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John Rapka
User Rank
Iron
Re: Ethical repair?
John Rapka   1/13/2012 5:11:52 PM
NO RATINGS
The obvious answer (at least obvious to me) to your question is that revealing that the furnace was worked on by someone other than a professional furnace repairman would have thrown up an ugly flag during the inspection process. Possibly, they would have been worried about a fire or an explosion due to what would have been perceived as a novice repair. What this means is that the repair you suggested would have been even worse to reveal (assuming I did the work) because it involved rewiring part of the system. (And NO, I was not about to get another repairman in to work on it after my experience with the last one).

I know that what was done was safe but THEY don't know that because they don't know me. I can feel free to write about this now because I have since learned that the subject furnace has been replaced by a new unit.

Ggarnier
User Rank
Iron
Re: Ethical repair?
Ggarnier   1/9/2012 12:46:39 PM
NO RATINGS
John Rapka, I am in almost complete agreement with your fix, but I think your justification about not disclosing it is a stretch. That is, you seem to project that the only forseeable failure scenario, i.e. if new owner wrenched on the control stem, they would make the connection with any subsequent malfunction, effectively lobbing the problem into the new owner's court.

Why not, as another poster has suggested, wire the control completely out of the circuit, and disclose to the buyer that although there originally was a speed control, it  wore out and was removed from the system? It's hard to imagine a buyer being deterred by having a one-speed blower.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
the case of the vintage furnace blower.
William K.   1/7/2012 3:47:26 PM
NO RATINGS
This tale is another example of how adding a feature removed some quality. My furnace has four speeds available, just by moving one wire to a different terminal, each of which has a quarter-inch "Faston" connector. That arrangement is very reliable and much easier to service. 

John Rapka
User Rank
Iron
Re: Ethical repair?
John Rapka   1/6/2012 7:40:10 PM
NO RATINGS
I don't believe the repair was unethical. The soldered connections that were made were just as reliable as any other permanent electrical connections that existed in the furnace. The chance of them "failing" spontaneously was nil. There would be a problem if someone tried to turn the switch shaft and this resulted in the breakage of the connections made. The chance of this happening was reduced by removing the switch knob. If someone bypassed this preventive measure and broke the connections by turning the switch shaft (with a pair of locking pliers for example), the switch would be reverted to the original open circuit condition assuming the shaft did not get twisted off in the process. If this action caused the blower to no longer work, the person doing the breakage would most likely suspect the switch.

Flyby
User Rank
Silver
Ethical repair?
Flyby   1/4/2012 3:01:32 PM
NO RATINGS
An ingeniuos repair but it bypassed the fullfunctioning of the system and one wonders if the new owners had any idea of what to do if it failed. An open direct wiring repair may have been more transparent.

John Rapka
User Rank
Iron
For the Record
John Rapka   1/3/2012 1:55:41 PM
NO RATINGS
Just for the record, this case was submitted by John Rapka, not John Mitchell.

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maybe not such a bad fix.
jmiller   12/26/2011 9:52:22 PM
NO RATINGS
I agee. I don't think not having variable speed controlsin the furnace is necessary in order to pass an inspection.  However, I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't something about the furnace being in "original" operational status in the requirements of the inspection.

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Simple fix had big results
jmiller   12/26/2011 9:50:40 PM
NO RATINGS
Reminds me a lot of automobiles.  Just can't fix things like you used to.  But stories like this do remind me to at least check for the simple chewing gum and paper clip solutions out there.

Jfrisbie
User Rank
Iron
Maybe not such a bad fix.
Jfrisbie   12/22/2011 10:56:18 AM
NO RATINGS
The fix of, in essence, hard wireing the speed contorol out of the system is a very valid fix.  It is safe, no arcing like the old control that had to be coaxed into action. Would the fix been any better if the control was cut out of the circuit and the wires spliced? 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Simple fix had big results
Rob Spiegel   12/21/2011 3:53:21 PM
NO RATINGS
You're right TJ. Even if it's a good fix, it's still not cricket. I remember watching inspectors go though my house and holding my breath as they looked over quick fixes I had made in certain areas and items in the house. Everything worked, but sometimes the solutions were homemade.

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