New gas furnace/AC recommendations?

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I've decided to take my own advice and look in to getting a new natural gas furnace and AC unit installed before the $1500 tax credit runs out at the end of the year. Not much time left, I know. To get the credit, it has to be at least 13 EER, and 16 SEER. My old system is a 26 year old RUUD and I figure between the tax credit and higher efficiency saving energy costs, it's time to do it.
Anyone have any recommendations as to brands/models that they have had good results with or those to avoid? Any particular features? I'm thinking it's going to be worth it to get a high enough efficiency system to meet the $1500 tax credit, but probably don't need anything more than that. Any features you've found useful on newer systems and would recommend? Things like variable speed blowers, dual stage, etc? But honestly, the current one is fine in terms of comfort, can't complain about drafts, etc. The house is 3200 sq ft, current furnace is 150K BTU input, 4.5 ton AC. Location is coastal NJ, with high gas and electricity rates.
I know what one guy here will say, ie just keep running the old one.....
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/New-gas-furnace-AC-recommendations-607895-.htm brians wrote:
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

We've just done a series on selecting the best brands and efficiencies to meet your goals. While it's focused on furnace replacement, the advice should apply to air conditioning as well.
http://www.trusthomesense.com/blog/furnace-replacement-options-indianapolis-part-ii-brand-shopping /
http://www.trusthomesense.com/blog/furnace-replacement-in-indianapolis-part-iii-efficiency-options /
Hope this is helpful,
------------------------------------- Brian Homesense Heating | Cooling www.TrustHomesense.com
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On Fri, 03 Dec 2010 20:14:01 +0000, brian_at_trusthomesense_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (brians) wrote:

I had four guys out last month to look at my house, for a new oil furnace and AC. It would have only been three, but the first company struck me as incompetent, and indeed, I don't think they ever got back to me with even a price! I called them because they did my new next door neighbor's AC (her new home insurance paid for it, on a 31-year old house! Amazing, I think.) and she was satisfied, and they are only 4 blocks away
It might have only been two estimates, but they waylaid me in Home Depot and were so eager to send someone, who am I to say no.
My concentration is not what it used to be, and I've never been good at shopping for complicated things****, and before this started, I assumed that every company would either include a furnace humidifier in the price (and force people who didn't want one to notice and get them to take it off), or would try to sell me a humidifier. In fact, none of them even mentioned it! But I remembered to ask the last guy and he pooh poohed the idea. Said I didn't need one. Baloney. I had one for 20 plus years, and it makes the house feel just as warm even when the temp is lower. Yes, it takes some heat to evaporate (is that the same as vaporize?) the water, but it's a substantial net savings, I'm sure. I think the temp can be 2 to 4 degrees cooler when the humidity is "normal", neither high nor low, as opposed to the dryness of a northern winter indoors with a furnace and no source of humidity.
****Except cars.
I've never had condensation problems, on windows or anywhere, probably because I don't set the humidifier to maximum, even the cheap little one I have had.
Plus it's good for the furniture not to be in air so dry the furniture cracks. Especially pianos and expensive furniture. And maybe violins and woodwinds. Of course if you haven't had one up till now, maybe all the cracking it can do has been done already. I don't know, you'll have to ask a furniture guy about that. But you may get new, expensive furniture and a humidifier is good. (When my brother was in Viet Nam during the war, he bought a wooden carving of someone, about 9 inches tall by 2" wide, and it got cracks the entire length of the carving, 3/16" wide!)
Anyhow, he wanted 800 dollars for the humidifier. When I squinted, he said his wholesale cost was 600. The most expensive one at Home Depot is less than 200, and I don't believe it's much worse. In addition, he didn't have a flyer for the furnace! but he did for the humidifier, and it was a bypass humidifier, which requires a round (flexible?) duct from the return to the humidifier, which is in the furnace outgoing duct. Because of how my furnace and every replacement I've looked at my neighbors' houses is set up, it's too thick to fit between the duct and the flue. But I know what would happen if I signed the contract. They'd include it, and half way through installation they 'd come to me and say it won't fit so they're going to skip it.
Online however they have a Honeywell (non-bypass) Humidifier for under 200 that gets good ratings. I might buy that first and have them put it in. Amazon sells it, among other places, and says "People who have e bought this also bought this humidistat." One annoyed guy commented that he had taken their word for this and bought a humidistat, only to find that one is included with the humidifier. Not surprisingly. I can get you the model number if you want, but so far it was the only name brand, the only non-bypass humidifier I've found.
Because of the space problem, 25 years ago, I could only install the smallest and cheapest humidifier they sold, about 20 dollars, but it was definitely good enough. I bought a second one about 10 years later. It seemed a better buy than just buying a replacement entry valve, but they don't sell that brand anymore and I haven't come across anything nearly as cheap. They are all about 180 dollars iirc. Less online I guess, but if I could get what I want in a store, I'd probably buy it locally. I haven't looked at heating supply places. Don't know one, and don't know how to get them to wait on me** But I'll still tell you about the old one. My house is smaller than yours, but I only used about 3 of the maximum 8 T-shaped fiberglass "plates" that went in the water trough. The w
**although I had no trouble getting them to wait on me 27 years ago when the transformer of my AC/furnace control box burnt out 2 months after I bought a four-year old house, when I had 3 people visiting from NY***. I went to a supply house and he wanted 140 dollars for the whole control box, and I balked a bit, and he sold me just a transformer for about 15! It was too big to fit where the original had been so it's mounted on a shelf nearby. The furnace may have some problems in the fire box, not sure, but the control box works fine after 27 years. (Well, there was a time when it didn't. Another story)
***The AC went out at noon on Saturday, because the little transformer failed; The water went out about 6 PM on Saturday, because the builder didn't use flexible metal water pipe for the mains, and may have used gravel that was too big, leaving the pipes resting on apexes of big gravel pieces; And the electricity went out about noon on Sunday, because everyone was using the AC and the transformer that supplied 8 or 16 townhouses burnt out, or something in it!
Another strange thing is that onely one of them tried to sell me anything that would qualify for the tax credit. Maybe that's because they didn't think I could afford it, but that's silly because with the credit, it would usually cost no more than what they were trying to sell me! In fact, you may want to plug in your own numbers, but my impression about the AC was that the cheapest qualifying AC is more expensive than the next less efficient one by the same amount as the credit. That is, you get the upgrade to the better model for free, but you don't really save money other than that, on the purchase. This should be fairly easy to calculate with assurance. You get a refund of so much percent, so many dollars, and you can find out the increase in price from the model one step less efficient. (Or you can just buy one. I wish I were capable of just buying one.)
And thn you save some money every year after that. Although even the 13 SEER (or whatever) is probably a good deal more efficient than what you have, and the one that qualifies for the credit is only a little more efficient than the one right below it that doesn't qualify.
(I need an oil furnace, so, while I ended up learning about gas too, others can probably answer better.)
Very few oil burners are 90% efficient, and I guess they are expensive. One of the oldest places in town, in the same family for 80 or 90 years, 3rd generation, told me almost no one buys those, so the only part of the oil furnace that qualifies is a multi-speed fan.
Now unlike 30 years ago when the fan was one speed any time it's running, now every fan has 2 speeds, one for AC and one for heat, but multi-speed fans, ECM's, Electronically Controlled Motors (Fans), have multiple speeds for different parts of the heating cycle and the cooling cycle. In an oil furnace, 19 to 24 percent of the furnace cost can be attributed to the fan -- the furnace company will tell you the number -- and then one can get the credit on that part of the furnace. But again, no one tried to sell me the mulit-speed fan, and the guy with the 90 years and great reputation told me he didn't sell oil furnaces with multi-speed fans. He said that on the phone, and he wasn't one who came out for an estimate. I thought no one made them but they do.
I still haven't found out how the multi-speed fan works, when it's low speed, when it's mid-speed, and when it's high, and why it saves money. It's seems clear that the fan uses a lot of current, especially on high speed, but how it uses less when it's multi-speed, and still gets the job done, I don't know. Frankly, my single speed fan gets the job done, and only runs when the heat is on (or the AC) which isn't that long in suburban Baltimore, and I like the feeling of the blowing warm air. There's a duct right next to me when I sit at the computer. I still don't have any idea what benefit I woudl get from a multi-speed fan. Also, if the circulating air doesn't circulate through the furnace fast enough, currently that would be a problem. I don't know what could be different about modern furnaces, oil or gas, that would make that different.
BTW, I've bbeen reading instructinos for installing AC, and they say to flush and/or clean the pipes connecting the inside to the outside. After 31 years, it seems worth it, and simpler, to replace them. IN my case they are only about 6 feet long.

