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New Furnace
Old 03-27-2013, 07:32 AM   #1
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New Furnace

Need to replace my gas furnace. Any thoughts on brands and types? Single stage, two stage etc. So far what I have learned it is more about the install then the brand. Currently looking at a Luxiare 61-stage. Live in Northern Ohio so our winters are a little cold! Thanks
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:59 AM   #2
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When my furnace went out 3 years ago I bought an American Standard 15 seer heat pump. This old house only had window a/c units so I bit the bullet and got A/C too. One thing I like about the heat pump though is that it is a hybrid system that uses gas heat on the coldest days. You control the temp setting that the gas kicks in. Uses electric heat to that point. Works well for where I live. You living in a colder climate may prefer to go with gas only. But I have been pleased with the brand so far. You see lots of them in my area.

Heat Pumps & Electric Heat Pump Heating System | American Standard
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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We are in a cold climate too. When our furnace gave out in Dec 2003, I didn't have time to do a lot of research as I was still working and with DW telling me 'me and the dogs will freeze to death if you don't DO SOMETHING today!' So I called a HVAC contractor we trust, and my only focus was buying something efficient, and the right size of course. We ended up with an Armstrong Air Ultra V Advantage 93. It was the second most efficient unit they offered at the time, the most efficient was WAY more costly. It has a 92.5 AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency - example below), where 96.6 was the highest on the federal scale (at that time anyway) and 78.0 was the lowest.

There are probably better brands, but it's been trouble free for 10 years now.

Sounds like you have some time to do more research than I did. Does Consumer Reports evaluate furnaces? I usually find their info very helpful. Best of luck...
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:06 AM   #4
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Back about seven yrs ago, we went with the brand York for both the furnace and a/c. Furnace has an efficiency rating of 92 and we've had no problems.

Price was reasonable as well. We live in the balmy Chicago area.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:18 AM   #5
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It's worth doing a search as this has been discussed many times. This is a good thread:

High Efficiency Furnace?

I found that contractors wanted to sell me way too large of a furnace . I did my own manual J calculation and got one of the bidders to do the same as a cross check. As a result, I replaced a 200,000 btu input furnace with a two stage 70,000 btu furnace. Nearly always, it runs on the 35,000 stage and provides extremely stable and even heating. It only kicks on the second stage when I turn the heat down for an extended absence, then ask it to heat the house quickly.

I got 4 estimates and they were all over the place for basically the same furnace and warranty. For the record it is a Lennox 95% efficient (wanted the tax rebate).
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:40 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:51 AM   #7
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Our previous home had two furnaces-big house, cold climate. They both had to be replaced three years ago. Our furnace repair company, which we like, gave us a quote on two Lennox units.

At the same time, I contacted Costco and they arranged for a visit/quote. Guess what...it was the same furnace supply company but a different representative.

We went with Costco. Saved about 20 percent net of the lower price and Costco gift card incentives.

We were very pleased with the furnaces (high efficiency), the install, and of course the price.
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:14 PM   #8
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Timely thread 'cause my furnace went out few days ago. Trusted repair guy got it working again but said 21+yr old unit (78% efficiency) is going on borrowed time.
Ran some numbers based on our actual heating gas costs (winter-summer for rough 'net') and going to 92-95% efficient furnace would save ~$80/mo in heating gas.
Question is whether or not going with variable speed fan option is worthwhile. Some units qualify for Fed's $50 energy tax credit for "Advanced Main Circulating Fan". Are claims true that these fans save energy (electricity $$) both winter & summer since the fan is more efficient than typical single-speed furnace fan?
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfersailor View Post
Need to replace my gas furnace. Any thoughts on brands and types? Single stage, two stage etc. So far what I have learned it is more about the install then the brand. Currently looking at a Luxiare 61-stage. Live in Northern Ohio so our winters are a little cold! Thanks
I'm also in Northern Ohio. In 2011 we replaced our gas furnace that was original to the house - 1955. It just kept working so we kept it. Then it needed a part from another century so we replaced it with a nice high efficiency Trane which has been lovely. We had added A/C to the old furnace in 1993 and went ahead and replaced that, too.

