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Can a furnace be cleaned and reused after a house fire? Or should it be replaced?

I am working with a homeowner on the design of an addition to a house. Prior to starting construction on the addition, the existing house had a fire which was contained to the laundry room. Smoke damage, however, is throughout the existing house. The mechanical room is accessed through the laundry room. The furnace was running when the fire started, and then turned off. There is evidence of smoke in the furnace (in the filter and at the connection to the AC). I have one contractor suggesting that the furnace can be cleaned, serviced and remain. Another contractor is saying the furnace has to be replaced due to the smoke damage. He also stated that since the furnace is a high-efficiency unit it may have some damage to the fittings due to condensation. The furnace has been off for two months in a northern climate. (The house was winterized after the fire.) I also have a homeowner that is really sensitive to the smoke smell... has anyone had experience with this?

Asked by Corri Sandwick
Posted Thu, 03/06/2014 - 14:55

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Corri,
My guess is that this type of question can't be answered over the Internet. It requires the eyes of an experienced HVAC contractor on site -- someone who can inspect your furnace. If you have two conflicting opinions, I suppose that you can always seek out a third opinion from another HVAC contractor.

Good luck.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Thu, 03/06/2014 - 17:53

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