new gas furnace recommendations needed

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My 17-year-old Carrier furnace has a cracked heat exchanger. I have received three different quotes that I would like advice on please.
My house: built in 1989, under 1700 sq. ft., rancher on slab, vaulted ceiling in great room with two skylights, three bedrooms, 75,000 btu gas furnace in attic
quotes: - Amana AMS8 70,000 btu 80%, warranty 20, 5, 2 $3349 (the guy who came on the service call) - Lennox G40 70,000 btu 80%, replacement 2.5 ton evaporator coil, same warranty, $3300 - York Choice or Trane XB, 20,5,1 warranty, $2400 or with replacement 3 ton coil $3500
I plan on being in this house another 1-2 years.
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wrote:

The cost difference between a 80 + and a 90+ furnace will reward you at resale since energy costs ALWAYS go up.
Are you CERTAIN the heat exchanger is cracked? This is a typical scam statement by some HVAC companies:(
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wrote:

My suspicions too. Get your gas compaqny to make a free safety inspection. A 17 yeaqr old gas furnace should be in pretty good shape.
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Not a 17 year old Carrier Furnace in an attic. If you google life expectancy of a gas furnace it is about 18 years.
It couldn't hurt to get a second opinion. Did the tech show you how he proved a cracked heat exchanger.
According to MSN.com, Consumer Reports, and some realestate report state that investment in your heating system should give you a 95-100% payback on your investment.
--
Bob Pietrangelo
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wrote:

The cost difference between a 80 + and a 90+ furnace will reward you at resale since energy costs ALWAYS go up.
Are you CERTAIN the heat exchanger is cracked? This is a typical scam statement by some HVAC companies:)
And you know this How? It's idiots like you that we read about in the news, because they didn't have their furnace checked.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com, 2/16/2007,6:00:43 PM, wrote:

He shined a light into the the right side heating chamber and I could see a hole and light through it in the seam at the end of it and plenty of rust covering up the burner. The other two chambers were good. Another guy told me a few years ago it was on the edge and wouldn't last much longer.
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On Sat, 17 Feb 2007 01:28:23 -0500, "badgolferman"