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A agree with you on the value of a good humidifier. As long as you set it correctly, it keeps the house far more comfortable, avoids those static shocks, etc, without water condensing and doing damage. I currently have an Aprilaire 700, which is only a year old and I plan on having them move it to the new furnace. Over the years I've seen so many positive comments on Aprilaire and I agree with them. It's the best one I've seen. The 700 is a non-bypass model and it includes an outdoor temp sensor so that it autmatically reduces the humidity level as the outdoor temp drops.

It's amazing that they didn't mention or directly show you the tax benefits. The first company I have coming prominently features that in their newspaper ads. And I was thinking the same thing that you say above. That the tax credit is likely enough to about pay for the difference in price between a somewhat less efficient system that I might have bought vs one that meets the reqts for the credit. I think here there may also be a $1000 utility credit. Combined that could cut $2500 off the price, which is substantial.

I think one way it saves energy by using a lower speed when it can is that with any fluid the energy it takes to move it increases logarithmatically with the speed. For example, with pool pumps, they now have multi- speed that circulate the water slowly for a much longer time. Even though it runs longer, it still moves the same amount of water with like 50% less energy.
Also, I think the most efficient motors are now DC, which generally are completely variable in speed. But that's probably an example of what I would skip, because while it can save some more energy, it does add complexity and if that motor, controller, etc fail, from what I've heard, it's a lot more costly than a two speed motor.

Good info. That's one thing I might not have thought to even ask. I would have assumed that considering mine are 26 years old, they would just automatically replace them. Seems that would make sense for not only the company, but also the manufacturer with their warrantly, etc. I definitely want mine replaced.
Thanks for all the info.
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On 12/3/2010 2:46 PM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

We replaced our very old Columbia gas fired, forced hot-air furnace and our old Ruud A/C unit 4-7 years ago - both with Carrier units. I won't bother you with the model name/number because just as with cars, the model names and numbers change almost yearly. We have not required a single service call for either since installation and have been totally pleased.
We chose a furnace model that is 92% efficient and saw our natural gas consumption drop about 1/3 with no additional insulation added to the house and no change in our thermostat settings. The HVAC guy estimated that our old furnace was probably only about 60% efficient. The difference in price at that time between 92% and 96% efficient was huge (about 25% more) and we figured that we were unlikely to remain in our house long enough to make back in gas expenses what we would pay for the additional 4% in furnace efficiency if we popped for the 96% unit.
We had been having a problem with chronic refrigerant leaks in the old A/C unit despite spending oodles to try to find the leak (never did). The system needed at least a top-off and sometimes more than that every season. Therefore, when we replaced the A/C, we not only replaced the coil in the furnace and the compressor outside, but we replaced all the pipes connecting them. We're glad that we did. No more leaks and our A/C electric usage dropped by about 50% during the hottest summer months. (We're in the D.C. metro area.)
The bottom line as someone else wrote is to find and use a well qualified and honest HVAC contractor. For each job, we got 3 different bids from contractors that were highly recommended in the D.C. area edition of Checkbook magazine. For both jobs we ended up going with the same contractor. Both times his bid was in the middle - about 10% higher than the lowest bid and about 30% cheaper than the most expensive one. We'd use him again in a heartbeat. Good luck in your area!
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Peter wrote:

Can someone explain why you need a contractor to install a furnace?
If you're a real red-blooded, meat-eating man who knows how to swing a hammer, turn a wrench and wire a branch circuit, then you most certainly can connect a few wires and bend some sheet metal and get a furnace installed, and most of the A/C as well (assuming you need a new A/C unit).
If I could wind back the clock and play a role in installing my furnace and AC, I'd install a bypass duct so that my furnace fan doesn't have to blow air through the AC coils in the winter.
If I *had* to buy a new furnace - then I'd buy a new furnace, gut the shit out of it (rip out the electronics, ECM motor and ignitor) and install conventional AC motor and standing pilot light, then I'd install the thing myself.
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Hey, that's me!

