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Furnace woes....

Distinguished Professor III

Furnace woes....

A couple of weeks ago I woke up from a nap due to it being cold in my house.  It turned out that my furnace hadn't kicked on.  I went down to take a look, and I took an ignitor with me, as this furnace ruins one about every three or four years and I always have one on hand because of it.  Well, the ignitor in the furnace came on, but it didn't seem bright enough, and the gas didn't ignite, so I thought that was the problem.  I replaced it, and it then worked.  But, later in the day I noticed it was a little cold.  I turned the thermostat up and the furnace didn't kick on.  I then turned the thermostat far down, then back up again, and the furnace kicked on.  I thought that maybe that was just a fluke.  

 

Fast forward to this morning, and it was cold in the house again.  Sure enough, the furnace wouldn't come on.  I called to let my folks know, as they own the house, and told them I would call them back when I know something.  Just before I went outside to go to the basement, the furnace kicked on.  

 

I still went down to take a look, and while it was running the gas valve shut off the gas.  UGH!!!  So, I tried a few things, but to no avail.  I came back up to call my folks to let them know, and then waited for them to call me back.  They did, but they had a hard time talking to the furnace guy, as he was on a cell phone and wasn't getting very good reception, so I asked for the number so I could try.  I got hold of him, and he said he would send someone later in the afternoon.  

 

Well, to finish with this story, they're coming tomorrow to install a new furnace.  $4,000.  Smiley Sad Smiley Sad Smiley Sad   It turns out that the heat exchanger is rusted terribly, and because of it, it's flaking off inside.  It's not cracked yet, but that would be soon enough.  When the gas ignites, the flame is blowing back a bit instead of staying fully in the burner tubes, so it's not getting the proper air flow.  It's enough flow to satisfy the safety devices, like the draft proving switch for the exhaust, but it's still not working properly.  It's also causing the burner to cut off prematurely due to a high temperature limit, which is a safety device, tripping.  So, it cutting off is what it's supposed to do when it's not running properly.  The edges around the heat exchanger are also rusting terribly.  Basically, it's on its last leg, and barely limping along.  It's a very damp basement, and that surely doesn't help.  I have a little electric milk house heater, and I borrowed my folks electric bathroom heater, just in case the furnace finally dies altogether overnight.  It runs long enough to keep it somewhat warm in here, but it's definitely seen better days.  I'm not sure when it was installed, but the date code label says 1993.  So, yeah, it's old.  Plus, it was a budget brand (Janitrol).  They're putting a Tempstar in tomorrow.  I've no experience with Tempstar, but I do with Heil, their sister brand, and they're decent.   

 

A couple good things that will happen tomorrow with the system, though.  They're going to fix the return line, which was kind of jerry rigged by whoever installed the furnace.  They're also going to install a couple of supplies into the basement.  This will not only help to keep the basement a bit warmer in the winter, but also drier.  It will also help to alleviate the high pressure on the woefully inadequate supply side of the system.  This house only has four 2x12 supply registers, which is very little supply surface area.  The return is 20x20.  So 400 square inches of return, but only 96 square inches of supply, which means the furnace is being choked on the supply side.  The supply should be nearly triple that, so those two extra supplies in the basement will help to alleviate that issue.  We could have them install a couple more supply registers on the main floor of the house, but that would cost more to do, and we're trying to keep the cost down.  And, I can do that myself at a later time, as well as making those 2x12 supplies 4x12, which wouldn't be terribly difficult.  A reciprocating saw, a few duct fittings, a couple of boxes of 7" flex to replace the 6" round supply pipe to each register, and some new registers.  To be honest, as choked as the supply side has been, I'm shocked that the blower motor hasn't died, as it's under a lot of stress trying to push the proper amount of air through openings (the registers) that are too small.  It's almost like trying to breathe through a straw.  

 

I feel awful for my folks, though.  They just had to replace their floor furnace over the summer, then their water heater developed a leak in the fall and it had to be replaced.  Now this.  $8,000 worth of heating appliance replacements of one type or another in a six month period.  Smiley Sad  Plus, two years ago they had to replace their wall furnace, which wasn't cheap, either.  The only thing left now is my water heater, which is older than theirs was.  I'm knocking on wood until my knuckles ache with that one.  

 

And, to top it off, they have to replace my roof next year with a metal one.  THAT will cost a pretty penny, I can tell you.  Probably the most expensive thing yet.  Theirs was seven or eight thousand when they had it replaced six or seven years ago.  My house is smaller, so it will be less, but it will still cost three arms and five legs.  

 

I'm so exhausted.  Smiley Sad  


AMD FX-6100 | Samsung 250GB 840 EVO SSD | Western Digital Blue 500GB HDD | 16GB DDR3-1866 | EVGA Geforce GTX 550ti | Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
11 REPLIES 11
Professor

Re: Furnace woes....

Jeez, @GabeU, that stinks.  Have they installed the new (and very expensive!) furnace?  

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Distinguished Professor III

Re: Furnace woes....