If you can see a hole in the heat exchanger large enough for light to shine through you should be having constant nausea, vomitting and maybe even a death in the family from carbon monoxide poisoning by now. If your sense of smell is normal you should be able to smell burnt gases whenever your furnace fires up (1).
The same assessment of cracked tubes from three contractors and not having at least one insisiting that you have it fixed immediately is professional negligence. He likely has a professional obligation to inform the gas company if you refuse to act on a potentially fatal problem with your furnace. My argument is based on the fact that if a civil engineer (a brother in law) is asked to sign off on a structure that in his professional opinion is incorrectly designed and will collapse and kill someone he has to refuse that commission and report that to his professional body.
Skip the lawer part of it. Get that gas company to make that free inspection. The gas company really does have a stake in your safety and will never lie to you.
That said the heat exchanger is like a radiator that has spaces (aka holes) in between the tubes so that the burnt gasses can pass through them to the stack. Natural gas has a max temp of 2148°C which is why the fan has to be on first to keep the tubes within operating temperatures. If the thermocouple interlock senses overheating it will shut down the burners. At that temperature plain cast iron is the best material as any alloy or alloy coating will be burnt off. Constantly heated cast iron looks rough and "rusty"
(1) Excerpts from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas In any form, a minute amount of odorant such as t-butyl mercaptan, with a rotting-cabbage-like smell, is added to the otherwise colorless and odorless gas, so that leaks can be detected before a fire or explosion occurs. Sometimes a related compound, thiophane is used, with a rotten-egg smell. Adding odorant to natural gas began in the United States after the 1937 New London School explosion. The buildup of gas in the school went unnoticed, killing three hundred students and faculty when it ignited. Odorants are considered non-toxic in the extremely low concentrations occurring in natural gas delivered to the end user..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs after the inhalation of carbon monoxide gas. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a product of combustion of organic matter under conditions of restricted oxygen supply, which prevents complete oxidation to carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-irritating, making it difficult for people to detect.
Carbon monoxide is a significantly toxic gas with poisoning being the most common type of fatal poisoning in many countries. Symptoms of mild poisoning include headaches and flu-like effects, larger exposures can lead to significant toxicity on the central nervous system and the heart. Following poisoning often long term sequelae occurs. Carbon monoxide can also have severe effects on the fetus of pregnant woman.
The mechanisms by which carbon monoxide produces toxic effects are not yet fully understood but hemoglobin, myoglobin, and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase are thought to be compromised. Treatment largely consists of administering 100% oxygen or hyperbaric oxygen therapy, although the optimum treatment remains controversial. Domestic carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented by the use of household carbon monoxide detectors.
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The OP is no doubt concerned if the gas company inspects and finds it bad they will shut off his heat. yet if its really as bad as he says, he should be very ill or dead.
the OP should rush out today and buy a carbon monoxide detector with a digital readout. 50 bucks!
If its zero or real low after a few days call the gas company and confirm the furnace is fine. DONT hsave to worry about a red tag, it just confirms what you will ALREADY KNOW!
Then get even!
Call the comany the dealer sells carrier etc and complain, call the BBB and media!
THAT CONTRACTOR IS RIPPING PEOPLE OFF, do all the people of your town a favor and literally put him out of business!
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The guy said the tech showed him the hole with a light shining through it. He has gotten 3 quotes for replacement. I don't see why everyone here wants to jump to the conclusion that all service people are rip off artists and liars. The guy has 3 quotes already. And I wouldn't assume the gas company is so pure either. My gas company also does servicing, sells equipment and offers service contracts. So in many cases they have the same profit motive as your local heating/cooling guy. But they do have one advantage. When they inspect it, they will shut it off and red tag it and force a crisis right then and there.
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On Feb 17, 10:24�am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Contractor rip offs are sadly pretty common:(
My advice check with detector FIRST then have gas company inspect if it doesnt generate monoxide. cost little can save thousands for 50 bucks and a detector is a good thing to own, even a brand nbew furnace can malfunction........
Incdenly stoves etc DO, but since there a much lower BTU its not enough to be dangerous in most situations.
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The key to whether you get CO is most directly related to whether the appliance is burning correctly or not. It's true that a correctly burning furnace is still going to put out more CO than a kitchen oven and range, but that isn't how people usually get killed. They get killed because the device is not burning correctly, which results in CO production increasing by a couple orders of magnitude, which is far more than the diff in normal CO level from kitchen appliances as compared to a furnace. Surely you've seen portable high BTU kerosene or gas heaters used to heat buildings during construction, etc. They don't kill anyone, if used correctly.
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Contractor rip offs are sadly pretty common:(
My advice check with detector FIRST then have gas company inspect if it doesnt generate monoxide. cost little can save thousands for 50 bucks and a detector is a good thing to own, even a brand nbew furnace can malfunction........
Incdenly stoves etc DO, but since there a much lower BTU its not enough to be dangerous in most situations.
*** Contractor rippoffs are very rare actually, unfortunately they make better news than good contractors. If you deal with a good contractor with high credentials, a satisfactory rating with the BBB, recommended by manufacturers as tops in there area, you usually can't go wrong. Don't go by the big ads in the YP.
Since you are stating that Contractors rip offs are common, what percentage of contractors work are ripoffs. I am sure you are stating facts rather than your own opinion. Again ther are alot more good honest contractors than bad. The bad ones are the ones that most people complement on being fair priced and the ones to deal with, rather than those overpriced ripoff companies. Ther is a reason better companies cost more. Which I have stated in an earlier post.
--
Bob Pietrangelo
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I have, and friends have been victims of sleezy contractors, I know one myself they ffered a really good deal on a used furnace with air, then explained they scared the previos owner into a complete 10 grand install, making fantastic bucks. Were selling the left over furnace for added profit.
I had gone to high school with this #@$%$ told him off! and never call me again! He was proud of scamming a elderly widow:(
within a year he got caught, last I heard he moved west, his business died, he DESERVED IT!
I told him I though 60 minutes should feature him:)
Sadly I check 3 times when told stuff like this because of people like him. A old ladys air quit working, the contractor claimed the compressor bad, I happened to stop and found the air filter jammed solid with cat hair, removed filter temp dropped immediately I went and bought filter. But first called contractor cancelling install! They were unhappy the new unit was loaded on their truck, they had crew ready, threatened to bill a grand cancel fee.
I said GO AHEAD will call my newspaper friend, you will be featured for ripping people off, AC fixed new filter installed!
Thew old lady was in heart failure and died within a couple months, preying on the elderly is TERRIBLE.
I would have turned in that contractor but the poor sick lady was afraid of being sued or worse...........
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I have, and friends have been victims of sleezy contractors, I know one myself they ffered a really good deal on a used furnace with air, then explained they scared the previos owner into a complete 10 grand install, making fantastic bucks. Were selling the left over furnace for added profit.
I had gone to high school with this #@$%$ told him off! and never call me again! He was proud of scamming a elderly widow:(
within a year he got caught, last I heard he moved west, his business died, he DESERVED IT!
I told him I though 60 minutes should feature him:)
Sadly I check 3 times when told stuff like this because of people like him. A old ladys air quit working, the contractor claimed the compressor bad, I happened to stop and found the air filter jammed solid with cat hair, removed filter temp dropped immediately I went and bought filter. But first called contractor cancelling install! They were unhappy the new unit was loaded on their truck, they had crew ready, threatened to bill a grand cancel fee.
I said GO AHEAD will call my newspaper friend, you will be featured for ripping people off, AC fixed new filter installed!
Thew old lady was in heart failure and died within a couple months, preying on the elderly is TERRIBLE.
I would have turned in that contractor but the poor sick lady was afraid of being sued or worse...........
--

