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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    6

    Confused

    Hi, I would just like to start off by saying thank god for this forum. There really aren't too many resources online for home heating it seems. Ill start off by letting you know my situation. My plan is to replace my OLD natural gas guzzling furnaces.... Yes I said furnaces, as in 2, which both have a combined age of 74 yrs(37yrs each) of service. I am currently writing this post at work so I dont have access to the specs of the furnaces, but I believe the model names were Aircon or something close to that. One heats the upstairs, and one the downstairs, and while they both still function fine aside from being QUITE loud, they are definately not efficient, as last winter I recall one month the heat bill was over 300 dollars for a 1050 sq ft house, that seems unacceptable to me(and gas prices are higher this year). About the only maintenance Ive done is replace the bearings on one, and change the filters (probably not often enough). We've only lived in this house 3 years, but I dont want to go another winter with inefficient furnaces(that sound like a train rumbling by). My first course of action is calling a company for an EnerGuide for Houses evaluation, which is how Canadians(such as myself)can qualify for a federal grant which will compensate you for being more environmentally friendly in reducing emmissions. Anyways, I feel lost as this is my first home and Ive never had to go through this process before. This house evaluation seems like a decent idea though, you get a score when you are first evaluated, 0-100 (0 being the low end, and 100 being the most efficient house) and you get an outline as to what deficiencies your home has from poor windows, to your furance and so on. Then you have 18 months to correct as many deficiencies as you want, then call the inspector back to see what you have corrected and you get rescored. The difference in the score equates to how much of a grant you get dollar wise. I just have so many questions, my first question would have been which brand of furnace do I buy, but from browsing this site it seems like you guys feel that the install is more important than the brand(aside from Goodman), right now im considering Carrier, and Lennox? Anyways, with our high gas prices, and COLD winters in Canada im thinking the highest efficiency furnace is the way to go, but being that its an older home, does that matter in the choice? and the high efficiency furnaces need plastic piping or something? would that be a problem? How does one know if a company is going to be good at installations, what kind of questions do I ask the prospective installation companies?? Another thing I was wondering, being that my house is currently using 2 furnaces, would 2 small high efficiency furnaces be the way to go?, or just replace 2 with one?? OK this post is getting excessive, so I will stop for now, sorry I realize that was way too long of a post but it was my first so bare with me. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,301
    http://www.johnmills.net/work/advice.html
    http://www.johnmills.net/compare/compare90.html

    Probably not wise to try to combine 2 smaller furnaces into 1. It will be a comfort compromise for sure.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    2,927
    Originally posted by happy gilmore26
    1050 sq ft house, being that my house is currently using 2 furnaces, would 2 small high efficiency furnaces be the way to go?, or just replace 2 with one?? Thank you in advance.
    These are forced air furnaces with ductng or "wall furnaces"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    6
    Forced air furnaces, with ducting... and thank you for the fast responses, and the links, im still reading....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    2,927
    It is hard to say without seeing how everything is located,but probably cheaper to go with existing duct work rather than make substantial changes.On a 1000 ft house i assume there is a some good reason for this setup.

    remember: a 50,000 btu furnace made 30 years ago,might be equivalant to a 35000 btu furnace made today.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    6
    Originally posted by BaldLoonie

    Probably not wise to try to combine 2 smaller furnaces into 1. It will be a comfort compromise for sure. [/B]

    I realize 2 furnaces probably heat 2 floors a lot easier with more even heat, then one trying to heat 2 floors. Its not a large house really(1050sq ft), and I bet 2 smaller high efficiency furnaces are going to be a higher price then one slightly larger high efficiency furnace. Aside from the sound, and cost to operate of my current furnaces, I do love 2 furnaces. They can throw heat like crazy even though half of it is going through the roof as wastage and I suspect they are probably oversized even though I do not know the output at the moment. They keep the upstairs and downstairs quite toasty warm if you so choose. I guess Im getting ahead of myself here, as I havent even had my evaluation yet, but I will be getting a furnace on my next days off hopefully which is why I want to find out as much as I can. The sound of the fan motor is driving me nutz when im watching TV. If the price of 2 small furnaces is off the charts, we may have to sacrifice some comfort I guess. Cant one of these fancy high efficiency furnaces heat a 2 story 1050 square foot house when its -40 and still maintain comfortable heat, am I being unreasonable?? I will be in the market for buying between the date Sept.28 and Oct.5, and the temperature up here is already dropping fairly noticeably which is why I want to get this done.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    6
    I forgot to mention that both furnaces are in the same room(basement level)... The downstairs has an air intake just outside the room that the furnaces are located in(laundry room), and one has an intake or return air from upstairs(Living room)... I believe they even share the same blower...motor. but I havent really looked at the duct work leaving both furnaces, now that I think about it I they share the same ducts leaving the room, but they isolate from each other for upstairs and downstairs somehow obviously(or not). Sorry im not more up on my furnaces, but I, like many others havent paid enough attention to them, although I hope to change that matter in the future. When im home on Wednesday Ill look closer at it and post some pictures of my current setup if possible. Maybe one is just a backup and I have been using it for no reason, but I know for sure that the basement thermostat controls one, and the upstairs thermostat controls the other(that much I do know for sure).....Maybe I should shut one off and see what its like... LOL

