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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    atlanta
    Posts
    10

    where's the quality today?

    Hello Guys,

    I've been reading threads for weeks now and I just keep having this thought...

    It's not directed toward anyone particular and I don't mean to upset anyone...

    But, it seems like the quality of furnaces and a/c units, even though they may be more effecient and the like, or not near the quality the were 25 years ago...

    I read about people having there furnace for 25 plus years but then keep reading how their x-brand furnace only lasting 5 years or so. Why is it that things that were purchased 5 to 10 years ago are breaking when stuff from 20 years ago and back still works? Just seems a shame that today's furnaces and a/c's don't last 40 years. I know that you guys know more than the last generation, so why don't the products we make last longer than products from the last generation? Respectfully, furrcoat

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Lancaster,Ohio
    Posts
    464
    It all depends on your diffenition of quality. If you are comparing old verse new, old is heavy and new is light. We could not afford items today using the same amount of materials that they once did. But on the other hand, today, we use a fraction of the material, and our products outperform products of old on a scale that can't be compared. The truth is that our lowest quality products of today outperforms the best quality products of yesterday.
    IcyFlame

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,311
    Heavier metal costs more and transfers heat less. Standing pilots waste gas. Many customers are price driven. Government regs require higher efficiency. These reasons and more add up to answer your infamous question.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    WYO
    Posts
    2,019
    Your not just talking about furnaces, but about lots of things.
    My mom still uses her moms toaster. See how long a new one lasts now. Programmed obsolesence is built into lots of devices. Furnaces now are unique, and I believe most will last 20+ yrs. or more if installed correctly and maintained regularly. They may need a couple of repairs, but if someone has to replace equipment in 5-10 yrs, there was a reason other than equipment quality.
    never say never

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Near Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,317
    I have pulled out 40+ year old furnaces, and I wonder what it would cost to manufacture the same thing today. One had a heat exchanger that weighed every bit of 300 pounds (had to bust it up to make it light enough to remove), and the 2 burners were 9" square chunks of cast iron.

    It probably took two guys at least a day to assemble the thing, too.

    Homes are tighter and made with things that give off vapors that corrode metals. Construction is year round, and builders demand heat. Using the HVAC equipment to heat a building during construction probably takes 5 years off the lifespan. Doubly sucky is the fact that bulders want cheap, so the HVAC equipment is likely bottom of the line.

    Modern equipment is made as cheap as possible to shave costs, which effects the type of materials used. Light gauge heat exchangers are not tolerant of long term temperatures at the upper end of design limits. This happens when ductwork is poorly designed/installed. Poor design/installation is a result of builders/homeowners not wanting to spend any money.

    A 20 year old AC coil is gonna weigh a lot more than a new one.

    Electronic controls are sensitive to power problems. Do you think those electronic controls are premium USA made mil-spec components, or the cheapest stuff made in China?

    Equipment has a designed number of on/off cycles, and oversize equipment results in more on/off cycles.

    I know people that work for residential shops that are allowed 1 (one) hour to tie in an AC condenser and indoor coil. Unload it from the truck, mount the brackets to the foundation, lift the condenser into place, connect the copper inside and out, clean up and hit the next one. Notice I made no mention of a vacuum pump or nitrogen purge. Nothing but quality there, and this type of work is the norm- not the exception.

    It's all about the money. The number of people wanting to pay for a 40 year furnace or AC equipment/job are far outnumbered by the number of people that want it done as quickly/cheaply as possible.
    Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

    "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too little.
    When you pay too much, you lose a little money -- that is all. When you pay too little, you may lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

    John Ruskin


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California/Nevada
    Posts
    3,627
    if you make a product that lasts 40 years , how many do you sell in 40 years?

    1 per customer


    if you make a product that lasts 10 years , how many do you sell in 40 years?

    4 per customer


    the few 410 systems i've seen in the field , many of them were leaking from the pressure switch.

    me no like.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,898
    Cost.

    Most HO's wouldn't want to pay the price of that same quality.

    But don't forget. Those 40 year old units are also wasting alot of fuel.
    Do you really want a unit that puts 35 bucks out of every 100 bucks up the chimney.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,077
    Been hit the nail on the head.

    Day after day HOs are beating us down on price. Low bid gets the job even if he is cutting corners or using cheaper equipment.

    They beat on us, we beat on distributor, distributor beats on factory, factory finds ways to cut corners. Thinner metal, cheaper components made in 3rd world factories... even making stuff in their own 3rd world factory.

    There still is one furnace made today like 40 years ago. ThermoPride. But it has the smallest market share of anything out there. Few will pay for the ultimate in quality.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Orange County, NY
    Posts
    936
    I hear you, I still play my Atari because it works. My XBox has long since burnt up.

    Core

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    atlanta
    Posts
    10
    Your answers have been exellent and informative, thanks. That is, everyone's execpt the guy that said you can sell more units if you build junk. That's not the way America is supposed to be and I don't accept that answer....

    I understand that the quality of the product is light years ahead of what was made 30 years ago. It's quite amazing actually with 90+ furnances and heat pumps being a/c's that also work in reverse for heat.

    It's amazing how much you guys know about HVAC. It's a priviledge to gather a little bit of knowledge from reading your threads. I know I need to do everything possible on my part to insure that I am getting a quality install and then need to decide how much I am willing to pay for a quality furnace and a/c. That's what I gotten out of this...quality is out there for a price and installation is as important as the equipment and maybe more.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Northeast Missouri
    Posts
    172
    It may not be the quality of the product that is the problem, but quality of the installs will determine the length of serviceability. I have replaced many of furnaces under ten years old and improper installations were the contributing factor for failure. Incorrect flue sizes/exhaust piping and no return air or lack of return air to name a few.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Near Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by furrcoat View Post
    Your answers have been exellent and informative, thanks. That is, everyone's execpt the guy that said you can sell more units if you build junk. That's not the way America is supposed to be and I don't accept that answer....
    You obviously don't understand how Wall Street works. Wall Street runs America if you are the CEO of a publicly held company. Wall Street is about next quarters profits, not how "good" your product is.

    It's all about the money
    Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

    "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too little.
    When you pay too much, you lose a little money -- that is all. When you pay too little, you may lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

    John Ruskin


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    WYO
    Posts
    2,019
    My teacher in tech school 25 yrs ago said the major manufacts. of refrigerators had a secret convention in 1957, I beleive in Denver,because they had sold almost everyone in America a fridge, and sales were plummeting. One man. took a spring out of a relay and calculated it would last x0,000 cycles. Another did something to the compressor, @ so on...
    They also restyled em and painted them different etc. to revitalize the market.
    I don't know if what he was telling us was true, But I believe it to be with our throw away society of today. Good engineering doesn't build lifetime consumable products, It builds reusable products as cheap as possible,as safe as possible, with the profit margin as the guideline of all involved.
    never say never

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