Harman SF160 flu crack

Dennis67

New Member
Dec 12, 2019
2
Maine
I purchased and installed a Harman SF160 wood/coal boiler, first season of use was winter of 2012. I burn wood and coal in this unit to heat a 1700 square foot home, coal at night to keep the fire going all night and wood during the day when I'm home. This year, while cleaning to prepare for winter, I noticed cracking where the flu is welded into the back of the boiler. I realize the unit is out of warranty since it only has 5 year coverage, and I failed to notice the crack prior to warranty running out. My problem is that this crack didn't just happen overnight and this unit should last many more years before seeing an issue like this. As a certified welder, I know cracks like this happen with stress of heating/cooling and get worse over time, but this shouldn't happen this quickly, especially since I didn't use it much for 2 years out of the last 7 since installed. I contacted my dealer who said Harman will no longer address warranty on these, and furthermore, Harman has sold their boiler line to a competitor company. I contacted the competitor company rep, who indicated they know of many complaints of these units cracking; and that Harman was building these at low cost to undercut other manufacturers, sacrificing quality (note the Harman sales pitch is "Built to a Standard, Not a Price"). I then contacted my installer, who cautioned me about possible cracking into the water jacket causing water leaking into my home, but more frightening was his concern for carbon monoxide entering my home. Shouldn't Harman be responsible, regardless of warranty, for a defective product that they manufactured and sold that creates a risk to my family's safety? Has anyone else seen or heard of these units cracking? Has anyone filed any claim with Harman for this? I'm thinking of hiring an attorney at this point....
 

Attachments

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,484
Nova Scotia
IMO it sounds like you are stuck with the situation - 'it is what it is'. I don't think talking to a lawyer will get you anywhere. So I would probably either weld it up & use it , or replace it and eat the cost.

Just based on what was said.
 

Dennis67

New Member
Dec 12, 2019
2
Maine
IMO it sounds like you are stuck with the situation - 'it is what it is'. I don't think talking to a lawyer will get you anywhere. So I would probably either weld it up & use it , or replace it and eat the cost.

Just based on what was said.
The more I think about it, you're right... I'm stuck with it and no lawyer will help. Just waste a lot of money when I could just deal with it. I guess I'm just discouraged with Harman - they were supposed to be a good name, good quality. I discovered that the company that bought them out came up with a fix for this problem. Drain the furnace, drill the water jacket, weld the cracks, and weld a plate on the back of the unit that will put the cracked area inside the water jacket. This will keep the problem area at water temp (180 plus/minus) instead of stack temp which can be 500+. I just wish Harman would go good for it and pay for the repairs...
 

TCaldwell

Minister of Fire
Your fortunate to have the ability to fix it correctly, as a pita that it is. I had a sf 260 for 10 years, unfortunately due to the internals they tend to run hot, causing such a problem.
I’d remove the flue pipe, run your hand around the insideand see if you could adhere a small refractory board to the inside of the area above the flue collar after you repair the crack from the outside.
Also maybe smaller wood loads to reduce flue temps, it wasn’t uncommon to see 700 degf with a magnet thermometer on the first section of flue pipe.
Also I’d use a heavier gage stainless flue pipe .
I think your crack is really warming to take as many precautions as possible with a Harmon boiler.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,309
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Stoves crack all the time. The manufacturer frequently tries to blame the operator for error or otherwise avoid responsibility even though this is a safety risk. You’re out of warranty, that means you’re on your own.

Obviously some companies try to make it right. Some even after warranty and this is why some people pay extra for a burner from one of those companies.
 

mike van

Feeling the Heat
Apr 24, 2013
361
Kent Ct
I ran a SF260 for 16 years, I had a 2" crack on the front going away from the door for probably 10 of those years. I have the unofficial record here in town for the most unreported unresponded to chimney fires at one house. At least 1 a year, sometimes 2. The auto thermostat is just the worst, even with good dry wood, like TCaldwell said, smoke dragon. Chimney so packed with that hard glassy creosote I almost lost a brush in it one year when the rope broke. I'd never waste 300/hr on a lawyer, put the money into a better system. I went with a Garn, never once regretted it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TCaldwell

jeisle

New Member
May 20, 2020
1
New York, NY
I ran a SF260 for 16 years, I had a 2" crack on the front going away from the door for probably 10 of those years. I have the unofficial record here in town for the most unreported unresponded to chimney fires at one house. At least 1 a year, sometimes 2. The auto thermostat is just the worst, even with good dry wood, like TCaldwell said, smoke dragon. Chimney so packed with that hard glassy creosote I almost lost a brush in it one year when the rope broke. I'd never waste 300/hr on a lawyer, put the money into a better system. I went with a Garn, never once regretted it.
Pretty cool and awesome.