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Old 03-28-2013, 03:37 PM   #21
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Apparently the Feds have reached a settlement blocking this change for 2 yrs....until new rules are written. And Big Brother strikes again.

U.S. scuttles rule requiring high-efficiency furnaces - Philly.com
Almost looks to be moot now. From what I've just seen, the mfgs offer 80% eff, and then >90%. I think they were anticipating this, and figured no point in making an 85-89.9% eff, might as well make the leap to a qualifying unit.

I don't think I want to drop to 80%, but I think you are really hitting diminishing returns past 90%. Lots to consider.

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Old 03-28-2013, 04:21 PM   #22
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We live in the south and recently had an 80,000 Btu, 80%, 2-stage furnace with a 15 SEER A/C installed. We've only had it a month so I don't have any data to compare it's gas consumption to the old 159,000 Btu furnace, 10 SEER A/C that was replaced. We went with American Standard (apparently the same manufacturer as Trane).

Here's a link to an HVAC forum that I've found very helpful in the past. You can read all you want but if you want to search and post you have to become a member (similar to e-r.org)
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:34 PM   #23
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I actually went an unusual route. We have radiant slab in our walkout basement (with 2 bedrooms, bath, laundry/utility and family room) and hot water baseboard on the main floor (great room and master bedroom suite).

"Furnaces" were hugely expensive so I went with an on-demand hot water heater that powers the radiant heat, the hot water baseboard and provides for our domestic hot water. We got a Takagi but my plumbing guy says they are using something different/better in new installs. The on-demand hot water heater cost about 20% of what a furnace would have cost (~$1,800 IIRC) so I'm figuring that even if it doesn't last as long as a furnace and I have to buy 3 or 4 in the same timespan that a furnace would last that I am ahead of the game. A calculated risk on my part.

LBYM solution that has worked well for us for 3 seasons and still going strong.
Below is a link to something similar to what we did except our install is an open system rather than a closed system.

Heating a Home With a Tankless Water Heater - Water Heaters, Heat-Recovery Systems, Radiant Heating, Water Heaters, Water Conservation, Plumbing Supplies, Residential Projects, Hvac, Heating - JLC Online
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:15 PM   #24
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The installation involved new air intake and venting that the high efficiency unit requires. . . . the venting material is very expensive per foot.
Schedule 40 PVC pipe? It's very cheap and all that these furnaces need/require. But installers do like to vent them through the nearest wall.

When it was time to replace our furnace we went with a Goodman and have been very happy. The heat exchanger comes with a very long warranty. These are the units are often installed in commercial buildings. Folks who sell high-markup brands will not speak well about Goodman, but many components are made by the same companies as the highly advertised brands.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:43 PM   #25
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Schedule 40 PVC pipe? It's very cheap and all that these furnaces need/require. But installers do like to vent them through the nearest wall. ............
I wonder if this is a reference to adding a metal liner to the chimney for venting the gas water heater once the furnace is taken off the chimney flue.
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Old 03-29-2013, 01:24 PM   #26
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Schedule 40 PVC pipe? It's very cheap and all that these furnaces need/require. But installers do like to vent them through the nearest wall.
I wondered where that came from as well. I thought it might be due to using concentric pipe that combines the intake and exhaust air. We recently switched HWH from electric to high efficiency gas which works on similar principle as the furnaces. It was tough to convince installer NOT to run through the nearest wall which was 10 ft away. Finally agreed to run it 30ft and had to hammer drill through a concrete wall. They never raised the install price and left behind 2 -12 foot sections of 4 in PVC that I will re-purpose for another project.
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