +/-2500 sq. ft. house that once was a camp. Yeah, not so much these past 3-4 weeks. I was literally having to get up every two hours to feed the woodstove just to keep the coldest parts of the house (the parts we spend the most time in of course!) around 60. Not fun when you're battling bronchitis and your 11-year old is running a 104 temp from his fever associated with his recently diagnosed Lyme Disease. We had neighbors stopping by every two hours during the days I could make it to work to keep things from freezing too. Thanks goodness for them. If we're lucky, we're now down to about our last cord and a half. It was that fuckin' cold...

    We were getting ready to get things started on a replacement when one of the potential "changers" said he could get a control panel for it for $100 and suggested we try that last thing before dumping the coin on a new unit. And wouldn't you fuckin' know it? I had it swapped out in less than 20 minutes Wednesday night and that fucker's been running without a hiccup since. Faaaahhhhkkkkk...We haven't touched that fuckin' woodstove in a week!

    Now before you ask: yes, after the machine's error codes called to replace each part, we got TWO separate opinions from HVAC peeps. Each one verified each part needed replacing after checking and running the proper tests associated with each part. These are people we trust, people that didn't charge us for any of that, and people we don't hold responsible for any of this...

    So go fuckin' figure...

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    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    .... Eliminate that and you'll be replacing the main board.
    Damn I'm good

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  16. #16
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    Damn I'm good

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  17. #17
    Member Chuck's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Hi Jay,
    We had the 3 blink issue with our 20 year old furnace, a York Diamond 90; it was diagnosed as a faulty inducer. The inducer supplies suction to close the pressure switch. Cost to repair: a few hundred dollars. The problem can occur intermittently and resetting the furnace seemed to work. Rather than continuing to have the issue, we replaced the furnace with a Carrier Infinity 98 59MN7. There are a number of rebates available (MassSave) and your gas provider and NH's energy efficiency counterpart to MassSave will offer you thousands of dollars in rebates if you upgrade the furnace and replace it with a more efficient unit. In the meantime, I'd recommend drinking tequila...as I recall, we did a few shots years ago at your home in NH. Best of luck.

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  18. #18
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    Hi Jay,
    We had the 3 blink issue with our 20 year old furnace, a York Diamond 90; it was diagnosed as a faulty inducer. The inducer supplies suction to close the pressure switch. Cost to repair: a few hundred dollars. The problem can occur intermittently and resetting the furnace seemed to work. Rather than continuing to have the issue, we replaced the furnace with a Carrier Infinity 98 59MN7. There are a number of rebates available (MassSave) and your gas provider and NH's energy efficiency counterpart to MassSave will offer you thousands of dollars in rebates if you upgrade the furnace and replace it with a more efficient unit. In the meantime, I'd recommend drinking tequila...as I recall, we did a few shots years ago at your home in NH. Best of luck.
    Or as I said, we just replaced the $100 control panel as well and it's been running since. And tequila...

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  19. #19
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    I just ordered cast iron replacement grates for my wood furnace, been looking for em for some time with no success, found em in a place out in Montana, makes no sense that I can't get them thru the manufacturer.

    They even have shaker grates & automatic draft controls that were optional on my FHA furnace

    Past 3-4 years I've been getting by with cut up leaf springs

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    Last edited by RandyO; 01-10-18 at 03:09 PM.
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  20. #20
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    I just ordered cast iron replacement grates for my wood furnace, been looking for em for some time with no success, found em in a place out in Montana, makes no sense that I can't get them thru the manufacturer.

    They even have shaker grates & automatic draft controls that were optional on my FHA furnace

    Past 3-4 years I've been getting by with cut up leaf springs
    I know someone that ran into that very predicament not long ago, but he couldn't find replacement grates anywhere for less than $400/each (he needs two). He ended up having a local welder make him a couple sets for less than $100.

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  21. #21
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    I need 2 as well, $55 each

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  22. #22
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    Re: FHA Furnace

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    Hi Jay,
    We had the 3 blink issue I'd recommend drinking tequila...as I recall, we did a few shots years ago at your home in NH. Best of luck.
    CHUCK!

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