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Central Kansas
    Posts
    1,145
    Would you go to a doctor who only made you feel better without attempting to cure the disease? You don't need new HVAC equipment just yet, you need your home examined first. Unless you are located around the Arctic Circle, $300 sounds very high for a 1050 sq ft home. Seriously, you should look to insulating, sealing up, maybe investing in windows and other energy conserving measures first. Then the home can be reevaluated regarding load calcs. The disease high energy consumption- the cure - all those things mentioned. If you can cure the problem, it will pay you dividends long after. You will or should be able to save on installation costs by getting along with smaller HVAC equipment. Conservation pays off again!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    2,927
    Originally posted by happy gilmore26
    Maybe I should shut one off and see what its like... LOL
    That might be the only way to tell which is which from the other.

    We like pictures...

    It sounds like you might be better off with one furnace and doing some ductwork changes.

    The best advice so far has been from Midwest.The smart money would be spent on insulating,ect.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    6
    Ok, $300 was including the garage in which I left a ruffneck heater on for too many days(oops).. LOL. Alberta Canada may not be the arctic circle, but -45 and lower celcius is not uncommon, probably more likely minus the ruffneck, bills would be $200-250, coldest months(still high!). I realize you're trying to help me by advising fixing leaks and whatnot first, and I do have a few that I will address, such as weather stripping on one door, and possibly some caulking here and there. The attic is good as far as insulation(already upgraded)... The walls will have to wait for another ambitious year, the windows are fine(it was my understanding that new windows dont save you that much unless the existing windows are terrible), possibly insulate electrical outlets, but other then that, Im replacing the furnaces. So if that means having a slightly bogus load calculation and curing the remaining cancer later, so be it. I am NOT going another winter with these furnaces, especially with a new baby on the way(due date December of all months). They have given 37 years of heating, I dont trust that they wont die this winter. My last furnace/duct cleaning, I was advised to possibly replace them due to some rust issues. I am getting a furnace this year, so please advise me with that in mind(even though it may not be ideal). Please dont think im being snotty, Im not, sometimes text sounds different then intended, and thanxs again. BTW I just wanted to say that while it is an older home, it has been kept up, and is overall in very good shape.

    EDIT: I am getting a energuide evaluation, before doing any modifications to not only find deficiencies, but to also be eligible for the federal grant.

    [Edited by happy gilmore26 on 09-23-2005 at 09:04 PM]

  11. #11

    2 Furnaces Reason

    One possibility for 2 furnaces would be that sometime in the past, the house had been configured as a 2 family. This would allow each set of occupants to control their destiny.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    6
    Just wanted to update. I did some plastic window kits,, some other sealing jobs, and had the two old furnaces replaced with one carrier infinity 96% with a 2 zone solution and infinity control. All I can say is WOW...!! what a difference, what a FURNACE! the 2 zone thing is really neat, if you have the downstairs set cooler it will cut off flow to the downstairs and send all to the upstairs, or 50/50, or whatever ratio really... it all depends on how much of a difference you set between up and down, and this thing keeps the temperatures exactly where you want them, im extrememly impressed with the control you have, you can just set it and forget it, or keep playing with the infinity control simply because it is so damn cool!(which is what I have been doing lately).. Im not a Carrier salesmen, but this thing is a cats ass, also WAY quieter, on the lower and med fan setting you cant hardly tell its running, on high setting you definately can hear air moving, but thats it, air, not a big rumbling belt like before. The temperature is also much more comfortable, no really hot to really cold temperature swings like before, nice even heat. It was not a cheap model, but honestly its probably some of the best money ive spent, and the piece of mind I have for my wife and kid when im away from home is priceless. Thank you for the previous advice, I still have work that can be done insulation wise, but the house is feeling pretty comfortable lately, thank you again from Canada!

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