I hope you're right, because that's my current plan. I'm out of work again, except for a little bit on a maintenance project, and I have more time than money. Plus if I actually have heat and AC when I'm done, it will be very satisfying. (I'm going to hire someone to remove the current freon, and come back later and adjust the furnace, and connect and top off the AC.)
I'm hoping the hardest part will be getting the furnace down the stairs! That will be hard, and I'll get a helper to do that, and maybe ask advice here about a ramp or how to go one step at a time. (It's a U shaped stairs, with two 90 degree turns on one landing.)

Is that really so bad? Everyone does it that way, don't they? If I had it to do over, I would cut out a big hole for cleaning the thing, and make a sheet metal cover. Right now, I have no idea how dirty it is after 31 years.
Sort of instead of bypass duct, how about about a very wide duct, with a piece of light metal plate that slides in grooves, to narrow the duct in the summer so the air has to go through the A- or N-coil.^^^ Sort of like one of those sheets they slide in the box a woman is in when they cut her in half.
^^^(Does anyone still sell A-coils? I'd really like to know. If so, aren't N-coils a lot better?)

What's wrong with a) the electronics, b) the ECM motor, and c) the ignitor^^. Seriously. My oil furnace will have a and maybe b, so I'm interested. Don't they make things work more smoothly?
^^Okay, I know what's wrong with the ignitor, but you must have some experience if you think you can put in a pilot, especially on a furnace designed for an ignitor. More than the average red-blooded meat-eating man.

Isn't it easier to install the way they sell it? IF those extra parts are unreliable, when they actually break, you can put in the simple replacements then.
I found a "book" online for 10 dollars on how to install a furnace. Only 50 pages**, but it spends a good portion of its space on how to do ductwork at the furnace, which is what I know the least about. But be warned. He didn't send the download code that night, or after my first two complaint emails, until after 4 weeks I complained to PayPal. Then they sent me the code the same day. I was seriously suspecting there was no book at all. But it doesn't deal at all with installing even the N-coil, or the AC, or a humidifier. I guess I can figure all that stuff out, but for a newbie like me, I would like help. As it is, I'll have to wait to spring, because I'm afraid some roadblock will take me a week, or a month, or two months, and I can't be without heat that long. I wish I'd started 10 months ago, but the AC compressor didnt' start tripping the breaker until June.
**There is also a similar book on Amazon, twice the price and half the length. Maybe if the print is quite small it has more info, but 25 pages for 20 or so dollars doesn't seem like a good bet to me.
The book I got said the hardest part is getting someone to sell you the furnace!
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I do a lot of my own projects, but installing a furnace/AC is not one I'd tackle. IMO, there are just two many issues. Examples would be correctly sizing the new furnace. I guess you could run the load calcualtions and you do have the experience with the current unit to go on. But I still think that could be an area where years of expertise could come in handy. For example, my current unit is 150K BTU input. I don't even know how that relates to the current specs of units. From looking, it seems most are a lot smaller than that. Given that it's 26 years old, my guess would be that I can easily get away with a much smaller new one. But exactly how much smaller, I'd prefer to get a pro to tell me.
Then as you pointed out, you have the issue of removing the freon, charging the new system, etc. I guess if you know someone that will do it, that could be dealt with. But I wouldn't know who to call around here that would even consider getting involved.
Then, what about the warranty? If you install it yourself, isn't the warranty likely voided?
I'd also look at the specific reqts for the tax credit, ie what documentation, etc is required. That might preclude self-install.
You're also aware that the tax credit requires it to be installed by the end of this year, right? Doing a self-install, I guess one advantage might be that you could fudge it a bit.

I don;t know, but I think you may be surprised how easy it is. IMO, the new one is likely to weigh substantially less than the old one. The downside to that is that from everything I've seen here, the new ones aren't likely to last the 26 years that the old one did.

First thing you'd have to do is figure out if it actually saves you enough energy costs in terms of reducing the air resistance or if it even saves any money at all. You're substituting at least one, if not two 90deg turns for the coils. I'd love to see any data that shows it's worth it.

Home Guy is the poster I was referring to in my original post when I said I know what one guy will tell me. Which is to just keep running the 26 year old system, because it's the smart thing to do. He thinks the new systems have too much complexity, so they are more failure prone, cost more to repair, etc. He has a point. But given the current tax credit, utility rebates, energy costs, etc, it's hard to imagine how we won't come out ahead. You'd think that if he were rational, he's at least use a new system as it was made and wait for it to fail, then find out how much the part costs before ripping it apart and rebuilding it. Since he's so concerned about maintenance cost, I wonder what ripping it apart does to the warranty?
:)

Let us know how the install goes for you. From some of the botched up jobs I've seen, you do have one edge over at least some of the pros. You obviously care about doing it right.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote in
<snip> >

Ditto.
My primary concern would be CO2 - the venting, burner, etc especially with forced air. I'm sure many would say Ahhh nothing to it, don't have to worry about that, that's overkill BS, etc. Then a house full of dead people shows up.
A Local Authority inspection just might not be a bad thing with this type of DIY.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I was speaking more about the furnace, not the AC. The furnace is just a glorified barbeque unit. If you were replacing the AC as well, then I guess it depends on what parts of the old system you were keeping - naturally the outdoor unit would be replaced, but the evaporator coils near the furnace could stay.
As I haven't had the need to shop for a furnace, I don't know how many of them come with integrated evaporator coils (or perhaps none of them).
Because I have lots of space around my furnace, I'd probably get creative and build a separate air-handling system for the furnace and evap coils - there's no reason why both air systems need to go through the furnace. I could have a separate motor and filter for summer use, and with some sheet-metal ducting and gating I can easily change the system over to winter heating and completely bypass the evap coils.
Another thing I'd do for the summer system is to have the ability to draw return air directly from the outside through a dedicated duct and gate off (close off) the return air from the house-hold interior return air duct. This allows me to pull cool air directly from outside and force-flood the house with cool air - on those warm or hot days where the house has warmed up by evening and your only normal option is to run the AC to cool the house. So I pull cool return air from outside, open some windows and the fan will force the warm air out the windows.
None of this is normally done, because home-owners can't imagine or don't know about this, and HVAC contractors would charge a fortune to do it for someone else, but I bet some of them do it for their own homes. Just like some of them put their AC condensor coils in their swimming pool to heat their pool while efficiently removing heat from the coils.

