Inspected a 28 year old functioning Day & Night gas furnace yestday. Gave good heat (~55 degrees between return and supply vents).
Turned it off and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Put Thermostat in Cooling Mode to make sure outdoor unit responded to Thermostat…was only going to let it run for a couple of seconds since it was very cold yesterday.
There was no response from the outdoor unit but the fan inside the furnace kicked on almost immediately.
Turned thermostat to ‘off’ after about 20 seconds but the fan kept going. It wouldn’t shut off unless the serviceman’s switch is toggled off.
Now whenever the serviceman’s switch is turned on the fan comes on immediately and there is no electric ignition to the furnace pilot light…so there is now no heat.
I’ve checked the contacts in the thermostat and that seems okay.
The thermostat was NOT set to ‘Fan’ it was set to ‘Auto’ all the time
There were no other ‘fan’ switches that I could find.
The front cover of the furnace was installed correctly and the safety switch functions as intended. When the cover is off and the safety switch is depressed then the fan comes on…when the switch is not depressed the fan turns off.
Bottom line: Fan runs continuously and there is now no electricity to spark the pilot.
I will assume this is the one you called me about today…sorry my HVAC Tech Support knowledge is nothing like my electrical knowledge…
I usually do not test the AC portion when the temps are below 65 Degrees
I will assume the only circuit going to this is for the ignitor and fan blower…because I was going to say check the breaker panel…just in case but since it is gas probably only have feed to fan and ignitor…
I would suggest you call a local service tech…not to come out but to ASK them what they think it might be…you would be surprised at how they would be willing to help…I get electrical question calls all through the day…even when I am Knee Deep in VOLTAGE…so you may want to ask them…but to me it sounds like it is stuck in a mode…
I also don’t test the cooling functionality when it is under 60 degrees…I usually just check to make sure the outdoor unit responds to the thermostat. As soon as the fan comes on I turn it off within a few seconds.
The owner already has a technician coming out since there are a lot of issues (including a disconnected exhaust flue) with this and the other heating/cooling system upstairs.
Excellent…what always tends to happen ( or it seems that way anyway ) is you have a unit with an issue…no one messes with it and it works…then you move something or check something and it stops working correctly…NOT because you did it…but because no one messed with the TIME BOMB waiting to happen.
Chances are it is a bad switch or relay and it was just waiting to happen and you just happen to be at the wrong place at the right time…I dont think it is ANYTHING you did my friend…and they know the freakin units should be serviced on a yearly basis anyway and always refer to it being checked and cleaned or serviced on a yearly basis in your report to always save you of any issues.
Remember a home inspection is just a snap shot in time…just happen to be THIS units time…I would say since it is getting colder…you JUST may have saved their pipes from freezing IF it broke down after the sale.
Then again…you are in CA…not sure HOW cold it gets their…where I am from…it is 22 degress right now.
You’re exactly right Paul… It was a time bomb…actually faulty wiring…
**I just got a call from the owner. ** The HVAC technician says that there were two bare wires that contacted on the outside of the cabinet and shorted out some board inside the unit. Easy fix but he will have to come back with the part.
I referred to the bad wiring job on the exterior of the cabinet in my report, so I feel somewhat vindicated…even though I’m the one that probably moved the wire causing the contact to be made (like you said).
The inside of the compresser has valves and piston rings just like a car but much smaller and very fragile. at cold out door temp the freon turns to a liquid. when the piston tries to compress liquid it bends the valves or destroys the rings.