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Old 11-15-2015, 12:49 AM   #1121
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The efficiency of the furnace needed depends on the location, and how much cold there is in MN for example the highest efficiency furnace makes sense while in Houston not nearly so much. Note that it is also possible to use a propane furnace as a backup to a heat pump also. (in particular in the southern us) Days at 40 make the heat pump more efficient than any furnace but a larger number of 20 degrees days needing backup heat, argue for the more efficient backup furnace.
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Sink Repair
Old 11-15-2015, 07:02 AM   #1122
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Sink Repair

One of my bathroom sinks has a dime size paint chip, no rust showing up yet. Does anyone have any experience using one of the porcelain repair kits found in the big box stores? Any recommendation? I'm guessing the biggest issue would be getting a good color match but even if it was off a little it would still look better than it does now.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:04 AM   #1123
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When I moved back into my house one of the fawcets in the bathtub was dripping badly. I've replaced many fawcet washers over the years so thought it would be no problem. I discovered that it was an old washerless setup from 1954 when the house was built and parts were not available. With all the work I had to do unpacking I called a plumber. In an hour and a half he had it fixed and I got a bill for $500.
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:36 AM   #1124
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I'm not sure the AC (inside evaporator or outside unit) would be affected or need replacing if this is just a problem with the propane-fired furnace. The AC unit might be good for many, many more years, though I'm sure the HVAC salesman will be happy to sell him a new one.

Here's a good site for seeing what HVAC equipment costs. If you are handy, you could buy the equipment and do it yourself (subject to any local laws, permit requirements, etc). Prices don't vary much for additional BTUs, the major increases come with higher efficiencies and multi-stage blowers, etc. You can spend from $600 to over $2000 on the furnace equipment, according to the prices at that site. If you need/want a fancier air filter, etc, that would be more expensive. As you'll see going to 97% efficient adds a lot of cost compared to slightly lower efficiency, so you'll want to price that out and see if it makes sense depending on what you expect to pay for propane. (e.g. 60K BTU single-stage 92% furnace = $728, 60K modulating burner, variable speed blower, 97% = $1,262. )

Thanks, Did I miss the site you referenced? That would be helpful. The furnace today sits in the garage, which was converted to a big game room....ideally if I go with a new one, id like to extend the duct work and get the furnace into the bigger, new garage -- safety wise I think it's better and they may have to move it anyway to be up to building codes.

Thanks ERD50 -- Yes, already been through a couple transformers and a new air handling control board. What is strange is that the 120V side is what is burning out, not the 24V side on the transformer. Both control boards (original and new) resulted in same burned transformer. So, something is causing the 120V side of the transformer to get hot and burn up. I can ohm out the 24V side and it shows 12 ohms... the 120V side is open circuit. Can also smell transformer burn smell.... same on all three transformers (original and 2 purchased transformers).

A service call is in order. Not really inclined to replace it. My old house had a 32 year old furnace and it was going strong. Not super high efficiency, but for what propane costs now days...it's not critical at this point to be super high efficient. Was hoping maybe for a big tax credit when changing systems....

I'll call around to see if I can get an HVAC guy in here. I do not trust many tradesmen... too many shady characters trying to make a quick buck off of uneducated home owners. I'll definitely do the 3 to 5 quotes to see where i land.

I hate being "defeated" with repairs - I really enjoy the DIY aspect and love to save money.
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Old 11-15-2015, 11:36 AM   #1125
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Thanks, Did I miss the site you referenced? That would be helpful.
The link is in the blue underlined part of my post. Here it is as a separate link.

https://www.alpinehomeair.com

I don't have any association with the company, except as a satisfied customer. The brands they sell (Goodman, etc) are good quality and well known among industrial/commercial specifiers. They lack the advertising and overhead of many of the common residential retail brands, but share many major components with them.
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:34 PM   #1126
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The parts from my online jobber arrived Friday, so today I spent most of the afternoon under my '95 BMW rejiggering the exhaust hangers. An aftermarket hanger (Eberspaecher, normally a quality manufacturer) broke, so now I'm going with BMW factory parts.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:46 PM   #1127
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Cleaned the throttle body on my '93 f150. I also cleaned the FI system using the brake booster vacuum line running to the intake manifold.

Any one have a favorite FI cleaner? I have used Berryman's and Seafoam in the past.
I like Techron concentrate by Chevron.
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Old 11-18-2015, 06:04 AM   #1128
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Update. 100 dollars later and The furnace is back to working. Issue was with the low voltage line from the Air handling board to the thermostat. I caused the issue with the thermostat replacement. That was quickly found. 10 dollars for another new 24 v transformer. - this time the furnace man put a fused line in place ( smart).

