Waterfurnace Coil Failures

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by fletchjhome, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. fletchjhome

    fletchjhome New Member

    I learned today that I have coil failures in my two Waterfurnace systems that are less than two years old. The repair person indicated that Waterfurnace will not cover the complete cost of replacement for the coils even though this obviously is a quality issue on the units. I have a neighbor with two units about the same age, and his units have failing coils as well.

    At this point, I could not recommend a Waterfurnace unit to anyone looking for Geo. Having a failure on a unit this new is totally unacceptable, and when the manufacturer will not complete the repair with minimal to no cost to me, given the cost and age of the unit, I would recommend for others to look for alternative providers.

    Are others seeing early coil failures?
  2. Bergy

    Bergy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The manufacturer is not costing you anything, your service contractor is. Water Furnace offers set "rates" for labor. Your contractor has the choice of accepting the rate or passing the added cost onto you. We, as a contractor, know the rates up-front and accept them as a part of doing business with Water Furnace so we do not pass the added charges to our customers. I will be replacing the air coil, txv and filter drier on an eight year old EO60 tomorrow.

    Your coil failure is, more than likely, the result of formicary corrosion. Cleaning solvents, candles, cooking and many other things can mix with condensate on the coil, causing an acidic solution to corrode your coil. Google that term and learn about what you can do to help prevent it from happening again.

  3. fletchjhome

    fletchjhome New Member

    Bergy, thanks for your reply -- there are two aspects that I have to disagree with. The first is the reimbursement that Waterfurnace is providing -- I was told Waterfurnace would provide approximately $600 for two units ($300 each)-- the freon that was lost when the coils failed is about 13 pounds of freon -- at $75 a pound (supposedly a good price) that already exceeds Waterfurnace's allowance for my repair. I could see an allowance for contractor time, and payment for freon -- but that is not what Waterfurnace is proposing. If the units were ten years old I could see a minimal reimbursement, but these units aren't even two years old. Does anyone know a Waterfurnace contractor in Raleigh NC that will do this work for what WF is offering?

    With regards to the coil, my "el cheapo" furnaces lasted 15 years without a coil failure. Why did my "expensive" Waterfurnace fail after two years when nothing has changed in my household with regards to cleaning, candles, etc? I don't buy that anything I do within normal living conditions should cause a failure at two years of age.

    Are others seeing early failures of their Waterfurnace coils? Is this happening across all brands or is Waterfurnace seeing a higher rate of failure and if so why?
    Mike likes this.
  4. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I'm with Bergy on this in every way.
    First your contractor could man up and take the offered allowances. So this will cost you money and cost Waterfurnace money yet somebody profits. Isn't that the guy you shouldn't recommend?
    Our customers do not pay for any of the exclusions that are documented on warranties (i.e. additional labor, refrigerant etc.). We pick up the tab for whatever the manufacturer doesn't.
    Every manufacturer has experienced trouble with formicary corrosion. Most of the major manufacturers offer similar repair allowances......

    So I don't happen to be a Waterfurnace dealer, but there is nothing wrong with their product. Your contractor is simply choosing to profit from your misfortune
  5. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I presume two year old systems use R410a, not R22. $75 per pound for R410a is simply unconscionable. In my neck of the woods, $75 gets a whole 25 LB tank from local supply houses. That's no big secret - Similar prices are apparent online.

    My own practice is to accept manufacturer allowances if the client is mine and / or the installation location is benign. Of course, to be a client of mine one has to agree to a benign installation location...we don't install what / where we can't properly service.

    Client attitude figures prominently as well...what goes around, comes around.
  6. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Waterfurnace covers warranty with 10 year parts and 10 years labor allowance. While the allowance is usually less then the hours we spend on repairing the unit, we don't charge the customer the difference if we installed the system. It is part of us servicing our customers. Plus Waterfurnace pays for the refrigerant.

    While we are a Waterfurnace geo pro dealer, we also sell other premium brands like Hydron, Climatemaster and Bosch. Had quality issues in the past with Climatemaster, but not with Waterfurnace, Bosch (with the exception of the FHP models) or Hydron . Why should I sell a product where I have part of the warranty liability on it, and which would cost me a lot of money to go back all the time and fix?

