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  1. #1

    Unhappy

    Friday,

    Geez, talk about insane weather. Milwaukee hit -35 degrees yesterday and the furnace wants to move to a better climate or something so I need some suggestions.

    The temp in the house since this cold snap set in is staying at 62 dgrees and refusing to move any higher. I did a gig yesterday and wasn't able to get a look at the furnace until today. It's not good.

    When I got home after the gig my better half told me the burners had been on all the time I was away. (Ouch!) The house temp was 61 degrees. (Yikes!) So I took the front panel off the furnace to check the burners which were running full blast.

    There is a vent some idiot put the upper chamber after the unit was installed. I'm assuming they thought this was a good way to heat the basement. I keep the stupid thing closed. So I opened the vent to see if there was any hot air coming out of it.

    No hot air at all. Just air heated a little above room temp. So I looked at the burners again. Now I can't remember since it's been a long time since I worked for a friend of mine who was a Mechnical Engineer/HAVC contractor if a burner will produce flame from the bottom of the burner in addition to the top.

    Also there is a little bit of flame coming out of the places where the burner plate are clamped together. There is a tag plate were it is brown from either overheating or the flame blowing out of the burning chamber.

    I was too tired to deal with this so I'm assuming that if something was really critially wrong with this the furnace safety shut off's would kick in so I went to bed and got some sleep.

    It just looks wrong but I'm not sure. (Help here?)

    Saturday,

    Today I turned the unit off and removed the front panel and it was really dusty so I blew out all the dust with compressed air. As I was doing this I discovered another problem.

    There was water in the bottom where the draft/flue motor and electronic module was located. The water looks to be coming from small leak along the screwed in plate that mates the condensing coil section to the bottom cabinet metal. (Double Ouch!)

    Next I remove the PVC flue water drain pipe/filter??? (The guy I worked for use to have me do this for him.)
    This is located outside the furnace at the bottom of the PVC pipe that goes outside and has a tube that runs to the basement drain and found this black sludge in it.

    (Help? Is this a good or bad sign?)

    I cleaned this out really good along with the tubing that goes to the drain and reinstalled it.

    I know this is all means that the furnace I was thinking about replacing after the project studio was done is going to happen sooner rather than later. I'm leaning towards a full system replacement of either Rheem, Carrier or Trane.

    What I really need to know is the condition of this furnace so bad that I should NOT wait until Monday to have someone come out and check it out. I lowered the temp setting to 60 degrees so that the burners and heat exchanger get a break. After I dropped the temp. setting everything seems to cycle normally.

    So should I be more worried about this or can it wait till Monday.

    Also does anyone know if the all in one units sold by Rheem that go outside the house can be used in the Milwaukee type of climate or should I just not bother looking at this option? It would solve some of the noise problems with the project studio in the basement.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    648
    Call a professional. Also, I bet -35 is much colder than the design temp for Milwaukee so yes, the furnace will run continuously.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Ft.Worth,Tx
    Posts
    4,584
    Did you change the filter?
    Drain problems are common on this type of unit.


    But , I would suggest that you have service company check the rust problem that you described.. As for furnace to be changed out to new unit have contractor do some tests and get several bids.

    Trane
    Rheem
    Carrier
    "Everyday above ground, is a good day".
    "But everyday that you have made a difference in someones life, may insure you stay above ground a little longer".<aircooled>

  4. #4

    Changed Filter

    I just changed the filter out thinking it might be a CFM problem. I can put up with living in a cold house for a couple of days but does this sound like something I need to have looked at today or can it wait till tomorrow? The weather people say it will warm up a little today and over the next day or so.

    Sorry I'm tired and I'll check back later before I head out for the gig I've got tonight.

    Thanks again for both these comments.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    717
    Go ahead with your planned "thing-a- mig-jig-gig,.....
    but first ,get on the blower and call in someone (hvac pro)that knows quite a bit more than you think you do.
    Then again,with warm weather(spring)just around the corner, perhaps you could do a few more gigs and then maybe give a pro a call.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    64
    ok lets see its -35 unit running full blast its 61 in house the unit not designed for -35 what you think its Russia

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,777
    milwaukee AP 97 1/2% design is -4.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    962
    You must be talking about wind chill. However your still close to design temp.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    101
    Now you see the problem with "just enough" sizing to typical design temperatures. The homeowner wants his house warm every day, not just most days. IMHO, the best furnace to buy is a two-stage with the high stage sized for the lowest anticipated temperature, usually the coldest day ever recorded. If this man's furnace was sized for 75 degrees at -35 outside and the low stage produced at 67% of the high stages output, the low stage would be sized for 70 degrees at -4 which is right on the button for the typical load calc.

