New gas furnace/AC recommendations?

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London area? You poor guys - Waterloo Region dodged the bullet this time!!!

You can say what you like. I heat my 1970's (1974?) 2 storey for $700 a year in Waterloo with natural gas.

Only use the AC on the really nasty hot/humid days. This last summer that was about 2 weeks

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On Dec 9, 7:42am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

On only the coldest or hottest days do I run the fan 24hr just to balance things out. 24x7 will sure wear out a motor faster
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On Thu, 9 Dec 2010 14:08:24 -0800 (PST), ransley

    Actually, the worst thing for a motor is frequent starts.
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On Thu, 9 Dec 2010 14:08:24 -0800 (PST), ransley

replaced it with the 2 speed just under half way through the life of the furnace. The original was a 1/3HP, the replacement was 1/2 and 1/6. The new furnace is a multispeed brushless DC motor
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca unnecessarily full-quoted:

Which are glorified stepper motors.
In my house, the only place these wimpy DC motors will ever be is in my hard drive and DVD players.
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ECM motors are *NOT* stepper motors. If you had a half a clue, you would know this.

Its too bad you have your mind made up and can't be confused with the facts. If ignorance is bliss, you must be in a constant state of euphoria.
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They are a heck of a lot more efficient than a crappy split cap induction motor!!
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Sometimes durability and longevity trumps efficiency.
Even if electric heat (on a per-therm basis) is twice the cost of natural gas, that extra energy used by a PSC motor is beneficially used by my house in the winter, and my PSC fan is running only maybe 25 to 33% of the time, not 100% of the time. In the summer, when my fan is running more often, it's running at full speed - something that I would also ask an ECM motor to do, and for which the ECM motor does not have as much of an efficiency advantage over a PSC motor.
So I'll pay the net $100 a year in additional energy cost and never have to worry about my PSC motor failing me for several decades - if ever.
Even after gov't rebates, forking out a minimum $2000 for a new furnace is going to take years to recover that, with the ECM motor delivering just $100 a year and the burners / heat-exchanger *maybe* giving me an additional $200 a year in savings. And by the time I've made those savings the furnace will be near the end of it's reliable life-span.
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So your saying that the "reliable life span" of the new furnaces is only 6 - 7 years?? This may be true when installed by John Q Homeowner, or the lowest bidder, however when correctly installed, properly adjusted, and with correctly sized ductwork, the normal lifespan is 20 - 23 years.
You still cannot buy a new furnace today that *DOESN"T* have electronics controling it. Furnaces with PSC motors are still available, but only in the cheapest, lowest efficiency, "builder grade" models.
Maybe thats why your so against the new furnaces... your got the cheapest POS furnace you could find, you got what you paid for, and now your not happy with it.
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Steve full-quoted:

What-ever they are, they're not going to last as long as the ones being made 30 and 40 years ago - many of which are still functional even if they've been replaced by new garbage.

Don't give me that "correctly installed" crap.
A furnace is a box where you connect wires and ducting and turn the friggin thing on. It's a glorified barbeque.
Any new furnace that can't be plugged into any existing house's ductwork and work correctly is a piece of shit.
As bad as the existing ductwork is or can be, you shouldn't have to tear it down and re-do it just to satisfy the hyper-sensitive requirements of a new furnace or it's delicate, wimpy ECM blower motor.

Pathetic.

If you mean electronics *inside* it, it's that very fact that I'm bitching about. Just because you can't buy one that doesn't have a frakken motherboard in it doesn't mean you can't bitch and complain how unnecessary it is to have it.

My furnace is 36 years old and is original to the house when it was built in 1976 which I bought 11 years ago. I have no idea where this furnace ranked in the marketplace at the time, but obviously they made quality stuff back then, before the industry went into the toilet in the last 10 - 20 years.