The installation involved new air intake and venting that the high efficiency unit requires. Our old one went out the chimney stack along with the water heating ventilation. The new one goes directly outside (a few feet above grade level) along the shortest route because the venting material is very expensive per foot. Something had to be inserted into the chimney to accommodate the change for the water heater venting and also a new chimney cap.

We opted not to get variable speed due to the extra cost. We have been very pleased with the new system. Our utilities dropped about 30% but I don't know how much of that was the furnace as we had replaced old leaky windows a few months earlier.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ERhoosier View Post
Timely thread 'cause my furnace went out few days ago. Trusted repair guy got it working again but said 21+yr old unit (78% efficiency) is going on borrowed time.
Ran some numbers based on our actual heating gas costs (winter-summer for rough 'net') and going to 92-95% efficient furnace would save ~$80/mo in heating gas.
Question is whether or not going with variable speed fan option is worthwhile. Some units qualify for Fed's $50 energy tax credit for "Advanced Main Circulating Fan". Are claims true that these fans save energy (electricity $$) both winter & summer since the fan is more efficient than typical single-speed furnace fan?
New furnace blowers are DC instead of AC which saves in electric bills, however the downside these motors are very expensive to replace. I have been told $600-$700..
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ERhoosier View Post
...but said 21+yr old unit (78% efficiency) is going on borrowed time.

Ran some numbers based on our actual heating gas costs (winter-summer for rough 'net') and going to 92-95% efficient furnace would save ~$80/mo in heating gas.
I'm curious about your math - seems like with those eff % deltas you would need ~ $500 monthly bill to save $80/month. Is that right, or did I screw up my math? What would your annual savings be?

Quote:
Question is whether or not going with variable speed fan option is worthwhile. Some units qualify for Fed's $50 energy tax credit for "Advanced Main Circulating Fan". Are claims true that these fans save energy (electricity $$) both winter & summer since the fan is more efficient than typical single-speed furnace fan?
I think you just need to compare the same/similar models w/wo the variable speed fan for total energy consumption. Offhand, seems they are quite a few hundred $ more, I doubt the payback is there, plus the cost of replacement that was mentioned. I had to replace the 4-speed blower motor in our furnace at ~ year 15, it was just $100.

Quote:
Originally Posted by golfersailor View Post
New furnace blowers are DC instead of AC which saves in electric bills, however the downside these motors are very expensive to replace. I have been told $600-$700..
Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I actually went an unusual route. ...

"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) ...
Interesting. An apartment my DD was in had a 'hydroponic coil' in the forced air furnace - seems they routed hot water from a central boiler to this coil in the furnace, and it heated the same way an AC coil would cool. It made me wonder if I could add a coil like that, and feed it with a boiler. That might be cheaper than a whole new furnace?

-ERD50
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:56 PM   #12
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ERD- You are absolutely right. I misread my own 'meticulously prepared' SS My heating gas cost ave's ~$80/mo during 8mo we typically use the furnace. Going to 95% eff would likely save ~19% in gas cost, or $15/mo (x8= ~$120/yr at current gas price). Payback time for moving up to 95% (depending on assumptions) would be ~12yrs. But from all that I've read this does NOT inc electricity cost of running the furnace motor, and exact same furnace models from same make can have same gas eff rating (80 or 95%) with either traditional motor or newer ECM motor. Both US & Canadian gov sites claim ECM (variable spd) saves electricity during both heating & AC use, but question is how much in real life?
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:01 PM   #13
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... Payback time for moving up to 95% (depending on assumptions) would be ~12yrs. But from all that I've read this does NOT inc electricity cost of running the furnace motor, and exact same furnace models from same make can have same gas eff rating (80 or 95%) with either traditional motor or newer ECM motor. Both US & Canadian gov sites claim ECM (variable spd) saves electricity during both heating & AC use, but question is how much in real life?
Yep, numbers like 12 year payback don't thrill me too much - does that include any opp cost for the extra $ that could be invested?

