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Getting the Right Part: The Often Overlooked Part Numbers You Should Care About
This article was written by Regan Murphy. Thanks, Regan!
Disclaimer: Any percentages used are the opinion of the author and not based on any actual facts.
You are probably already used to getting the model and serial numbers of the equipment. You may have even made a habit of getting the part number, but there are two commonly overlooked numbers on the part that you should always look for.
When you have a failed part, you should gather the following information:
- Equipment model number (or product number)
- Equipment serial number
- Equipment manufacturer part number (Carrier, Ruud, Trane, etc.) – I will refer to this as EMPN
- Part manufacturer model number (White-Rodgers, GE, Honeywell, Lau, Norton, etc.) – I will refer to this as PMMN
Equipment model number (or product number)
This is typically the first thing needed when looking up replacement parts. Carrier/Bryant/ICP units typically will have a “product number” used for looking up parts. The product number is the same as the model number, except it has extra digits at the end. For Carrier/Bryant/ICP units, you’ll want to get the product number instead of the model number (or get both).
Equipment serial number
This is used to look up or determine warranty information on a unit. Some manufacturers also allow you to search by serial number to pull up the model number, which comes in handy if you write down the model number incorrectly or take an unclear picture of the nameplate.
Equipment manufacturer part number (EMPN)
This is the part number the manufacturer assigns to a part made by someone else that they install on their equipment. We use this part number to look up a replacement part from a specific manufacturer.
Part manufacturer model number (PMMN)
This is the model or part number from the part manufacturer, where the parts initially come from. Part manufacturers sell their parts to HVAC equipment manufacturers, who then install the parts in their units.
You may not always be able to identify both an EMPN and PMMN on an existing part, but you’ve got a much better shot at finding the right replacement part if you can get one or the other.
If you make it a habit to look at the PMMN when you service units, you will better understand who makes what components. If you use universal replacement parts, the PMMN will be listed more frequently than the EMPN. That’s a big enough reason alone to pay attention.
If you know the PMMN, you’ll have more options for proper replacement parts from more suppliers than if you only know the EMPN.
Cross-referencing parts is worthy of an article or two on its own, so we will just look at the PMMN for three common gas furnace parts.
X = Letter
# = Number
90% of the boards are either White Rodgers or Honeywell.
White Rodgers PMMN nomenclature: 50X##–###
Honeywell PMMN nomenclature: S####X#### or ST####X####
The other 10% are UTEC Controls (United Technology), Johnson Controls, Robertshaw, Texas Instruments, etc.
Hot Surface Ignitors – Silicon Carbide
100% are Norton 201 or 271.
Norton PMMN nomenclature: 2#1 or 2#1X
The PMMN will be stamped on the ignitor harness plug.
Hot Surface Ignitors – Silicon Nitride
100% are White Rodgers.
White Rodgers PMMN nomenclature: 768A-# or 768A-###
The PMMN will be on a paper tag around the ignitor harness.
98% are Honeywell or White Rodgers.
White Rodgers PMMN nomenclature: 36X##–### or 36X## type ###
36J24 type 205
Honeywell PMMN nomenclature: VX####X####
The other 2% are Robertshaw.
Robertshaw PMMN nomenclature: 7##–###
Whoever is locating the replacement part should have access to all online dealer portals for the HVAC brands that you service. This is important for looking up current replacement parts and warranty information.
Manufacturers supersede replacement parts to newer models over time. Part manufacturers may develop and release new versions of existing parts without a significant reason. Occasionally, manufacturers supersede parts because the parts may have a design flaw or a high failure rate. These might not be dangerous or worthy of a recall, but the manufacturers quietly replace that part with a new one. Ever wonder why that inverter board on a 2-year-old system is a different part number? Depending on the age of the equipment, the manufacturer may have superseded the part several times.