Then I asked him to go ahead and do a full safety inspection as it had been 3 years. He and I about an hour + disassembling the furnace burners and getting a good inspection of that and of the heat exchanger - Found 1 of 4 burners wasn't firing consistently, thermocouple also very dirty so pilot took quite a while to come on ... Tested the incoming propane pressure etc. Was worth calling an expert and in this case a good reminder to inspect the furnace once every year or two heading into the heating season.
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Old 11-18-2015, 08:43 AM   #1129
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10 dollars for another new 24 v transformer. - this time the furnace man put a fused line in place ( smart).
Wow, you got a technician who truly understands how the stuff works and made an improvement to the stock installation. Don't lose his name and phone number, that's a keeper.
Now, what >I'd< do is leave a note to myself (put inside the service panel?) about the modification ("check this fuse if furnace acts up, we put it in to protect the 24VDC transformer. Replacement fuse is 3A, Acme model 1234"). I've got these notes hidden all over the place--where to find the replacement filters for the water system, what type of washers go in a faucet, what color paint is on a wall, etc.

Similar idea: If a device has a warranty, I leave the receipt with the device. E.g. I taped the receipt for our microwave oven to the back of it, with a note to myself about the length of the warranty. If it crumps out I won't have to wonder when I bought it, how long the warranty is, and where the receipt is. If it's not practical to leave the paper receipt with the machine (e.g. lawnmower) I write on the device with permanent marker where the receipt is filed and when the device goes out of warranty. (With the mower I also make a note of the oil capacity and type, spark plug part #, etc).

As my memory has started to lose its edge, I've adapted with tricks . . .
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Old 11-20-2015, 12:42 AM   #1130
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....... already been through a couple transformers and a new air handling control board. What is strange is that the 120V side is what is burning out, not the 24V side on the transformer. Both control boards (original and new) resulted in same burned transformer. So, something is causing the 120V side of the transformer to get hot and burn up. I can ohm out the 24V side and it shows 12 ohms... the 120V side is open circuit. Can also smell transformer burn smell.... same on all three transformers (original and 2 purchased transformers).........
For quite a few years now, 120 VAC power transformers have built-in fusible links on the primary side. The fusible links are actually short lengths of smaller diameter wire that are tack-welded onto both ends of the primary winding. The other end of the links attach to the pins of the bobbin.

In an extreme overcurrent condition, whether caused by excessive load on the secondary, or a short in the primary winding, the smaller diameter wire will melt open. A non-repairable event.

My lawn sprinkler timer had a wall-wart power transformer to supply 24 VAC to the controller. The controller was SUPPOSED to be short-circuit protected from any short in sprinkler circuit sector wiring or valve solenoid. They did this by using a Triac in each sector as the on-off device, and a small resistance in series to develop potential over to monitor sector current, and shut down the Triac if sector current was too high.

However, when a valve solenoid suffered a winding short, it blew the Triac, and blew the fusible links in the wall wart. I had some spare sector circuit positions in the controller, so after I replaced the valve solenoid, I moved that sprinkler sector over to an unused one. I replaced the wall wart with a much larger multi-amp heavy-duty one I ordered from James Electronics. And for the real touch, I drilled a hole in the controller's front panel, and put in a 2 Amp push-to-reset circuit breaker I had into the secondary circuit.

The circuit breaker I had scavenged out of the previous controller... which was an electro-mechanical monster that put on a show when a sector ran. It had a big plastic wheel (think Ferris Wheel) that had little time knobs around the edge for each sector. That would connect and time the sectors, and there was a motor to run it. There were other wheels that were the day of week and time of day dials, and they had motors. And there was a bright yellow light that was on when a sector was running. There was a test mode, where you could check your programming, it would turn the big wheel and run each sector for maybe 15 seconds or so, then move on to the next one, a sped-up clock effect. The test mode was fun to watch! What a contraption!
But eventually, a motor was getting iffy, it would stall sometimes, so I replaced it with a smaller all-electronic sprinkler controller with LC Display and one knob, three push buttons, and a slide switch. No more show. But the old monster's 2 Amp circuit breaker lives on!
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Your recent repair?
Old 11-20-2015, 03:17 AM   #1131
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Your recent repair?

I love to do it myself. But I continue to learn the lesson that a little knowledge is dangerous. Then I come back to to .... "But how else will I expand my knowledge unless I TRY !! ".

It was a 200 dollar lesson but I learned by watching furnace man how to clean my thermocouple and inspect the burners and what to look for in terms of most likely faults. The fused secondary was a good idea that I should have, but didn't think of.

He also explained how the furnace purge valve and vacuum valve work.... In all it was worth calling in a tradesman who takes pride in his craft.

His is a one man operation and he got in the business starting age 6 from his dad's shop. He is around 58 so better than 50 years experience in heat and cooling ... Super nice guy wanting to make an income but not killing people.