I'll have to google a bit and see if I can find numbers on energy savings for those motors. I did find my notes with a Kill-a-Watt on my furnace fan (3/4 HP) and it shows ~ 806 watts running (on med-hi speed for heat, so not full 3/4HP) and ~ 32% duty cycle at that time at $0.118/KWHr cost me ~ $22/month. I'm guessing savings would be pretty small. The variable speed may be more comfort/noise thing? I'll see of google tells me more.

edit/add: OK, did some googling and my head is spinning!

http://goo.gl/JVqhX

That shows a calculated improvement with variable speed that is significant (~ 1/3 less kWhr?), bit in practice it seems that different conditions with the static pressure in real homes cut this savings down substantially. Lotsa variables. It does sound like it is really more for comfort, you can leave it run on a very low speed and circulate the air and/or run a electrostatic filter 24/7. That very low speed is less cost than the low speed of a 4-speed motor.

So you really have to evaluate your conditions - I'm a keep it simple guy, I'll plan on the standard 4-speed when it's time for me.

-ERD50
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:40 PM   #14
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You should know that the rules have changed as to what you can buy depending on where you live (surprise, surprise).

Non-weatherized Furnaces
Under the new rules, non-weatherized residential furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces installed on or after May 1, 2013, in the Northern Region must be at least 90% AFUE. The North region is comprised of the following states: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


In all other states, non-weatherized gas furnace and mobile home furnaces installed on or after May 1, 2013 would be 80% AFUE.

Installing a 90% furnace has its issues - PVC positive venting required vs. natural venting out a standard chimney (which you now have). Also have to safely remove the acidic condensate caused by fossil fuel combustion being cooled below the temperatures normally seen in all 80% furnace flue products. I like Carrier's (Bryant's, Payne"s) 90% furnace for design, reliability and two pipe (in/out) venting. Anything over 90% will do. Trane (American Standard) are good also. Variable speed blower is mainly a comfort feature standard with variable (2-stage) furnaces - and yes, will cost more than standard motors to replace.

It gets even better for heat pump users, and Southern AC markets under the changes (you can read all about it here).

https://www.acca.org/archives/indust...s/hot-air/5808
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:15 PM   #15
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Never heard of Luxaire, so I looked them up. Apparently made by Johnson Controls along with York and Coleman.

Depends alot on your situation, but we selected a Carrier system with 2 stage gas valve over a full modulating system. The two stage has a multi-speed (not variable speed) blower. The 2 stage is 35/60,000 BTU. I have not been able to really figure out how the 2-stage works, but it is ~95% AFUE. The higher efficiency (98%) units were not worth the additional cost/complexity for our situation. A/C is 16SEER (2.5 ton). This qualified for the energy tax credit ($500). Also check with your local utility to see if they have any incentives.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:43 AM   #16
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You should know that the rules have changed as to what you can buy depending on where you live (surprise, surprise).
...
Thanks, I do recall reading that, but had forgotten.

Before going on a major rant on this, I did some googling, and we may be be saved from this particular 'nanny' regulation:

New 90-percent efficient furnace standard is blocked

Seems like it's been blocked, but it also seems like it stands until that bock is ruled on? I couldn't quite follow that.

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Old 03-28-2013, 10:22 AM   #17
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"Interesting. An apartment my DD was in had a 'hydroponic coil' in the forced air furnace - seems they routed hot water from a central boiler to this coil in the furnace, and it heated the same way an AC coil would cool. It made me wonder if I could add a coil like that, and feed it with a boiler. That might be cheaper than a whole new furnace?"

Google up "air handler" which is a blower cabinet containing heat and ac coils, or one of each, which is what was likely in the apt. Extreme diy could get you the same thing if you gutted an old gas furnace, but boilers aren't cheap either.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:55 AM   #18
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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
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:37 PM   #19
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I didn't see mention of how long you planned to live in the house as a factor in choosing a more expensive and efficient system. The buyer probably won't end up offering you any more for your house if it's 90 vs 95, or whatever.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:59 PM   #20
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I didn't see mention of how long you planned to live in the house as a factor in choosing a more expensive and efficient system. The buyer probably won't end up offering you any more for your house if it's 90 vs 95, or whatever.
Not real sure how long but planning on 10 years. We love our place just a lot of maintenance as of now I love doing. If and when we replace the furnace I am looking for comfort and reliability first. Of course it would be nice to see our monthly bill go down for both electric and gas.
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