New furnaces with variable gas valves gives them the ability to dial up or down the heat output.
I do this right now with my 34 year-old furnace. I dial down the gas going to the burners so that maybe they're getting 1/3 of the full gas supply. If I turn it down too far, the fan cycles on and off while the burners are on. By turning down the gas, I'm modulating the heat output of the furnace much like a super-expensive modern furnace does. So my furnace runs more constantly (like a modern furnace does) and my heat-extraction efficiency goes up (because the temperature of my combustion exhaust is lower).
Most people don't know that they can dial-down the gas supply of their old furnace - just like you can with your barbeque or your gas stove. There's no reason why you need to operate an old furnace heat-output either full-on or full-off.
If I find that in the coldest part of winter that my furnace is running all the time but the house temperature is lower than I want, then I'll just go down to the furnace and turn the gas valve at the regulator a little more clock-wise and increase the size of the flames and that will do the job.

I agree that you need a contractor to deal with freon extraction, balancing, charging, etc, but the more you can do yourself (like run the lines, connect as much of the system as you can) the more you'll save.

That's why I'd preferr to retro-fit the furnace with standard technology and do away with all the sensors.
It's crazy that they removed the standing pilot light (which uses maybe $10 worth of gas all year) and they went with electronic ignition, and by doing so they had to add all sorts of temperature sensors to know if the main gas supply should be shut off in case the ignitor doesn't work. Talk about over-kill to save $10 worth of gas (even less if you normally turn off your pilot light in the summer).

I reject all attempts to sell me warranties for the things I buy. We all laugh at the warranties that are sold at electronic stores - don't we?
Do you think I'd replace an ECM furnace motor with another ECM furnace motor? Hell no. If I didn't already retrofit a new furnce with a regular AC motor, I would certainly do that if the ECM motor died on me. To hell with the warranty. It's less agrivating to fix most things yourself than to deal with the warranty (the exception - vehicles).
Most electronics have a manufacturer warranty anyways, and their small/ portable enough the shlep them back to the retailer or manufacturer when they break.

I bet that most HVAC companies have hiked their prices because they know that home-owners are getting these gov't rebates.
I'd rather spend $2000 on a new furnace and install it myself, rather than spend $6000 to have a contractor install it and then later I get $2000 back in gov't credits. Do the math.

In what country?

Once the credits are gone, contractor prices will also come down.

Once it fails, it's too late to tinker and retro-fit it with standard technology. You don't have that luxury when your house needs the heat.

Well, if it no longer has an electronic ignitor, control motherboard and ECM motor, then why exactly should I care about the warranty for those items?
:)
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I don't like all the fail safe points on the new furnaces, because any one of them failing can leave you without heat. But you've got your work cut out to modify as you want to. First, toss the motherboard. Toss the ignitor. Toss the flame sensor. Toss the roll out sensors. Toss the inducer, or unplug it. Find a thermocouple controlled gas valve that will fit in place of the electronically controlled valve that came with the unit. Rig a pilot light. Then figure out what to do with the many loose wires, how to relay the main fan speed (you tossed the existing relays with the motherboard), decide whether to rig an over temp sensor, etc. You might need to rig a new transformer if that was on the motherboard. I don't know. I briefly considered replacing the motherboard on mine when I was mentally shotgunning parts (I only wasted 6 bucks on an inducer diaphragm valve.) The mass of wires connected to the motherboard scared me off. I always got it going again by cleaning the flame sensor. Even if I had just cleaned it a couple days ago. Main fan was always inconsistent too, sometimes running for a minute after flame off, sometimes not.
When the main fan relay (on motherboard) stuck so there was only low speed - not enough to heat/cool - I called in a pro. He had it going in 10 seconds by flexing the motherboard. Said it could stick again, so I had him put in a new motherboard. Took the pro about 15 minutes to replace the motherboard. He only cussed twice. No problems for the 3 years since.
That motherboard was flaky from the getgo. I think flaky/failing motherboards are the biggest problem with modern furnaces, not the sensors. Heat, undersized relays, etc. A flame sensor problem is easy to diagnose - gas valve opens, then closes. Cleaning sensor with steel wool always fixed that. Ignitor failure is easy to diagnose - inducer clicks diaphragm switch, and no glow within 15 seconds. Replaced one ignitor. MB leds give that info too. Sensors and ignitors are cheap and easy to replace. Motherboards cost hundreds - think mine was $320.
Came across a post somewhere where a guy had 2 Carrier motherboards fail in 4 years, so he wired external relays to take the load and the 3rd motherboard has lasted 6-7 years so far. Next time I get a furnace I'll call up the same pro and pay for a service call just to pick his brain on this type of thing before I make my decision. Problem is, as somebody else said, models are always changing, and some reliable models get discontinued. Almost like buying a first year model car - you don't know what bad was engineered into it.
Then, if you talk to a pro repairman who also does installs you have to be wary of his prejudices. It's human nature.
Anyway, I wager you won't try to do the modifications I've mentioned when you replace that old furnace. I'm a gambling man (-: Wouldn't mind being wrong on that bet though if you come back and tell us how you did it.
--Vic
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On 12/4/2010 4:13 PM, Vic Smith wrote:

