Our house was built in 1969 and it still has the original Rheem model. It's 80,000BTU. We are having problems with the pilot light not staying on, so we decided to call a service technician. They wanted almost $ to replace some parts. We decided to just have it replaced.
We've had 3 different local contractors come out and give estimates to replace it. I work a 45hr week, so my wife is the person in the home when these contractors come over to give us the estimate. I gotta be honest with you all, I'm pretty darn mad after seeing the 3 estimates and talking with my wife about what the contractors have told her.
Flat REFUSED to give us an estimate for an 80% efficient furnace. Gave my wife a 45 minute lecture on why she needed a 90%++ efficient furnace.
There's a REASON why we don't want the 90% efficient furnace. The basement is finished. We do not want to disturb any drywall because we were told when we bought the house that the drywall and mud could have asbestos in it. We do not want to disturb that drywall. In order to install a 90% furnace, we would have cut it open so the contractor could install the PVC pipes. In our minds, cutting open the dry wall is NOT an option - not at all.
He wanted roughly $ to install a 2-speed Trane model. Thats not going to work.
My wife and I game planned and I told her to make sure she was adamant about asking for a quote to install an 80% unit.
The man came over and he did give us a quote for a Carrier 80% furnace. He said something about installing (2) six inch "combustion" pipes. I don't understand what this means. I think that he is saying there will be a giant hole cut into the side of our house and he will install (2) metal pipes. These pipes are supposed to take air from the outside and dump it into the furnace room.
Why on earth would I want to cut 2 giant holes in the side of my house and allow freezing cold air to flow into my house?? That could freeze water pipes and I KNOW it's going to make the entire laundry room freezing cold.
He gave us a quote for roughly $ to install a Carrier furnace and the combustion air pipes. Thats fine. If I have to install the pipes then so be it. But he wants to route the pipes through a wall that I KNOW has plumbing waste lines running vertically though it. He took a flash light and showed my wife where he intended to run the 2 pipes. He's right, there's a joist space there and it would be an easy shot about 10 feet to the outside wall. But apparently he didn't think to look at the bathroom thats 2 feet away and he didn't think to go upstairs and see the other bathroom stacked right on top of the down stairs bathroom.
I'm no genius, but I know there's plumbing waste lines in that wall. I know the joist space is only 14 inches wide and I know there's at least 2 waste or vent lines in that wall. You can go outside on the back deck and look at my roof. You can clearly see there's 2 vent lines poking out of the roof - right smack over the top of that wall downstairs.
So, I have NO confidence that this 2nd contractor knew what he was talking about. This guy does this for a living. He's supposed to be a professional. Even I know enough about construction to see that you can't run 2 six inch pipes through a 14 inch joist space with 2 or 3 plumbing lines running in there too.
Wants to sell me some brand called Janitrol for $. Said nothing to my wife about combustion air pipes. When she prompted him about it, he said that since there is a louvered door on the furnace room, code says that I don't need those 2 combustion pipes.
He suggested a 90% furnace to my wife and said he would run a couple 3 inch PVC pipes through that same joist space that the other guy wanted to run the 6 inch pipes. He said he could see the plumbing lines, but it would be easy to run the smaller PVC pipes through there.
Thats great, but what he didn't take into account, is those pipes will exit under the deck and also directly under my back door. I have visions of a steaming exhaust pipe creating a large frozen ice skating rink right outside my back door on the deck. So thats not an option either. He quoted a Goodman 2-speed furnace for $.
None of these options seams like a good fit.
I've attached some pictures. I am going to attach them and then come back to edit this post and give a detailed description of what these pictures show.
1 - furnace and water heater. Notice duct soffit above.
2 - here's the soffit for the supply ducts. This could be asbestos - we were told this when we bought the house.
3 - bathroom door almost open
4 - bathroom door open all the way. There's no room to run (2) six inch pipes through here. Not if I ever want to open that bathroom door again.
5 - bathroom right next to the furnace room. You can see the soffit in the ceiling here. The upstairs bath tub and toilet are stacked on top of here, so obviously, the waste lines run down through the wall.
6 - joist space inside the furnace room. This is where they want to run the combustion pipes for an 80% furnace
7 - this is the joist space. Obviously we can see water lines. Too bad the camera flash won't light up this entire space. If it did, we'd see 2 waste lines running vertically from the upstairs bathroom down through floor.
8 - view from out the lower level bathroom window. This is my deck. It's about 36" off the ground.
9 - this is the location where the 6 inch combustion pipes would exit the house. One person suggested running PVC through the joist space and installing a 90% furnace. But my back door is above here. I know I'll end up with a skating rink here from all the steam. It's not really an option.