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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    21

    Need a pro in Allentown, PA

    My Grandma's house had a Bryant Model BN-35e warm air oil furnace installed in 86? I think. It is now been red tagged and for good reason. It is flowing more oil into the furnace than needed(tech's words). Running but will not restart after being off for long and requires to be reset then in rumbles for a bit but runs.

    Last time in was serviced was on a no-heat call. Fixed with new nozzle & ignitors and burning at 71% eff.

    My oil company. has serviced and delivered the oil for most of it's life. They red tagged today after I called about the problem above. I kinda knew it was going to happen.

    So it needs replacement and the salesman came by, took some duct measurements but never actually did a load calc or anything like that. When I informed him she had no real cold air returns(basically voids in the floor with sheetmetal around them) he just kinda ignored me.

    I also expressed complete lack or airflow to the upstairs and again he seemed not that interested.

    Currently the house is vacant so it can sit cold for a while, I already turned off the water main and drained the pipes. I need someone willing to at least talk to me on those issues and any others I don't know about.

    I looked at the contractor map and no one is really close to my area so that is why I came looking for help. Also they want to install an Armstrong Oil Furnace as a replacement.
    Last edited by beenthere; 02-11-2013 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Removed company name

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Broomall, PA
    Posts
    383
    Little bit out of my area. Whenever I see the repair was "new nozzle & ignitors" I'm always skeptical. The problem wasnt found, and the issue wasnt fixed. "It is flowing more oil into the furnace than needed(tech's words)." is about the worse, most uneducated answer I've ever heard. I don't even know what that means. Unless the heat exchanger is cracked, it can be repaired. Sure 1986 install & 71% efficiency are more then enough reason to replace it.
    You really do need someone to come in and give the whole system a look over, and possible re-design, especially regarding the ductwork and airflow. Any furnace chosen wont fix those problems.
    You didnt say if you had/or are going to install AC. One possibility (if a competent professional agrees) repair furnace for backup, and install a mini split. This was done at my helpers house (Philly suburbs) and he didnt run the furnace at all this winter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    21
    I know a little about HVAC(just enough to be dangerous I bet lol) and as it shuts down it rumbles and that is where his(more oil than needed) comment came in.

    The no-heat call it was actually the ignitors arcing against the nozzle causing a lot of issues. It was "fixed" by another relative for next to free before this because of no-heat as well. The tech then pretty much said he should not be working in the business if this is his quality of work.

    I've looked into the combustion chamber and there is soot on the back wall where the flame hits. I know the ductwork should be looked at and replaced if needed. It was all run outside the walls in conditioned space. The house is solid brick with stucco on the outside and plaster(i think) inside. I also wondered about putting in A/C as a potential selling feature but never discussed it.

    I know, I love the mini-split idea. My in-laws did this in their home and they haven't used oil much during this winter. It was mainly done because of summer comfort and noise from the 14,000btu window unit's they used. It can throw out some heat though, man I was impressed. I would love that for my house but with an odd floor plan it would be tough.

    Anyone you could recommend? I just want an accurate load calc done so the unit will not short cycle and address the upstairs comfort issue.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,763
    Sounds like tech has no idea of what the real problem is. Flowing more oil into furnace then it needed, is a blowing smoke at you diagnostic.

    See if Essig serves your area. They're out of Reading.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Sounds like tech has no idea of what the real problem is. Flowing more oil into furnace then it needed, is a blowing smoke at you diagnostic.

    See if Essig serves your area. They're out of Reading.
    They say they service Lehigh county so I'll give them a call. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    21
    I called Essig and Hannaberry and will report back. My main concern is that I want the comfort issues solved as a plus when the house gets sold. Showing someone a house with a 70F downstairs but 60F upstairs doesn't work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    21
    So as I said the first contractor that red tagged it. Gave me a 5 min quote and was out the door. He is using Armstrong.

    I was wrong about age, the furnace is from the late 60's I bet. '86 is when a new oil-fired HW Heater was installed. It has since been replaced with electric.

    The second contractor was more thorough and I helped him measure the square ft. of the house. I don't think he did a heat calc but I could be wrong. He presented an idea about moving the thermostat to a location where it is not surrounded by heat vents. I good idea I thought. He measured the duct work and believes that it can push enough CFM to reach the upstairs with newer equipment. He also suggested cutting back the register in the bathroom as it is oversized for size of the room. Also removing a register at the bottom of the stairs as well. He is using Airtemp. He also adding a quote for A/C.

    Third guy comes today from another company.

    These were all lowboy furnaces as well BTW.

    I also have a friends husband who used to work for the 3rd company but retired and still does jobs on the side for friends only. He is also interested to see the scope of work. I am worried about warranty though if not installed by a company. He is a good person from what I've heard and never left on bad terms.

    We will see though. I can tell this was needed all along, the old furnace was using a 1.00 gal/hr nozzle and all these are being quoted as half that. She should have done this years ago.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,763
    Yep, would have saved some money on the oil bill.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    21
    3rd contractor came and I believe is doing a heat calc because he measured and counted all the windows and which sides they were facing, etc...Being pretty thorough. It doesn't matter though.

    It is out of my hands however my grandmother who sad to say isn't 100% with us anymore(alzheimer) choose the first contractor already mentioned. They been always there when she needed oil so they must be reliable. Her words and to say I'm pissed is an understatement, this wasn't something that needed to be rushed into. The house is vacant and plumbing drained so it is in no danger. I was informed through a 3rd party to which again is another thorn. I kept them informed about everything. Ugh...sorry for the rant. Thanks for help.

    It was never going to be MY choice but I wanted every aspect looked at just to be sure.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,763
    Thanks for the update.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    21
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    Well stopped by today to look at the removal and install, the techs aren't very happy with the salesman pushing a vertical highboy furnace where a lowboy used to sit. A lowboy was $ more he just pushed it based on cost. Apparently though this isn't the first time he's done this so coupled with the denial of the asbestos insulated ductwork(I even knew it was). They are going to power through it though. I snapped one pic of the heat exchanger in the truck.

    I'll get pics of the finished install.
    Last edited by beenthere; 02-14-2013 at 05:36 PM. Reason: price

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,763
    Lowboys are fun to take out of basements.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Easton, PA
    Posts
    21
    Ok so not sure how I should feel about this install now....

    The very top of the supply side is not taped and as far as I can tell no joints used mastic. I really don't understand the return side, why didn't they just taper it down?

    You will have to grab the filter with pliers to get it out and it sucks in air so it does not make a perfect seal. You get what you pay for it seems since they were the lowest bid so far.

    It's not my house so that's where I leave it.
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