Can't figure out whether you are serious or pulling our legs about making such comprehensive and radical "modifications" to the modern high efficiency gas furnace. I suspect that anyone following your advice would end up with a system that (1) was substantially less efficient than it could/should be, and (2) was unsafe to the point of probably failing many or even most safety codes for using natural gas furnaces in private residences.
Are you a believer in conspiracy theories that the all the manufacturers of these furnaces got together and agreed to intentionally fill their products with expensive, unnecessary and failure-prone components so that they all could reap larger profits? You would have to be. Otherwise, at least one or two of the companies would leave out many or all the components you advise removing and advertise that their products were equally safe, equally efficient, but much more reliable and less expensive that their competitors that include those components.
I don't know squat about engineering a gas furnace, but your advice just doesn't compute with me.
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No, my furnace is stock modern. I was just telling Home Guy what it would take to make a modern furnace work like his old one.
--Vic
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On Sat, 4 Dec 2010 06:23:19 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The four guys who came out to give estimates all just assumed I should use the same size I have now. 80,000 BTU and 2.5 ton AC, for 1400 sq. ft. (and a 700 below grad basement) Both of which are big enough, and neither too big afaict.
One guy said, "I guess you dont' want to run new ducts" and I agreed, and he said, "Well then we can skip [something or other]." The others just ignored it. I have 108 neighbors with identical houses, and I've seen the new installation one got this past summer, and it looks just like it used to, but new and shiny. The size of the furnace wasn't apparent, but based on what you say, I think I should/can look at the AC label. I'm trying to look at some more new furnaces.

The input would be smaller because they are more efficient. But shouldn't the output be the same as it was? The quotient is the efficiency.

Well, you have a full-time job, so you don't have more time than money, so if you're going to have it installed, they should do the up-front work too, like sizing. But the four guys I had, say 3, not counting the guy who never got back to me, didn't do anything. I'll admit, I forgot to ask them to do a load calculation, or whatever, and that was when I was seriously planning to hire one of them. Now that I'm tending the other way, I don't want to call anyone else and soak up his time.

The guys, father and son, who were doing the house next door said they would. Before I talked about hiring them directly, they pointed to 3 houses in eye-sight that they had done here, working for an oil company. One of them my friend's whose new furnace I had checked out. We didn't talk price yet. My friend had talked to Sears, I think, and they said oil furnaces were not so common and the best way was to go through an oil supply company, because they had guys who did mostly oil.

Probably. That's a problem. Mostly, I'm assuming since the current one lasted 31 years, that this one won't fail before the warranty is out anyhow, but that's foolish if it does fail. I'm also assuming if I don't drop it hard while taking it down the steps, it won't fail and if I do drop it, it's my fault. So "Don't drop it."
Depending on how much the guys I hire do, he may be be willing to sign off on it. That assumes he himself has a license, but he should. The father and son were the only ones doing the install next door.

Yes, it does iirc. But because I made so little money and will pay so little taxes, most of the credit isn't available to me anyhow.

Yes. Thanks.

I have the form. I didn't check if you have to copy the receipt, but maybe. I thought of prepaying, even if the installation was afterwards. Taht's bad if they guys drop dead or something, and if I pay for the furnace in advance, that means having to store it until spring and moving it from my mini-storage locker to my house. Another imposition on my friend with a truck. I have a 4'x 8' trailer which is rated 1000 pounds, and this is 200 pounds (or 300?) but the trailer still seems flimsy for this.

I have a hard time appreciating how much 200 pounds are. I may have moved that much before, with a helper, but didn't know how much I moved weighed. Last year another guy and I moved a refrigerator up from a basement.

Hmmmm. I'm 63 and there's a chance I'll still be in this house when I'm 87. I doubt I'll be able to do it myself then... so I have to save money now, to have enough money then. :)

Well, it was his idea, and conditioned on his doing it himself. So we may never know. I'm not in the mood to do anymore duct-making than necessary. Plus I'd never remember to move the plate out of the way in the summer and back in in the winter. I already forget to change the filter as soon as I should.

LOL
Yes. Who knows? Maybe when it comes down to it, that's what he will do. A short story. The ignition on my furnace used to trip off and require pressing a button for reset. Maybe 5 times a year for 2, 3, or 4 years. I don't know why. It would run for a month after I pressed the reset button, which pushed something in a latching relay that reset it. Then the relay wouldn't reset. (Today it would be transistorized, I assume). I took the cover off the 1" relay and tried to find the problem or clean it or point-file the relay contacts, but probably I coudln't get in there to do that. No luck. I tried to buy a replacement latching relay, but couldn't, even in some big catalogs, like Mouser (the whole control panel was 140 dollars 10 years earlier, so more now.) I thought about getting an almost-replacement relay that wouldn't fit the circuit board, but could hang from wires attached to the circuit board, but temporarilly, I put it back together again, and then it reset fine! Except it never trips anymore anyhow. That was 10 years ago and it hasnt' tripped in 7, 9, maybe 10 years. I'm amazed.
But during this time, I kept my eyes open and when a neighbor got a new furnace, I asked them and then saved their old burner, including the control panel (for when mine breaks), pump, transformer, etc.. It takes up a lot of space, a cardobard carton, a cube 30 inches on each side. If I get a new furnace, I can get rid of it.

;-)

Another strange thing about the book. He only spends a couple sentences on it, but he's firm that one should install new wires to the thermostat! That's ridiculous in general -- my wires are like new, and they're certainly not going to short or open. And in my house I think snaking the wire would be a lot of trouble. He also recommended the bricks under the furnace. The previous thread where I asked about that was written at a friend's house on his computer, so it doesn't use my name.

Yes, I almost always get things right the first time I do something. It's the third time when I screw up.
There are 8 things to connect. The AC. Easy. The thermostat. Easy The oil line. Easy if I can just use what I have. Pretty easy if I have to bend the tubing too much to get the new furnace in, and have to put in a union to make the shortened tubing longer. The flue. My neighbor's is done just like it was, and could have used the same pipes, but I'll probably get new too. It's just 4 pieces until it goes out of sight behind the furnace. 2 or 3 more pieces to the chimney. So, pretty easy. Getting the parts is the hard part. The input duct. The output duct. He spends a bunch of space on how to do this. I realize now that there are no left-hand or right-hand furnaces. I have to cut the big hole for the return air duct. No big deal to cut the hole. Have to see how my duct is currently connected. The control wires to the compressor outside. Easy The freon pipes. I'll pay to have that done. The AC comes pre-charged, so I won't have to buy much freon, if any. I should get that part of the price settled in advance. The same guy, or guys, will adjust the combustion.
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mm wrote:

Yes, and we both still run windows 98. Because I'm that type of "Guy".

