I have a Lennox Elite furnace and air conditioner that were installed in 2012 by a separate contractor. I had Doctor HVAC come out Tuesday to do the seasonal furnace maintenance, which is included in their service club that I have been a member for many years. I have already had the furnace running myself for the past few weeks since the temperature dropped and the system was operating normally to me (Ive lived in this house for 9 years). My wife called me after the tech arrived to do the service and said that he was reporting signs of wear with the heat exchanger and the blower motor/wheel. The quote for the heat exchanger was $2,756 + tax and the blower motor/wheel was $985 + tax, so combined the repairs would be over $4,200. We were told it would be best to look at replacing the furnace and potentially adding a heat pump as well since the air conditioner is the same age. We said to give an estimate and a sales lady was at the house in about an hour, she was very friendly and helpful. Basically a top of the line heat pump and furnace combo was over $22,000 and theres a rebate over $6,500 we could get back. They offered lower models with less warranties for lower prices with the cheapest being around $15,000. There was a big push to get this done ASAP as were told the government rebate was ending next month. I said we would have to discuss it and let them know as we obviously were not expecting this news, like I said earlier everything was functioning as I have been accustomed to since Ive been in this house. I went on Homestars and looked up a highly reputable HVAC contractor that dealt with Lennox Elite and he came out to look at the unit that night. He found a number of issues with the condition the furnace was left in.
- There was no vent pipe in the trap as per code, he showed me in the manual on pg 38. See picture
- The electrical door was missing the screw on the right hand side where the door switch needs to be fully depressed with the screwwe found it on the floor next to the furnace
- He found DIP switch 1 was in the off (down) position so the furnace was expecting a 2 stage thermostat, I have an ecobee 3 lite. DIP switch 1 needed to be turned on to operate as a single stage thermostat 2 stage timed
- Inside the lower compartment was completely covered in spiderwebs, no way it was cleaned or inspected
- Heat exchanger not properly inspected, as there were no access plates in below the evaporator coil
- In the technicians report there were no readings for carbon monoxide on the exhaust pipe outside
The professional technician said that because the DIP switch has been in the incorrect position and my furnace has been running at 40,000 BTUs instead of 68,000 BTUs which is designed to max out. As soon as he flipped that switch it was like night and day. The airflow was much stronger and there was a high level of heat coming from even the furthest vents on the second floor. We have had such a hard time getting proper air flow throughout the home, its a backsplit approximately 1,800 sq. ft. A few years ago we added attic insulation, spray insulation in the crawl space and did the air seal application to the duct work which made small benefits, but the result of all those combined didnt equal the result of flipping that one switch.
He also looked up the model and serial number of the furnace and told me there is a lifetime parts warranty from Lennox on the heat exchanger, so it would cost nowhere near the $2,756 + tax I was quoted, as I would only have to pay the labour.
Despite Doctor HVAC not installing thjs unit, they have been the ones servicing and maintaining it for years and should have caught the issues above that were missed by the installer. This experience has had me question if any of the repairs Doctor HVAC has previously done to my air conditioner (replacing the capacitor and adding a hard start kit) were even necessary. Hiring a professional gas technician that works with Lennox elite products showed that the tech from Doctor HVAC didnt even do the basics of watching the operation of the unit or he wouldve noticed the furnace only stayed on low fire and not going to high fire Please make sure to get multiple opinions before making any decisions on replacing your equipment, Im glad we did.