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furnace recommendations

Post in 'The Green Room' started by saichele, Nov 5, 2006.

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  1. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    A friend's GFA furnace is on the way out (almost 30 yrs old).

    They want a new one, house is a 2200 sf 4 bed colonial, furnace is primary (only) heat source. House is located in central Michigan.

    Any recommendations on makes or models to look at?

    Thanks
    Steve

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    for the money vs quality Trane hits a sweet spot. Trane is now owned By American Stndard and is a cheaper version of the more expensive AM parent company.
    definetely an upgrade to the common builder's specials. Note I did not confuse it to top of the line competition. lLke stoves and prefferences I'm sure they are other valid oppinions.

    To get Spike's support, Tran is the PE of furnaces
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    South Puget Sound, WA
    Good advice, though from the quote I got for the heat pumps, it was the other way around. Trane was pricier than American Standard. Both are good brands as are Bryant/Carrier. Lennox is good, but their parts and service tend to be proprietary.

    More importantly they should be going with a modern condensing furnace of at least 90% efficiency. GFA furnaces are not rocket science. We had a cheaper, high efficiency ArcoAire that did just fine for 20 years. If price is an issue, they can look into Ruud or Rheem.
  4. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

    Joined:
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    Depends on what your fuel source is. I have oil forced hot air here. We recently had to replace our furnace and I went with a ThermoPride which is considered tops for oil. There is a forum similar to this called hvac-talk.com where you can go for advice on heating and air conditioning.

    One thing I will tell you that I learned is to educate yourself and another thing is to demand a Manual J heat loss calculation on your home. I had purchased software to do one myself, but keep running calculations and coming up with different BTU requirements for my home. I had 6 companies come in and received quotes from 5 of them, 2 I threw out as they didn't install the brand I was interested in, which left me with 3 companies to deal with seriously, one being the oil company I had dealt with for my furnace upkeep annually for the past 8 years who I am no longer dealing with.

    I own a 2500 sq ft colonial in New England. My old furnace was a 125K btu with 113K btu output. One company quoted me on a 90K btu output, one a 105K btu output and one a 125K btu output - all the same brand. When I questioned them on how they came up with their heating requirements I got the "We do this all the time; we know our stuff" line and I also got attitude being a woman who was questioning from 2 companies and the third (who I liked to begin with) immediately recommended a Manual J which is what I was after and proceeded to explain what it was to me.

    The following morning someone was at my house measuring walls, windows, ducts, etc. and the day after that I had my heat loss calc which was close to what I had come up with. I signed the contract that day and love my new ThermoPride. Without that heat loss calculation, either of the other 2 furnaces would have been oversized and even the old furnace was oversized. Oversizing is just as bad as undersizing since it can cause short cycling which wears hard on the furnace and it's also bad because it will run inefficiently and burn too much fuel which, of course, either of the other two oil companies would have loved to have sold me. When it was installed and they ran tests on it, I only needed a medium nozzle on my furnace which runs at 73K btu output. My home is warm and comfortable when the furnace runs like it never was before. I had a vaiable speed blower installed which runs very efficiently, can run at super low speed all the time to circulate and filter the air and costs about what a light bulb whould cost to run, or it can ramp up to whatever speed the furnace calls for to push heat. I also had a new water saving AprilAire 400 humidifier installed and an AprilAire 2200 media filter installed.

    Anyways, educate yourself and demand a manual J. I know more about furnaces now that I ever thought I would, but it paid off in getting the right furnace for my home. Make sure you get more than one estimate.

    Best of luck!
  5. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the feedback. The item about oversizng is probably worth noting. The fuel source is natural gas, don;t think they're intereseted in switching or going to a heat pump.

    Thanks
    Steve
  6. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Oct 24, 2006
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    Loc:
    OH
    There's as much or more to be saved in electricity as compared to gas when buying a gas furnace. Conventional furnace motors are energy hogs and, depending on gas prices as compared to electricity costs, there can, over the lifetime of a furnace, be more savings in sinking limited funds into getting a DC variable speed (not just multi-speed but variable speed) motor as compared to using that same money to get a higher efficiency furnace. Many high efficiency furnaces come with standard motors so just because a person has a "high efficiency furnace" doesn't necessarily mean they're also getting the lowest operating cost unit....... I got both when I got my new furnace 6 years ago and it results in lower costs. Also, when I use my furnace circ fan to help distribute heat (as I do when I use my stove) it's very economical......
  7. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Loc:
    Wapato WA, in the Yakima Valley of Central WA
    Hello. I did a little research as to heat pumps. I know you said the home owners didn't want to switch away from NG. However, heat pumps offer heat and a/c, which sounds like the a/c portion may be an upgrade for your friends? I don't know if there is a need or not where you live.

    In any case, Trane was the product I liked the most out of all of them. I particularly liked the new static air cleaner product they have which is suppose to be the best on the market. Catches 99.8% of airborne dust, allergens, etc.

    My brother has NG, lives in New Jersey and installed a Lennox a few years back. He says he's happy, but I suspect replacing any 30 year old furnace with a new one is going to increase efficiency regardless of the maker.

    In any case, it's a major purchase and a tough decision. For some the money is an issue, but for all it is what you're going to have to live with for years to come. My suggestion, get as many quotes as you can. Call every reputable hvac company in your area. Good luck.

    -Kevin
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