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  1. #1
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    Dec 2009
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    Design problems with HE furnaces?

    After reading posts in this group, and with my own experience, I am wondering if there are design problems with HE furnaces. One problem is severe radio interference (both AC and battery radios, inside and outside the house) which at least one manufacturer has to some degree corrected by supplying a special kit for the inducer motor. Another problem involves venting, with animals and insects able to block outside vents which have no protection against entry. Still another issue is increased use of electricity (i.e. from coal fired generators which produce more carbon emissions than gas and may actually worsen the end environmental effect).

  2. #2
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    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by BusyB View Post
    After reading posts in this group, and with my own experience, I am wondering if there are design problems with HE furnaces. One problem is severe radio interference (both AC and battery radios, inside and outside the house) which at least one manufacturer has to some degree corrected by supplying a special kit for the inducer motor. Another problem involves venting, with animals and insects able to block outside vents which have no protection against entry. Still another issue is increased use of electricity (i.e. from coal fired generators which produce more carbon emissions than gas and may actually worsen the end environmental effect).
    Increased use of electricity, is an install problem. Not a furnace problem.

    Birds, and squirrels are a problem with standard efficiency furnaces also.

    Use to have radio interference problems with old oil burner ignition transformers. And some of the old blower motors on both gas and oil furnaces. So nothing really new about the RF problem.
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  3. #3
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    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Increased use of electricity, is an install problem. Not a furnace problem.

    Birds, and squirrels are a problem with standard efficiency furnaces also.

    Use to have radio interference problems with old oil burner ignition transformers. And some of the old blower motors on both gas and oil furnaces. So nothing really new about the RF problem.
    You're a good moderator. ("Moderation in all things"--Henry David Thoreau)

    It would seem that having two blowers running might use more electricity (though I acknowledge newer motors are more efficient), and the longer running time before (non-adjustable according to installer instruction manual) and after might be considerations.

    I dealt with pests (which you correctly identify as an ongoing problem) by a chimney cap.

    The interference is new to me--didn't run into it with oil burners in one previous house and in the current house when I bought it, or with the previous furnace (Chrysler AirTemp) which ran close to 50 years. Being in the broadcasting business I am probably more observant of these things than some other folks and it is important for me to be able to receive out of town stations, though there are quite a few complaints on the Internet of this problem with HE's. I also know an engineer who without seeing my system conjectured the culprit might be a high frequency transformer involved in the inducer motor. Evidently some brands do not have this problem.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    Blower motor efficiency varies with which type motor you have.

    A VS blower. On a proper duct system can run twice as long, and only use as much electric as your old motor did.

    The inducer motor is also a very low wattage motor.

    So if your old unit ran 20 minutes. A new furnace can run for 30 minutes and still use less electric then your old one did.

    You might want to get a TED electric monitor. And see where your electric usage is highest.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Humidifier manufacturer advises it is normal for dripping to occur from end of drain pipe into floor drain during operation. I may put a container under the outlet, or check the water meter when the unit is running, to see just how much water is "going down the drain." I can't help but think of the water companys' warning that "a dripping faucet can use hundreds of dollars in water per year"!

    And, naturally, something else! While crawling around on the floor scoping leaks I noticed a red light on the furnace flashing about once per minute! The manual has a key as to what flashes mean and mentions every number of flashes but one! Maybe one flash just means the monitor is working. Wish manuals were more communicative.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    Known as a heart beat. Means everything is normal, and no call for heat or cooling.

    Flow through humidifiers use up to 6 gallons an hour of on time. Depends on size of humidifier, and orifice used.
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  7. #7
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    Sep 2002
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    I haven't had an RF complaint in years and never from a gas furnace 70, 80 or 90+. Old oil furnace sure, and there was always a bleeding 10,000vt transformer to blame. More RF interference from these new fangled wireless modems. Drives my FD pager crazy.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    14
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Known as a heart beat. Means everything is normal, and no call for heat or cooling.

    Flow through humidifiers use up to 6 gallons an hour of on time. Depends on size of humidifier, and orifice used.
    That's reassuring. So flatlining wouldn't be good.

    What a font of information (or more appropriately in this instance, "fount") Seems like a lot and doesn't seem to square with water saving toilets and faucets. Maybe I could save it and use for washing the car!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    14
    Quote Originally Posted by heaterman View Post
    I haven't had an RF complaint in years and never from a gas furnace 70, 80 or 90+. Old oil furnace sure, and there was always a bleeding 10,000vt transformer to blame. More RF interference from these new fangled wireless modems. Drives my FD pager crazy.
    Evidently RFI is pretty common in HE's, enough so that Trane/American Std/Etc. has designed a kit to deal with the issue.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    523
    Kit? Thats like a furnace coming with duct work. If you have a problem with electromagnetic interference then buy a suppressor for it. Most manufactures will sell you one too (I know Lennox and Trane) but you can find better, less expensive suppressors at a local electronic supply.

    I've only really had an issue with this on equipment equipped with a variable frequency drive motor (G71) and it only effected the persons AM radio listening. Suppressor fixed it.

    The additional electric to operate a HE furnace is worth it. 120v x 1a = 120w. And what are we comparing this too? A natural vent (inducerless) furnace? So 60-70%. I'm pretty sure 25-35% less gas usage WELL covers that inducer. Plus if the unit has a VS motor it will use much less electric anyway, like mentioned already.

    Seriously this is like saying a standing pilot ignition system is better because hot surface uses too much electric. Hehe...

    Pest and stuff coming into the venting is more of an issue with natural vent and 80% induced for me. Since then vent through the roof, the vent is exposed to more animals and such. However kids throwing toys down the flue pipes on a HE has been a issue I've seen a FEW times (3-4 times ever).

    The government gives these tax credits because they want you to use less power. Obviously there is something to say about that too....

  11. #11
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    Aug 2007
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    170
    Trane's RF kit is actually new shielded cables for the inducer wiring harness.

  12. #12
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    Sep 2002
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    Northeast Ohio
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    Funny, no problems with my Luxaire / York equipment.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  13. #13
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    Jul 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by heaterman View Post
    Funny, no problems with my Luxaire / York equipment.
    I had one customer complain about static when the furnace ran, it was the york modulating PC9 series causing it. Got a RF kit from York, problem solved! I think he was also listening to AM radio too!

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