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Thread: Oil to gas project, furnace questions.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Oil to gas project, furnace questions.

    So we've decided it's time for the 1950's Iron Fireman oil furnace to go. The thing's built to last another 50 years but it's inefficient, smelly, and an inconvenience to fill the oil tank. I've had four different companies come out and offer bids for a gas furnace and I find myself in a pickle. Can anyone here comment on the reliability of a 2 stage gas furnace (american standard or rheem/ruud) versus the modulating (or is it 3 stage, literature isn't clear) Carrier 58MVC? The contractor that I was most impressed with as far as thoroughness and (apparent) honesty was pushing the 2 stage. Saying it was a tried and true design and you couldn't go wrong with it. The other contractor I would consider was pushing the Carrier 58MVC. Frankly, I think anything would be an improvement over the Iron Fireman in the basement and it's not like I need the house to stay within 3/10's of a degree.

    Are the modulating furnaces reliable in the long run? Furnaces are not my expertise but I do work with technology and know that 'latest and greatest' isn't always that. Are the bugs worked out of the Carrier design? Will this thing crap out on me in 8 years? I'm not expecting anything to match the oil furnace in longevity (sadly) but this is a large investment and I tend to be on the cautious side. Also, what's with the class action lawsuit against Carrier's secondary heat exchangers? FUD, legitimate...?

    I wouldn't be as hesitant about this but the contractor offering the american standard was a bit more expensive than the other bids. He also runs a smaller business and can't get volume discounts on furnaces, though he does sell them at cost w/o markup.



    Also, our house was built in 1922, around 920 sq ft, has lots of single pane windows, the walls aren't insulated, and there's a minimal amount of insulation in the attic, I plan on insulating the attic further but want to get this job done before I have to add more oil to the tank. We live in Portland, OR.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
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    Rheem's 34" furnaces have been out a long time and are very reliable. The modulating is well over 10 years old, the 2 stage are new but essentially similar to the mod. I wouldn't worry in the least on them. Only drawback to Rheem's mod is lack of 95% rating for the tax credit.

    American-Standard's Freedom 90 high end models had some issues in the early to mid 2000s, but lately the bugs seem to be worked out. Few problems with the ones from the last few years. Don't know about their 3 stage or modulating, they are too new.

    Not as familiar with Carrier's MVC though the MVB 2 stage has been out a long time. I'm not sure I'd worry too much about the secondary heat exchanger issue on them. Key is getting the Infinity control for best operation.

    Watch sizing, too many oversize especially in small houses. New furnaces like to move A LOT more air than your oldie and chances are the duct system won't handle it. You could face some real air noise on high fire. My house is the same size as yours though well insulated and good windows. BUT we get below zero each winter. I have a 60,000 BTU 95% and on high, the air noise is loud. I have a switch on high fire and only use it around zero out for quick warmups. Sorta defeats the purpose of 2 stage though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Rochester, MN
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    If you have the dealer put in a new furnace to size of your current home set up, and when you do update the windows, add insulation to the attic and walls, chances are that furnace is going to get oversized.

    The two stages has been around awhile, and I own one myself, and been pleased with theh comfort out of in our Minnesota Winters.

    Being you are in OR, have you thought about Heat Pump? I could be wrong, but are your winters some what mild? What are your electric rates?

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