Do you like your "high-efficiency" furnace? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2006, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Do you like your "high-efficiency" furnace?

About a month ago our old furnace had to be replaced and we went with a high efficiency one. We did this having been told that our gas bill will go down a little bit because the natural gas isn't wasted through the chimney as much as it is in the older, less efficient furnaces.

Well, we had it put in and that very first evening we noticed that the temperature of the bedrooms tucked in the northeast and southeast corners of the house were downright cold, even at the temperature we were normally used to keeping the thermostat at. I called the utility office the next day and told them of our situation and they had somebody come out and take a look at the furnace. I had a few concerns - was the furnace actually big enough for the house? and was it hooked up properly so as to get the heat we were supposed to?

This is what I was told - high-efficiency furnaces blow hot air out through the vents at a slightly lower temperature than the older furnaces do (about 120° compared to 150° with the old ones) so the moving air can and will feel more chilly than that of the older furnaces. Plus, these newer furnaces have digital thermostats which are much more accurate and will keep the temperature setting within a couple of tenths of a degree, thus running more times throughout the day in shorter spurts. Basically, the guy told us that even though we may need to keep the thermostat a little higher than we're used to to feel comfortable we will not be spending more money on our gas bill because the fuel is used much more efficiently and not wasted, so we've been keeping the house an average of 3 or 4 degrees higher than we're used to.

And, still, even after setting it at 72° at night (we do this because our 1-year-olds tend to kick the covers off of them and we don't want them to get cold) it gets chilly in the corner bedrooms of the house. The living room, dining room and kitchen (located more in the middle of the house) are all comfy for the most part.

Was this utility guy being straight up or was he pulling our chain? To be honest, even though the numbers are high I feel some days we should keep the overnight temperature set even higher than 72° because of our kids ending up with no covers. That just doesn't seem right to me, though. Can the fact that the fluid gases (I think that's what he referred to them as) burn and come up through the vents at a lower temperature really cool the air off in here that much? I'm really wondering if getting this high-efficiency furnance was our best option and if we should have it changed out to an 80% efficient furnace.

Ugh! The joys of house upkeep!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2006, 06:24 PM
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Is it quieter? I am extremely sensitive to noise and I am willing to pay $$$ for anything that is quiet. That is the primary reason why I have cats instead of dogs.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2006, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shengmei
Is it quieter? I am extremely sensitive to noise and I am willing to pay $$$ for anything that is quiet. That is the primary reason why I have cats instead of dogs.
No, in fact, because of the power of the blower shooting air out through the vents it's a little noisier than those of 25-30 years ago. It's by no means a distraction though.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2006, 08:36 PM
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Jo, I do have a question for you. Is the new thermostat for the new furnace in the same place as the old thermostat?
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2006, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Donaldjr1969
Jo, I do have a question for you. Is the new thermostat for the new furnace in the same place as the old thermostat?
A~ha! Funny you should ask that, because no it's not. Our old thermostat sat on a living room wall above a cold air return facing a very large (approx. 11 ft. wide) southern exposure window. When we had our old furnace we were complaining that the living room was always nice and toasty but that the rest of the house was cold. We figured it was because the people who built this house put the thermostat where excessive heat could reach it and possibly throw off the reading. Soooo, we had the thermostat moved about 5 feet away from the old spot at the end of a hallway leading away from the living room and now the thermostat faces the north and is not directly in line with a window but still above a cold air return.

You know, I'm so glad you brought this up because I forgot to mention it when I originally posted. I did have questions about the thermostat issue as well and I don't remember getting a very clear answer from the utility company guy. So what are you thinking? Because the thermostat now faces a colder area of the house we will have to adjust the indoor temperature setting accordingly, to make up for the fact that we are now probably getting a more "true reading?" I do know that our old thermostat was actually off by about 3 degrees; it would read about 3 degrees higher than the main part of the house would be kept at.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2006, 03:16 AM
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I had a 90,000 BTU 70's furnace replaced with a 2-stage 60,000 BTU high efficiency unit. It takes 3 times as long to heat the house which to me sounds like more wear and tear on the blower. The heat bills are hard to gauge because there is so much fluctuation from month to month with outside temperatures and the rising cost of natural gas. It would probably take a few years of averaging out heat bills to get any idea on how much money is being saved, and how long will that take to add up to the $2200 I spent on the furnace. The heating bills are, at best, $25 less than before.