I'm very happy with it, and if I ever have to replace it, I'm going to modify any new furnace I get by swapping it's ECM motor for a PSC one, and remove the electronic ignition and replace it with a standing pilot, and rip all the electronic flame and other sensors out of it, along with the frakkin motherboard.
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useable "old school" furnaces - you'll have a hell of a time modifying the new ones to take the old parts!!
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I don't know what you consider "cheapest, lowest efficiency", but I'm looking at quotes for a Rheem 120K BTU, 95% efficient furnace that meets the govt high efficiency standards for the tax credit. And it has a single speed PSC motor. Can also get the same furnace and AC system from Trane, for $800 more.
While I don't agree with Home Guy on everything, I do agree that in many cases the extra cost of models with an ECM blower aren't worth it. That's from two standpoints. First is that those models only save on the blower electricity. And then independent studies have shown that you get the 40% electricity savings if the duct work is ideal. If it's good, you get like 25%. If it's typical it's more like 15 -20%. And if it's poor ducting, you get 10% to -10%. So, for maybe a 15-20% savings, you have a significantly higher initial outlay, plus exposure to higher repair costs if the blower motor or it's added drive electronics fails.
I can see going with the variable ECM motor if you want to run the blower 24/7. Or if you highly value that it starts up quietly, can run at low speed longer to even out heat better with a two stage furnace on mild heating days. Or can run on slow speed with AC to dehumidify better. But none of those are that important to me.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I'm guessing that it's increasingly high targets for energy efficiency (combustion and electrical) set by gov't regulations is the reason why we're seeing the use of ECM blower motors in consumer HVAC equipment, just as we see the same when it comes to saftey equipment (air bags, ABS brakes, CAFE and emissions standards) in cars. Probably the same reason for electronic ignition vs standing pilot as well.
I can't believe that we'd see widespread use of ECM motors under true free-market-driven conditions (ie - with no gov't efficiency mandates or constraints).
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A lot of us don't live where they have 9 months of winter sports, and humidity control is a huge issue. Where I am, we run A/C from March 1st until November 1st with average summer temps of 90F with 75% to 85% RH you can *DO* what you want, you can be as ignorant as you want....thats your problem.
I do this for a living, and I *KNOW* first hand what the benefits of the new systems are, and how much my customers utility bills have dropped, as well as their comfort level increasing.
You can *TRY* to re-engineer a new furnace by taking out the electronics, ECM motor, and electronic ignition... Just remember that as soon as you screw with it, you have voided the warranty, as well as the UL ratings and if you burn your house down, your insurance company will deny the claim.
Maybe you should get a job in the engineering department with the equipment manufacturers.
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On 12/11/2010 12:53 PM, Steve wrote:

Steve, you can verify something for me because you do more of this work than I do. I've noticed a dramatic drop in price for the ECM motors over a period of time and I assume it's because millions of the things are being produced now, economies of scale. I'm seeing an ECM replacement for PSC motors offered like the Genteq EverGreen and I'm wondering if you've converted any air handlers for customers or have considered it?
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