    This man's furnace was probably sized by rule of thumb or by keeping the same output as the old furnace. If he had had a load calc and sized a single stage furnace for 70 at -4, his house would now be at 39 degrees instead of 60. On the plus side, he would be able to unplug his refrigerator and save electricity. Or he could close a vent in an outside room and use it for a freezer.

    OK, enough snark. Now it's your turn, pros. Roast me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,777
    Originally posted by Tony0945
    Now you see the problem with "just enough" sizing to typical design temperatures. The homeowner wants his house warm every day, not just most days. IMHO, the best furnace to buy is a two-stage with the high stage sized for the lowest anticipated temperature, usually the coldest day ever recorded. If this man's furnace was sized for 75 degrees at -35 outside and the low stage produced at 67% of the high stages output, the low stage would be sized for 70 degrees at -4 which is right on the button for the typical load calc.

    This man's furnace was probably sized by rule of thumb or by keeping the same output as the old furnace. If he had had a load calc and sized a single stage furnace for 70 at -4, his house would now be at 39 degrees instead of 60. On the plus side, he would be able to unplug his refrigerator and save electricity. Or he could close a vent in an outside room and use it for a freezer.

    OK, enough snark. Now it's your turn, pros. Roast me.

    The rcord low for milwaukee is -26 in jan of 85.
    Average low is 13 for jan.

    So he may be talking wind chill.
    Meaning something is wrong with the furnace other then its size.

    So you believe sizing to 130% of his outdoor design is good.

    Don't forget the duct would have to be sized for the extra airflow also.

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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    11,808
    Defintely wind chill, a big blast of air from Ohio. Usually that is a hot wind tho
    The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.

    http://www.ductstrap.com/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    101
    Had -9 at 8:00AM here yesterday, about sixty miles south of Milwaukee, so I took it literally, figuring it to be a lot colder there.

    Average low for Chicago in jan is 10. Record low is -27.

    Chicago is colder than Milwaukee? Wow!


    BTW, I used HVAC CALC before buying my latest furnace (2 stage VS unit). I used -20 instead of 10 for design temp and still got a smaller unit than the developer put in. Salesman wanted to sell me one bigger than the developer put in. I'm glad I did the load calc both ways or I may have given in. Not knocking load calculation. Using average temp may be good for somewhere like San Diego with little variation, but we have radical changes here. If your furnace runs 100% at 10 degrees, as some on this forum have suggested for maximum efficiency, I guarantee that you will be shivering a lot in Northern Illinois.

    [Edited by Tony0945 on 02-19-2006 at 12:48 PM]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    648
    Originally posted by Tony0945
    Now you see the problem with "just enough" sizing to typical design temperatures. The homeowner wants his house warm every day, not just most days. IMHO, the best furnace to buy is a two-stage with the high stage sized for the lowest anticipated temperature, usually the coldest day ever recorded. If this man's furnace was sized for 75 degrees at -35 outside and the low stage produced at 67% of the high stages output, the low stage would be sized for 70 degrees at -4 which is right on the button for the typical load calc.

    This man's furnace was probably sized by rule of thumb or by keeping the same output as the old furnace. If he had had a load calc and sized a single stage furnace for 70 at -4, his house would now be at 39 degrees instead of 60. On the plus side, he would be able to unplug his refrigerator and save electricity. Or he could close a vent in an outside room and use it for a freezer.

    OK, enough snark. Now it's your turn, pros. Roast me.
    Not really practical to size the system according to 1 or 2 days of below normal temps. You'd end up with a grossly oversized system and high enegy bills, just to cover yourself for those couple days. If you sized the high stage according to the lowest recorded temp, you might end up with even the low fire on that furnace being oversized.
    Wouldn't it be cheaper and more practical to have some sort of supplimentary heat, like oil-filled radiators or space heaters just to get you through?

    [Edited by matt8085 on 02-19-2006 at 12:45 PM]

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