Yes, that would work as well.

Electronics are fine in my den, but not my furnace. Just read these home / hvac forums for how many people have had to replace various sensors and main boards and how much those parts can cost. ECM motor is a complete crock of shit. You save maybe 100 watts compared to running a 1/4 HP AC motor (which is about 1 penny an hour, or about $100 a year if the fan is running 24/7/365) but the motor will run you $400 to $800 to replace if it breaks. Besides, the extra 100 watts goes into heat that you can use in the winter anyways. And the ignitor - ask how many people have had issues with those.

You'd really only know once you have the unit taken apart. I would assume that you'd simply place the pilot light in the same spot the ignitor is located, and the flames will spread to the burners the exact same way.

Sure it's easier, but...

Then it's too late. You need the heat, and you don't have the time to perform custom mods. The best time to do it is when your old furnace is still up and running.

Instructions:
1) shut off your gas valve which should be located 6 feet from your furnace. Shut off the electrical service to the furnace at your main breaker panel.
2) disconnect thermostat and AC power from the furnace cabinet. disconnect the gas line from the furnace.
3) disconnect the return air and plenum ductwork from the furnace cabinet. Leave AC coils in place in their duct. Support with wires from above if necessary.
4) move old furnace out of the way, move new furnace into place.
5) modify ductwork as needed.
6) connect ac power and thermostat wires to new furnace.
7) connect natural gas line to furnace. modify pipe lengths and bends as necessary. use pipe sealant as directed.
8) turn on gas valve to furnace. check for leaks (use soapy water if you want).
9) turn on AC power to furnace at main breaker panel.
10) program your thermostat as desired.

I also suspect that would be the situation. The bastards...
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That sure puts a perspective on things. Windows 98 was notoriously crash prone, difficult to protect from a security standpoint and everyone I know was happy to see it replaced by newer OS's that were far superior. There is no comparison to current OS products. What exactly do you have against the new OS's?
Then we have the fact that with just about any new PC you buy today, you wind up getting the latest OS included as part of the price. HP is selling a midrange computer with an AMD Phenom II quad core, 4GB of RAM, 650MB of disk, CD ROM drive, Win 7 Microsoft Office and Norton Internet Security for $425 with free shipping, So, either you're re-installing Win98 on new computers, which seems rather improbable given the lack of Win98 drivers for current hardware, or you're still using a 15 to 20 year old PC. Still on dialup too?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Ok, I don't want this thread to seriously derail at this point, so I will simply say that there are reasons why people perceived win-98 to be seriously flawed that had more to do with the quality of computers and hardware available in 1999-2000, like faulty video drivers and pathetically small amounts of installed ram. There is a very healthy and active community of people that run win-98 on moderm motherboards with 512mb of ram (and up to several gb). As I type this, I'm running a P4 2.5 ghz PC with 512 mb ram and 2 hard drives (80 gb and 400 gb SATA) with KernelEx API enhancements (which lets me run quite a bit of XP-only software).
Very reliable and stable, hardly touchable by any of the hundreds of exploits for NT-based windows systems. XP was the emperor with no clothes. It was a disaster for the first 4 years of it's life. We live with spam today because of all the home systems that used XP from 2002 through 2006 that got infected with backdoor trojans that turned them into botnets. It was a crime for Microsoft to force XP into home computers back in 2002, and it really wasn't fit enough for home use until SP2. But everyone conveinently forgets XP's history in that regard.

Complete myth.
There never were any network worms that could work on win-98 systems. Meanwhile there were about 6 different worms over the past 7 years that can infect NT/XP systems just by them having an internet connection - no user intervention required.
NT/XP was designed to be used by corporations and enterprises on closed networks, behind firewalls, managed by IT departments. It's only since mid 2006 (XP-SP2) did it become somewhat secure for the average home-owner/user to use XP without help and protection from an on-site IT staff.
Go to secunia.org and look at the security issues for different versions of windows. Win-98 has a pathetically small number of issues (33?) - many of them of low importance. Meanwhile, XP has hundreds.

I don't buy PC's - I build mine from scratch. I don't own any laptops or netbooks - don't need em.
I have access to binders full of Microsoft software. MSDN, technet, etc. I have set up hundreds of XP machines at my $DayJob$. I've even set up something called Multipoint Server 2010 (based on Server 2008 R2).
I run office 2000 Premium SR1. It's nice, because no validation is need to install (just like no validation needed for win-98). Office 2003? 2007? 2010? I have them all at work. What do most of our work computers run? Windows 98 with Office 2000. Why? Because if it ain't broke, you don't f*ck with it.
I know my shit, and what I know is that Microsoft's life blood is to keep selling you a new OS every 3 years, and they'll do what-ever they can to beat their old OS's into the ground. If Win-98 was really as bad as everyone thinks it is, I would leave it in a second, and I have any number of options at my disposal at no cost to me. I have the CD's and product keys for ALL versions of windows since windows 95 up to Windows 7.
But I keep using windows 98 for my home computers and my desktop computer at work. What does that tell you? Does it tell you that I like to have FULL ACCESS to my own computer? Does it tell you that NTFS is really a crock of shit compared to FAT32? Does it tell you that I don't particularly like the idea of WGA? Or that I don't like DRM built right into the kernel of my OS (as with Vista and 7)? Or a dozen new system vulnderabilities discovered every month?
Keep drinking the coolaid. Microsoft and it's ecosystem of software and hardware partners are loving you for it.
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Last time I checked, video drivers are considered part of and ship with the OS, at least today. The video drivers I'm using on the PC I'm writing this on were shipped as part of Windows XP. Upon installation, the OS installer detects the hardware and installs the appropriate driver. That's one of the benefits of XP and more modern OS's. The drivers for everything the typical user needs are tested, certified and sold with the OS
As for the quality of computers in 2000, it's rather strange that if hardware were the problem, those same computers did not crash when running NT.
>There is a very healthy

Yeah, I'm sure it's a real stable gem and a marvel that should be in the Smithsonian for all to admire.