I think that's still made by GE

At least tell us what the over-the-counter (cash and carry) price is for an ECM drop-in replacment 1/4 hp NEMA-48 1700 rpm PSC motor.
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They are not interchangeable.
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------------------ http://www.aosmithmotors.com/uploadedFiles/Website/Products/Distribution_HVAC-R_Motors/6850_Web_9-10.pdf
The Comfort Select FB motor is a brushless, direct current (BLDC), permanent magnet, electronically commutated motor (ECM). The motor is controlled by integrated electronics providing high efficiency, advanced motor protection, and has the same performance characteristics as a PSC motor. The Comfort Select~FB motor is designed as a direct replacement or retrofit product for a PSC motor. ------------------
This brochure is confusing, because on the last page it lists 5 different HP sizes, while seeming to indicate the availability in only 2 HP sizes (1/2 and 1 hp) which is strange since I wouldn't think that a residential furnace would need anything larger than 1/3 hp.
The power consumption of the 1/2 hp unit (6.3 A at 115 V) seems excessive.
Example retail pricing:
------------------------ http://www.alpinehomeair.com/viewproduct.cfm?productIDE3062575
Upgrade your furnace or air handler to a high efficiency, variable speed blower motor without having to make complex changes to your system. The RESCUE EcoTech motor drops into existing PSC (multi-speed) induction-blower applications, without making complex wiring modifications or changes to the system controls. Just connect the leads, and youre done! No 24-volt signal leads or setup required its plug and play.
With the increased efficiency and available low circulation of this motor, you will be free to cycle air continuously without a significant increase in utility bills. Continuous fan operation supports improved filtration, helping to clear the air of dust and allergens all the while making your home more comfortable by working to reduce temperature variations throughout the home.
The RESCUE EcoTech motors advanced design also features active airflow management, which allows the motor to compensate for static pressure changes to help maintain airflow. This means that as vents are closed or the filter becomes full, the motor will attempt to maintain the same airflow, helping to keep the system operating efficiently and the home comfortable.
Standard Features
* Easy Installation - Drops into existing PSC (multi-speed) direct drive induction-blower applications without making wiring modifications or changes to the system controls.
* Quiet, Efficient Circulation Speed - The advanced motor design provides a low, 600 rpm circulation speed, so you can cycle air continuously without the noise, draft or electricity cost of a PSC motor.
* Money Saving Efficiency - Save money on your electric bill just by replacing the existing PSC blower motor in your furnace or air handler.
Product Specifications
Volts 115 VAC Blower Motor Horse Power 1/2 HP Rotational speed in revolutions per minute 1140 RPM Number of Blower Speeds 5 Motor Warranty 2 Years
Your Price: $323.99
Emerson EcoTech Estimated Electricity Savings:
http://www.alpinehomeair.com/_viewresource.cfm?ID#27 ---------------------------
They estimate annual savings of either $38 (fan runs only during heating or cooling) or $106 (fan runs continuously). This is for the 1/3 hp model, based on 14 cents /kwh.
This place:
http://www.patriot-supply.com/products/showitem.cfm/196266
Also lists the 1/2 hp Emerson 5530ET motor for $323.
The Emerson 5520ET is listed as 1/3 hp by some sellers and 1/4 hp by others. It's priced at about $300.
This is a brochure for the Fasco / Evergreen Motor:
www.fasco.com/fasco/documents/NewsletterJanuary2010.pdf
----------------- Fasco is proud to introduce the new Evergreen motor: the worlds first universal aftermarket Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM) specifically designed to save energy in residential heating and cooling applications. Like compact-fluorescent replacement bulbs now offer an energy-saving alternative to traditional incandescent lightbulbs, the new Evergreen motor is a new high-efficiency alternative for standard replacement motors. It uses proven ECM technology to save energy and moneyevery time a residential HVAC system is in use.
On average, consumers can expect to save over 25% on annual motor operating costs or about $60 in annual heating and cooling operation based on 10/kWh. Even better, consumers can also expect to use up to 74% fewer watts with an Evergreen motor when they run their fans between heating and cooing cycles. -----------------
So basically you're going to spend $300 and probably save $100 a year in electricity if you're lucky, and probably only if you can get an actual 1/4 or 1/3 hp unit - not a 1/2 hp one.
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On 12/11/2010 10:46 PM, Home Guy wrote:

http://www.aosmithmotors.com/uploadedFiles/Website/Products/Distribution_HVAC-R_Motors/6850_Web_9-10.pdf
From looking at the information, I understand that the 1/2hp ECM motor is the replacement for 1/3 through 1/2hp PSC motors and the 1hp ECM is the replacement for the 3/4 through 1hp motors. The ECM motors are adaptable according to the literature and have the programming to learn how to operate much like an automotive engine control unit. It's very interesting what has been done with these new motors. It reminds me of the way switching power supplies have taken over the work once done by less efficient shunt regulated power supplies.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

Would you even use a 1/2 hp ECM motor for a home furnace? You certainly wouldn't save any money if you were replacing a 1/4 hp single-speed PSC motor with these 1/2 hp ECM units.

How exactly do they do that?
How does a motor know how much CFM the fan is moving?
Are there pressure or flow sensors mounted in the duct work for that?
How would you use one of those replacement motors when you have an ordinary single-speed PSC motor in a 25+ year old furnace?
Can you apply 115 vac directly to those motors to the appropriate set of wires to make them operate - to hell with this learning crap?
I don't get this learning crap anyways. What is an ECM motor supposed to learn? Don't you just want it to turn at a given RPM? Why all the fuss about finessing the CFM?
If the controller can make the unit start at low RPM and then speed up, that's great. Do it. Why worry about CFM? If the house isin't reaching the thermostat set-point fast enough, then speed up the motor, or turn up the burners.
To me, the feedback the motor controller should get is the difference between actual house temperature and the thermostat set-point temperature. The smaller that difference, the slower the motor needs to turn and the less BTU's the furnace needs to put out. What the actual CFM is is neither here nor there. If the occupants want to over-ride the motor RPM to get ambient circulation, then fine, given them the option for low and medium speed constant circulation mode based on motor RPM - not on some sort of "learning" crap.
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