Not to mention that I started having problems with the blower continually running after the thermostat shut off and the burner not kicking in at times when the furnace is supposed to be heating. I experienced these problems 9 months after the furnace was installed and left 2 messages on the contractor's cell phone to which I received no response. Then the problems stopped for 4 months and started up again so I called again to find out the company is out of business and although I have a 5 year warranty on all parts, labor is not free and this could be a costly repair because it sounds like it may have to do with the computer circuitry. Efficient, huh?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2006, 11:39 AM
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I know nothing about furnaces but ND meaing North Dakota I would have a bondfire going everynight to keep warm. I was meant for the tropics.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2006, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Richo
I had a 90,000 BTU 70's furnace replaced with a 2-stage 60,000 BTU high efficiency unit. It takes 3 times as long to heat the house which to me sounds like more wear and tear on the blower. The heat bills are hard to gauge because there is so much fluctuation from month to month with outside temperatures and the rising cost of natural gas. It would probably take a few years of averaging out heat bills to get any idea on how much money is being saved, and how long will that take to add up to the $2200 I spent on the furnace. The heating bills are, at best, $25 less than before.
You're basically confirming my fears about this furnace. Our prior 1960-something furnace was also replaced with a somewhat lower BTU high-efficiency as well. And like I was mentioning before, I noticed the blower runs for shorter amounts of time but more times throughout the day. The utility guy (we actually purchased our furnace from the gas company so we could put the furnace on a payment plan and not have to pay it off right away) said that there have been "nickel and dime" problems with high-efficiency furnaces because the moisture levels tend to build up faster in them but he has also told us that within the last 10 years all the furnace companies have been looking for ways to cut back on those issues and have solved some of them. He'd better not be jerking us around!

Also, we pay a few extra bucks a month for a service agreement with our utility company so if anything covered under them breaks down they eat the labor costs (a.k.a. WE ALREADY PAID IT THROUGH OUR MONTHLY CHARGES FOR SERVICE) and we'd be responsible for some parts but not all (each piece of equipment has different things that are covered and others that are not).

So, Richo, do you find that you are keeping your thermostat a little higher than you used to or do you just deal with the difference in how the air feels?

Also, it will be interesting to see how well this furnace will heat our approximate 350 sq. foot addition that we will be getting this summer. We told the guy before we purchased the furnace that we needed something to cover that addition as well as the size of the house that already exists and he reassured us that our new furnace is plenty big.

I hate having to deal with these things. I'm not well versed in any of these issues and neither is my husband so they could probably screw us over if they wanted to and we would be none the wiser.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2006, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reprot
I know nothing about furnaces but ND meaing North Dakota I would have a bondfire going everynight to keep warm. I was meant for the tropics.
I definitely was meant to live in a climate like North Dakota. In the summertime, when it gets up to 80° and higher I feel like dying. I find myself camped out in the house with all the curtains shut and the air conditioning running. I think I was meant for Alaska or something!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2006, 04:15 PM
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When I first got the furnace I called the installer back because it was turning on and off a lot just like you said. I ended up having to get a thermostat that had an adjustable temperature differential (how much the temp will go down before the furnace kicks in - you can usually select 1-2 degrees) and I ended up with a higher end $130 White-Rodgers thermostat because not all thermostats offer this feature. I loved my Honeywell touchscreen thermostat but I had to part with it because of this. I didn't change my thermostat location and I don't notice any difference in how comfortable the house is.

You may have to look into a new thermostat is the furnace is starting and stopping too often. That was my problem.
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