Considering a new furnace...how to make sense of the choices?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Considering a new furnace...how to make sense of the choices?

    Hi everyone.

    I have an older furnace that is in good working order, no issues. I can't determine the age, but I would guess older than 20 years. I bought the house about ten years ago, and the furnace has run without a hiccup.

    As far as climate zones go, average winter temperature spread is 35 f low, 45 f high, kind of moderate winters. (Tacoma, Washington area)

    I'm thinking about upgrading to a more efficient furnace, and want to get more educated before I get contractors out to my house, and start wading through the sales pitches.

    Now I'm down to determining what level of efficiency of unit, and which brand.

    I'm thinking something along the line of an 80%, two stage unit. Furnace only, no A/C.

    Now, with regards to brands, I'm overwhelmed with info, and not all of it positive. I have read about brand x (top level brand), with a history of failing heat exchangers, and another top shelf company with a class action lawsuit against them for quality issues.

    I've got a working, (although older and I'm certain less efficient) unit, and am absolutely terrified of "upgrading" my way into some POS furnace that is just one problem after another.

    The name brand is worthless if the quality control is questionable, or if service is an issue.

    Is there a comprehensive ranking that sorts these companies and models on mean time between failure, or anything like that? (yes, I'm an analysis freak..)

    Thoughts? Advice?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
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    1,077
    Quote Originally Posted by John01 View Post
    Hi everyone.

    I have an older furnace that is in good working order, no issues. I can't determine the age, but I would guess older than 20 years. I bought the house about ten years ago, and the furnace has run without a hiccup.

    As far as climate zones go, average winter temperature spread is 35 f low, 45 f high, kind of moderate winters. (Tacoma, Washington area)

    I'm thinking about upgrading to a more efficient furnace, and want to get more educated before I get contractors out to my house, and start wading through the sales pitches.

    Now I'm down to determining what level of efficiency of unit, and which brand.

    I'm thinking something along the line of an 80%, two stage unit. Furnace only, no A/C.

    Now, with regards to brands, I'm overwhelmed with info, and not all of it positive. I have read about brand x (top level brand), with a history of failing heat exchangers, and another top shelf company with a class action lawsuit against them for quality issues.

    I've got a working, (although older and I'm certain less efficient) unit, and am absolutely terrified of "upgrading" my way into some POS furnace that is just one problem after another.

    The name brand is worthless if the quality control is questionable, or if service is an issue.

    Is there a comprehensive ranking that sorts these companies and models on mean time between failure, or anything like that? (yes, I'm an analysis freak..)

    Thoughts? Advice?

    Thanks.
    Same thing happens with cars....
    Pick a good installing company and a brand with a good warranty.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    4,131
    The main thing is not to oversize, otherwise you are throwing your money away on a 2 stage. The idea is the 1st stage won't be able to do the job during design conditions and the 2nd stage will then kick in. Know the size of your current furnace and how much it is on and off each cycle when it gets really cold outside. A 40k furnace will work in a 2000 sqft house down to about a 20 degree outdoor temperature if it's insulated decent and the ductwork is in good shape.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
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    15,774
    Depending on the size of your TV, sometimes folks might need to oversize a little.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Toledo, Ohio, United States
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    Twilly says bigger the tv the better. Twilly got modulating tv.
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  6. #6
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    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twilly View Post
    Twilly says bigger the tv the better. Twilly got modulating tv.
    Mr Bill got him one of them there 2 stage TV's I can watch Wagon Train and the Lone Ranger at the same time.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

    "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart". - Unknown

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Houston area
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    Mr Bill got him one of them there 2 stage TV's I can watch Wagon Train and the Lone Ranger at the same time.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Get one like I did, an 80" tri-modulating Sharp Aquos and you can do all that, eat some Gravy Train and watch America's Team at the same time!

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    The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....

    ¯`·.¸¸ .·´¯`· .¸>÷÷(((°>

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    6,210
    A heat pump would most likely be your best choice in that climate. If installed, ducted and sealed properly you will get very close to the same output temp as a high efficiency furnace with better efficiency as long as your electric rates are not very high.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by 54regcab View Post
    The main thing is not to oversize, otherwise you are throwing your money away on a 2 stage. The idea is the 1st stage won't be able to do the job during design conditions and the 2nd stage will then kick in. Know the size of your current furnace and how much it is on and off each cycle when it gets really cold outside. A 40k furnace will work in a 2000 sqft house down to about a 20 degree outdoor temperature if it's insulated decent and the ductwork is in good shape.
    The existing furnace does not cycle very much, although I have not timed it between cycles, and have not timed how long it runs when on. House is reasonably insulated, about 2500 sq ft. On the furnace data plate, it says input BTU is 123,000. Would that be 123k?

  10. #10
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    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by John01 View Post
    The existing furnace does not cycle very much, although I have not timed it between cycles, and have not timed how long it runs when on. House is reasonably insulated, about 2500 sq ft. On the furnace data plate, it says input BTU is 123,000. Would that be 123k?
    Yeah, that would be 125 thousand. Way bigger then needed for your climate area.
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  11. #11
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    Jun 2001
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    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
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    40-60K should be good for 2500sqft, have a load calculation done.

  12. #12
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    Nov 2000
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    Eastern PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by John01 View Post
    The existing furnace does not cycle very much, although I have not timed it between cycles, and have not timed how long it runs when on. House is reasonably insulated, about 2500 sq ft. On the furnace data plate, it says input BTU is 123,000. Would that be 123k?
    Yes, 123,000 Btu is the same as 123k. It is not the input that matters, but rather the output. If your furnace is an 80% efficient furnace, it's output heating your house is 98,400 Btu, but if your furnace is 95% efficient, you have 116,850 Btu of heat being pumped into your house.

    If you are located in a fairly northern part of the world, your furnace may be fine for your application.
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  13. #13
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    Jan 2004
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    John, I broke this out of the thread so you may get some other opinions.
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