Strange because I used it on several PCs from the time of it's first release and I experienced no such disasters. It was an immediate improvement.

Nonsense. The only reason more spam originates from XP, Vista, or Win 7 systems is because there are so many more of them out there and consequently they are the systems targeted. Why would any hacker or virus developer waste their time screwing around writing for Win98 in 2006, when it was basicly extinct?

Tell us what marvel of security software you're using that offers realtime protection from viruses and malware on Win98. None of the major security software vendors even offer a product that runs on Win98 anymore. Not Norton, not McAfee, Kaspersky, TrendMicro, none of them. The best you can find is some shareware that may find the virus when you manually run it after the virus is already on your system. None of those that I'm aware of provide removal either.

You think MAYBE that's because of factors like it just took time for the worms and the sophistication of hackers to develop? Any reasonable person knows perfectly well that if Win98 was sitting all over the worlds networks today, it would be MORE prone to attack by viruses today. That argument is like saying there were never any terrorists that used a DC3, so it was a superior airplane to a 767.

LOL. As I said, I used XP for a decade, from the start, with no such problems. What you're suggesting, that Win98 is or was more secure than XP, is laughable.

You think just maybe that could be because those that develop viruses and those that try to hack systems evolved over time, became more prevalent over time? Consequently they are spending their time to hack into the systems that are most widespread and useful to hack with. In other words, for the last decade, just like other software developers they haven't given a rat's behind about Win98. Yet, you mistake that as a feature of Win98.

Figures you'd follow that strategy. Kind of like the guys I see bidding up systems on Ebay. The seller has a two year old PC and states in the listing over and over that they don't know if it works, sold as is, it turns on, but there is no video, no cables, no software, etc. Yet I see guys bidding it up to over $200. Over at HP, you can get a brand new midrange PC with Win 7 and Microsoft Office, warranty, support, etc for $425. Does that $200 box sound like a good deal to you?
You couldn't buy the indivdual components on that HP system for anywhere near $425. You think you're going to get an AMD Phenom II X4 for anything close to what HP buys it for? How about that 1GB drive? Even just the hardware components would be more than that. And then, after you do the integration, using parts from God knows where, when it doesn't work, you can argue with the seller about whether the parts were deffective before or after you screwed around with them. I suppose you'd prefer to build your own TV too.

That sounds like the corporate strategy used by GM, Chrysler, and Lucent Technologies.

Really? Wow, you mean just like every 3 years or so I can get a new cell phone that has way more features, better call quality, better bandwith, internet access, longer battery life, etc? My what blood suckers, all of them!

Almost everyone knows how inferior it was to the OS's we run today.

I'd say it, together with your constant vulgarity and the fact that you claim you would take any new furnace apart to tear out the modern technology parts before installing it tells me that you aren't as smart as you think you are and you have some serious issues.

Yeah, they get a whole lot of money out of me. Let's see, last $ they got was when I bought a PC back in 2001 with XP installed on it. That might have amounted to $50 at most. Then, this year I bought a new HP computer with Win 7 and Office. Maybe they got $75 out of that. Big deal. Compare that to your cell phone bill. Or your cable bill. Oh wait, let me guess, you don't have those either, right?
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Hardware drivers (video, chipset, etc) are written by the manufacturers of those components. They are made available to Microsoft for incorporation into the distribution CD's that Windows comes on.
Drivers are updated all the time, especially for video cards, and the best drivers for most things are almost always obtained from the manufacturer's website, not from the Windows installation CD.
Now if you're talking laptops or netbooks, that's a slightly different story, as those hardware components are custom-integrated into the final product and there may never be driver updates created for those hardware components. When it comes to desktop PC's, unless you have a "boutique" computer (HP, Compaq, Dell) then most likely there are better versions of various hardware drivers available on the net vs the ones that shipped with the computer originally or that come on the Windows CD.
Windows 98 was plagued by buggy AGP video card drivers and even the AGP bus itself was still being improved (from an electrical / signalling POV) back during the time when win-98 was introduced and used (1998 - 2002). Video cards and drivers were significantly better and more reliable in 2002 than they were in 1998.

Windows 98 was no different. The win-98 CD comes with hundreds of drivers for all sorts of hardware devices from dozens of manufacturers, and hundreds if not thousands more win-98 drivers are available on the web for new devices that didn't exist back in 1998/1999.
It was only during 2006 that drivers for new hardware products stopped being written for windows 98.

NT did crash. But more to the point - NT systems were usually given the luxury of more installed RAM. Any OS becomes unstable when given a small amount of memory, and Win-98 systems at the time were severely handicapped because they usually had a pathetic 8 to 32 mb of installed RAM.
Another thing is that when a program crashes under NT, it doesn't take the OS with it. But Win-9x doesn't have the same separation of OS and App memory space, so a badly behaving program can crash a win-9x computer. You might think this is a good thing, but it's largely irrelavent, because you probably won't be running a badly-behaved App for very long regardless what OS you use.

XP was extremely well known as being easily exploitable back during 2002 through 2004, and slightly less exploitable in 2005 - 2006. Ask anyone who was in IT during those years.

You noticed an improvement because XP most likely came installed on a new computer, and the specs of that new computer were likely much better than the specs of of the win-98 computer that it replaced.
The years 1998 through 2003 saw a drastic improvement in the capability, performance, stability and reliability of computer hardware (motherboard, hard drives, video cards, RAM). You can't compare win-98 with XP without taking that into account.

There were major flaws in XP back in 2002 through 2006 that made them easy targets for remote access and control by hackers. Those flaws relate to Microsoft's design goals that XP was first and formost a business-level operating system and had lots of extra "stuff" (services) turned on that were completely unnecessary for home users. Windows 98 either did not have those services or they were not turned on by default as they were with XP, and because of code differences the win-98 versions either did not have any vulnerabilities or if they did, they were not exploitable in a reliable and consistent way as they were with XP.
There were plenty of Win-98 computers on the internet during 1998 through 2002, but hardly any of them were exploited because they simply weren't vulnerable, and many win-98 computers continued to be used into 2003 and 2004. When you read detailed reports and white-papers regarding trojans and botnets, you find that they were overwhelmingly composed of XP machines back in 2003 through 2005, even though there were still a significant number of win-98 machines in use at the time.