@maratsade

 

Yep, it's in.  It's working, and working well, but yeah, we got hosed.  Not much of a choice, I guess.  What makes matters worse is that I used to sell HVAC equipment, so I know how badly we're getting hosed.  Smiley Sad   

 

Granted, there was some 18" heavy insulated flex, a reducing supply plenum, a boxed return plenum, a few sheet metal fittings, three supply registers and about six hours work for two guys.  I guess somehow those things equate to well over $2000, as the furnace, in reality, costs well under $1500.  

 

Then again, like any business, they have to make a profit, and if they only charged for things at their cost and only charged for the actual cost of their time they would make very little.  So, I get it, but I just didn't expect it to be THAT high.  I figured anywhere from $3000 to $3500, depending on how long it took and what materials they had to use.  $4000 was a bit of a shock, but at least now I have heat.  And, with the rebates that my folks may be eligible for, they may get a few hundred back, so it may end up being closer to what I thought in the end.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one.  

 

They were nice guys and they did get it done pretty quickly.  They also didn't mind me checking in on them a few times throughout the day.  Smiley Tongue  

 

There was an issue of it short cycling, but it turned out that the installers forgot to change the orientation of the condensate trap.  It comes pre-installed for an upright installation, but this was a horizontal installation.  So, about an hour after they left their head mechanic got here and had it fixed within twenty minutes.  He could immediately see what was wrong and easily changed it.  

 

My house, OTOH, was a mess.  The basement floor is pretty much mud, due to it being a dirt floor and snow melting around the house, with some of the melt draining through the rock foundation.  I had to come in the house a few times to quickly check the thermostat and the airflow from the registers when it was short cycling, so my mud tracks were on the floor.  Ugh! 

 

But, in the end, I have heat.  Smiley Happy Smiley Happy Smiley Happy  Now, after getting roughly five hours of sleep in 47 hours, I'm a bit tired.  I think I'll sleep very well tonight.  Smiley Tongue  


AMD FX-6100 | Samsung 250GB 840 EVO SSD | Western Digital Blue 500GB HDD | 16GB DDR3-1866 | EVGA Geforce GTX 550ti | Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Professor

Re: Furnace woes....

Well, that was quite the ordeal. One hopes you're all set for a long time now!  The labour charges are usually pretty steep, indeed. Recently I had a plumber over, and on going over the invoice, I noticed a very healthy charge for "trip." That was in addition to parts and labour.  So the travel time may be part of your bill too.  We have no choice unless we all become Renaissance men, so we just bend over and think of England (or America, as the case may be). Smiley Wink

 

And think, now you have your own mud pit! Bonus! Smiley Wink

Re: Furnace woes....


@@@@GabeU wrote:
.......................................................................................................................  To be honest, as choked as the supply side has been, I'm shocked that the blower motor hasn't died, as it's under a  of stress trying to push the proper amount of air through openings (the registers) that are too small.  It's almost like trying to breathe through a straw.  

 

  Take it from this old retired industrial electrician ( 20 years ), it's actually just the opposite, the amp load on a centrifugal blower or pump actually goes down, if the discharge is restricted. 

 

  Sorry to hear about your problems though,  With a house, it seems like it's always something.  Mine is fifteen years old, and  I just replaced my AC ($3800 ), bladder tank ($400), and water heater ($400).  I also just had a whole house generator installed ($11500).  Now I worry about the well ($4500), and septic tank drain field ($2500).   Ah, but the joys of country living!

 

  BTW I hear the summer is real nice up by the lake where you live -- all three days of it!  Smiley Embarassed)>

 

"O Oysters,' said the Carpenter,
You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none —
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one."

 

Lewis Carroll

Distinguished Professor III

Re: Furnace woes....


@gaines_wright wrote: 
Take it from this old retired industrial electrician ( 20 years ), it's actually just the opposite, the amp load on a centrifugal blower or pump actually goes down, if the discharge is restricted.  

Well, that would explain why it never died.  It makes me feel better about this new system, too, as nothing's changed.


AMD FX-6100 | Samsung 250GB 840 EVO SSD | Western Digital Blue 500GB HDD | 16GB DDR3-1866 | EVGA Geforce GTX 550ti | Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
New Member

Re: Furnace woes....

I’m confused on why there tech is so far behind And yet there one of the most expensive. Not to mention how hard they make it to cancel..
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Professor

Re: Furnace woes....

What are you talking about? I think you may be in the wrong area of the site. This conversation is about a person's furnace. 

 

EDIT: if you're talking about Hughesnet technology, it is not behind at all. It is state of the art satellite technology.  They should not be compared with terrestrial cable as they are completely different and work differently.  It is expensive because the technology is very expensive to implement. 

 

They don't make it hard to cancel at all.  You can cancel at any time by picking up the phone and calling them. There is a cancellation fee, and this is something all ISPs have, not just Hughesnet.

 

*I am not a Hughesnet employee or representative. This is a customer-to-customer tech support community, and I am a customer.

 

@Millsap49 wrote:
I’m confused on why there tech is so far behind And yet there one of the most expensive. Not to mention how hard they make it to cancel..

 

Senior Instructor

Re: Furnace woes....

...also it's 'their tech' and 'they're one'

#irony


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.
Junior

Re: Furnace woes....

LOL, for a second there I thought Hughes Net went into the furnace business.