    I am very sorry about your failures, but I would have a second look at, and a second talk with my contractor. He does not seem to be very customer service oriented.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  7. DavidCraig

    DavidCraig Member


    I assume you are referring to open loop systems. A closed loop would only be affected if you filled it with very nasty water. (Did they use Clorox as antifreeze, lol)


    It would help to clarify:

    Are your two furnaces open loop?

    Are they water-to-water ('boilers') or water-to-air?

    Which coils failed? Source (ground loop) or Load?

    Was your neighbor's system installed by the same contractor?

    Another thing to check is the loop flow rate. If you exceed 3 GPM / ton by more than 10%, it can seriously erode the exchangers. While the factory could have had a bad batch, four failures would seem unlikely. And in the same time period???
  8. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Seems Fletch prefers to blame Waterfurnace for a problem every heat pump brand had and his contractor gouging him.
  9. Bergy

    Bergy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I am referring to the "Air Coil" not the coaxial coil.

    $75/lb for R410-A is gouging. We charge $10/lb.

    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  10. DavidCraig

    DavidCraig Member


    While I don't know Fletch, he has made only 2 posts on this forum. It would only seem natural to be upset with two (actually four) failures of same component. And to find that his 10 year warrantee is 'padded' - even if that is the contractor's doing. Waterfurnace and contractors have a tight relationship together ... if something is amiss, then communication with both is needed. The contractor charging $75 / lb is revealing. And the question of who installed the neighbors system is yet to be answered.

    Regardless of brands, air coils should be made to last with regard to how the majority of people live. If Fletch's old furnace coil lasted 15 years, why shouldn't the new ones do so?

    But thank you for the info about household cleaners, etc. Had never thought about it. Have only heard that if air flow is too slow, the constant high humidity can shorten the life of a coil (but don't know if that is actually true).

    As an open question, what are possible system design/installation problems that could lead to early air coil failures?
  11. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    David, hopefully fletch had a candid conversation with his installer thanks to our advice.
    Manufacturers are coating coils to protect them from contaminants now.
  12. DavidCraig

    DavidCraig Member

    Thanks Joe.

    I do wonder though about how system design can affect air coil life.

    For example, my 2 ton AC got a leak after 10 years. They could never find it and added 'leak fixer stuff' which ended up ruining the compressor.

    It was suggested that air coil failed (though we don't even know if that is where the problem is) because of perhaps not enough air flow.

    Two ton is small for my home and it spent lots of time dehumidifying. One contractor (30 years experience) said it is excellent to have on the small size. Another said it will cause coil failure due to the high humidity. As far as comfort went, it was great ... until it died.
  13. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Things that expand and contract are subject to fatigue, the more extreme the swings, the greater the fatigue. Besides new chemicals in our air, I suspect alloys have stepped into the fan coil market and quality control or molecular density of copper is decreasing. That is industry wide.
  14. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I agree air coil leak problem is industry wide. I have a client with a 5 year old premium (SEER 19) air source system on its 3rd evap coil. Jury still out on coil coatings. We have a ridiculously long cooling season (Florida), and when we are cooling, we are dehumidifying. Perhaps a coil wet for months on end is more prone to fail. OTOH consider that heating dominated climates subject air coils to MUCH higher pressures for hundreds, even thousands more hours annually than we do down south.

    Browse "formicary corrosion" for lots of the latest thinking. Tighter homes, new insulation materials, household chemicals all MAY figure in, but I'm aware of no consensus.
  15. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    It is worth mentioning that the coil failures do seem more frequent the further south you go
  16. HVAC Amateur

    HVAC Amateur New Member

    I am new to this forum, but wanted to give some longevity info on my 19 year old 4 ton WaterFurnace Spectra Series. The first problem I had with it after 15 1/2 years was a small refrigerant leak in the air coil. It was a pinhole located at the bottom where the coil loops back(not in the finned area). I evacuated the system, repaired it and charged it back. This worked for 2 more years and then it developed another leak at the same location on the other side of the coil. I repaired it and the coil has been fine since then( about 18 months). The most recent trouble I had was a coax failure. This is a closed loop system. I replaced the coax(cost from dealer was aprpox. $530). I am having issues with lockouts on low pressure now, but I am going to post the details on this on a thread I came across earlier. Good luck on getting yours straightened out.
  17. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    If you are capable of those repairs, you may want to consider updating your geo to a R410 2 stage system. The 30 % tax credit applies but will not be around forever.

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