Hackers were always looking for vulnerabilities in all OS's in use at any given time. The truth is that there were hardly any vulnerabilities in win-98. Ever.

Usually - nothing.
The main AV product that I used on my home and company PC's is/was Norton AntiVirus 2002 (and note: NAV did not become bloatware until version 2003 and later). NAV 2002 can still be updated with current virus scan engine and definition files using Symantec's "intellgent updater" package - but Symantec doesn't want you to know that.
But I mostly don't bother to update the definitions on the 15 or so win-98 computers that I own or manage because they quite simply have never gotten exposed to any malware in the past 7 or so years.
And it's funny when I'm surfing a website and I get the fake-AV popup that wants me to download some software (which I do just to sample it and send it to virustotal.com) or maybe some rogue web-page will trigger my browser to download a malicious pdf file which will cause Acrobat Reader 6 to start up - and display a harmless error message - because acrobat reader 6 is not vulnerable to any of the various pdf exploits that have been discovered in the past few years.
Every once in a while I'll take the hard drive from my win-98 systems and slave them to an isolated XP system running several different AV software and scan the drives for malware. NONE is ever found.
From an IT management point of view, it has been an absolute pleasure to own and operate about a dozen windows-98 systems in a corporate / small business environment for the past 10 years. From payroll to accounting to production to manufacturing to networking, win-98 works well in those rolls with the software we have, and I spend zero time having to worry or deal with security or malware from the internet. It's also been a very cost-effective solution not "upgrading" to what-ever Microsoft says is the required OS to use. Anyone dancing to Microsoft's tune is indeed a fool.
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After certification and approval by Microsoft to ensure that they work with the OS. Ifa the drivers for the common video chips included in WinXP, 7, etc doesn't work, won't install, etc, you call Microsoft. With Win98 you have old drivers and God knows who you call today. I doubt anyone is writing Win98 drivers for new hardware today.

And most people, like me, are using the standard ones. I have a four monitor Appian graphics card running on XP. Not even your typical video card. The standared XP install recognized it, installed the driver and it works perfectly.

There isn't anything special about notebook computers. The hardware components that drive the I/O, eg video/graphics chips are integrated into chips on the motherboard. The exact same thing is done with the computers you buy at any of the desktop manufacturers. They usually have basic video/graphics integrated on the motherboard because most of the chipsets sold by Intel, AMD have those built-in and it gives them a cost effective way of offering video/graphics. If you want to, you can choose to disable those and use an add-in card for higher performance. Same thing with disk. The disk interface has been part of the desktop motherboard for a decade, because it too is intergrated into those chipsets, just like for notebooks.

You're stuck in Win98 world. Today those common, mainstream PCs come with drivers that are perfectly fine, stable and only a small minority of people are seeking out drivers different than what comes with the PC. That mode exists primarily with geeks and gamers, who want to screw around with things and try to get some better performance. I don;t know who would consider HP or Dell a boutique company. I can get a mid-range PC with 6GB RAM, 650MB disk, Win 7, MSFT Office, Norton Internet Security, etc from HP for $425 including shipping. What makes that "boutique". BTW, Compaq hasn't existed for years. It was bought by HP.

Uh huh. And those better drivers are shipped by Microsoft as part of XP and later OS's. Consequently, those OS's are more likely to install and work without blue screens of death. I think most people would say that makes XP a better OS.

Win98 was different. You just said:
"Windows 98 was plagued by buggy AGP video card drivers " Today Win7 ship with drivers that are stable and not buggy.

Oh my God. You can't seriously belive this. WinXP and subsequent OSs took full advantage of the hardware protection built into the Intel architecture. There is physical hardware present specifically to prevent one app from crashing another ap or the OS. For example, using that hardware, the OS limits the memory space application A can reach. It can try to do a direct memory write to another memory region, eg one used by the OS, and the HARDWARE blocks it and triggers an exception. It's precisely those kinds of improvements that are in XP and later OS's that make them stable. Win98 was a kludge from the days of the original 8088 based PC, with the OS being a legacy 16 bit implentation with some 32 bit capability added on. Consequently it made minimal use of the features of the hardware that provided memory management and protection. With XP, the home had a true 32 bit OS that fitted perfectly with the memory management and protection hardware of the Intel architecture.
With Win98 I regularly had one bad behaving app lock up the whole system. With XP and later, that's been reduced dramatically. It still does happen once in a while. I think most people share that experience.

And Win98 besides being an unstable piece of crap, had all those security vulnerabilities and more. Just because more viruses and malware have evolved over time doesn't mean that earlier OS's were better. Following that logic, we should all still be using MS-DOS because the original IBM PC had no viruses, at least for a while.

Wrong. You can take Win98 and run it on a brand new computer today and it would have the same problems because it's a kludge 16bit/32 bit patched together OS. But that ain;t very likely to happen, because no one is writing drivers for it today. You want to stay stuck in time 5+ years ago forever?

Been, there, done that. What I've seen is a constant improvement over time in both hardware and software. One of those was kissing Win98 goodbye.

Hopefully that's because that system is not connected to the internet. More likely it's because no security software is available to offer real- time protection for Win98.

That must mean that you don;t have it connected to the internet, otherwise they would clearly be exposed. But being an antique, there are less viruses to worry about because just like with apps, no one is writing new ones. But I'd bet someone is occasionally recirculating old ones.

I'm sure trying to use Win98 on the web today you get all sorts of error messages.

That's a real convenient process and finds them only after they've infected the system.

Yeah, like I said, that evil corporation called Microsoft has really scammed me. They got maybe $50 from me in 2001 when I bought a PC with XP. And recently they got a similar amount or maybe $75when I bought a new PC that has Win 7 and Microsoft Office on it. During that decade I got free updates. They really took advantage of me. All those developers that stopped writing anything for Win98 6 or more years ago must be fools too.
Clearly you're one of the Microsoft hating loons, so biased you can't see the forest for the trees. .
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