I'll certainly call him again. Wish all tradesmen were like him.
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Old 11-20-2015, 03:24 AM   #1132
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One of my bathroom sinks has a dime size paint chip, no rust showing up yet. Does anyone have any experience using one of the porcelain repair kits found in the big box stores? Any recommendation? I'm guessing the biggest issue would be getting a good color match but even if it was off a little it would still look better than it does now.

I have used these porcelain repair kits. Can find good ones on eBay. Surface prep is key and a small Dremel tool with sanding wheel helps in that area.

Replaced my MIL's pink porcelain sink. Was in good shape , no chips, but from 1959 and she wanted a white one after all these years. I took the old one away, on a whim I put it on eBay, and sold for 200 bucks .

Guess lunch is on me next time
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Old 11-21-2015, 12:22 PM   #1133
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Rodent chewed away the connecting wire to the knock detector on our Vibe. Next day and $450 later, same lights appear on instrument cluster.
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Old 11-23-2015, 04:46 PM   #1134
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I have used these porcelain repair kits. Can find good ones on eBay. Surface prep is key and a small Dremel tool with sanding wheel helps in that area.
I ended up using a touch up kit for tubs and sinks that American Standard sells. Not a 100% color match but close, have to look real close to notice it, I'm satisfied. Time will tell how well it holds up.
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Old 11-23-2015, 05:16 PM   #1135
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Got gas at a gas station and brand (Quick-Check in NJ) I hadn't used before. Drove one mile and check engine light came on. Internet research and a trip to AutoZone to get codes read indicate either gas cap or some valve called canister purge valve. Debating what to do when. The current gas cap looks good, no rips, seals well, clicks normally. Hate to buy a new one for no good reason. Took a look at the canister purge valve, wondering if I should take it out and clean it. Or just put some fuel system cleaner in the tank and hope. At least the car still runs fine (knock on wood). Decisions, decisions.....
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Old 11-23-2015, 06:04 PM   #1136
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Got gas at a gas station and brand (Quick-Check in NJ) I hadn't used before. Drove one mile and check engine light came on. Internet research and a trip to AutoZone to get codes read indicate either gas cap or some valve called canister purge valve. Debating what to do when. The current gas cap looks good, no rips, seals well, clicks normally. Hate to buy a new one for no good reason. Took a look at the canister purge valve, wondering if I should take it out and clean it. Or just put some fuel system cleaner in the tank and hope. At least the car still runs fine (knock on wood). Decisions, decisions.....
I got that once and determined it was because I hadn't tightened the gas cap securely enough. Owner's manual said it would clear itself but only after driving some large number of miles. It did.
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Old 11-24-2015, 06:49 AM   #1137
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I got that once and determined it was because I hadn't tightened the gas cap securely enough. Owner's manual said it would clear itself but only after driving some large number of miles. It did.
The gas cap was on nice and tight. I pulled over to check the cap right away. I've driven about 80 miles since the light came on. The most common cause of the "check engine light after fillup" on the internet searches, after loose cap, was this canister purge valve, for my Nissan Versa. The valve itself looks fine, after I finally located it. But it may be carboned up inside, apparently. Youtube has some great videos on how to change it, or just remove it, clean it out, and replace it. Taking it to the dealer is out of the question. Way overpriced. So I'll take it slow, hope the light just goes out by itself, and wait for days above 45 degrees to work on it.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:13 AM   #1138
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The gas cap was on nice and tight.
Did you open the gas cap, and re-close it, or just check that it was tight? I think that sometimes a pressure build up from temperature change can trigger it as well, or re-seating the cap may help seal it. Just tightening may not do the trick. But it can take some time to clear. I wouldn't rush to do anything with that valve until I've fully eliminated the gas cap.

The light on DW's Honda CRV came on the other day after a big temperature swing, and she had filled up days before. I loosened it (and heard a 'woosh' I think), and re-seated it, and the warning went away two days later. We've never had this warning before, car is ~ 5 years old.

-ERD50
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:24 AM   #1139
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Rodent chewed away the connecting wire to the knock detector on our Vibe. Next day and $450 later, same lights appear on instrument cluster.
Back in the shop again. Auto insurance should cover some.

Trying to figure out an effective deterrent. Peppermint oil did not work. Trying mothballs and metal tape now.

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Old 11-24-2015, 02:09 PM   #1140
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Replaced my car AC condenser today, but with a twist. I hired a "mobile mechanic" off Craigslist to do the dirty work, while I supervised and directed. Ordinarily I wouldn't hire such a person, but he came with recommendations and indeed he was a good worker, if a little lacking in skill and tools. I bought a new Motorcraft condenser off Amazon for $100. The old condenser had leaked out the refrigerant along with a little green oil, so it was a DIY job at that point.

Tomorrow I'll take it in and have it evacuated and recharged. I saved about 1/2 over just taking it to the shop.
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