So what percentage of contracors is that compared to the # of contractors in
your phone book. I think you just mentioned 2 or 3. I could quote you
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Not true. Does a gas range going full blast in the kitchen, where 100% of the byproducts are goimg into the air, make you sick? A furnace with a hole in the heat exchanger won't always, or even usually result in sufficient CO to cause symptoms. It's still dangerous though, because if the furnace is not producing complete combustion for some reason, then it can kill you.
If your sense of smell is normal you should be able to smell

That's not a reliable indicator either, or else people wouldn't die from furnaces or water heaters with blocked chimneys.

Professional negligence? The contractor did tell him to replace it, he's got 3 quotes, and he's in the process of doing it.
He likely has a professional obligation to

Geez, who's refusing to act? Is the homeowner just supposed to say OK on the spot, all I need is for the tech to say its bad and tell me your price? Now, let me bend over so you can do the job right this minute?
My argument is based on the fact that if a

The technician isn't signing off on the furnace being OK. Quite the opposite, he told him it has a failed heat exchanger and needs to be replaced.

And what does that have to do with his current problem?

The mercaptan is added so as to be able to detect a gas leak, not CO from a cracked heat exchanger.

Notice the part about CO forming under conditions of restricted O2 supply?
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See response below.
(work) www.comfort-solution.biz
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On Sat, 17 Feb 2007 13:10:52 -0500, "Bob Pietrangelo"

Bob. It you read my post properly I advised the OP of the dangers of what an actual breach of the heat exchanger tubes (see the light through the hole) should have caused by now-------illness and possible death, not a light matter to ignore. His post says that he was suspicious of the contractors thinking more of their revenue than of his needs. My advice was to get the gas company to make an unbaised and professional assessment if that breach is as reported. I don't know the regulatory procedure in his neck of the woods but a gas company representative (and any contractor) seeing such a breach would have immediately red tagged that furnace and secured it from further use. End of suspicions and end of argument. That hadn't happened with the contractors who just advised that he get his furnace replaced. As others have chimed in there are indeed a lot of contractor scams around especially in the US. Just ask Hurricane Katrina survivors.
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PaPaPeng, 2/17/2007,6:32:30 PM, wrote:

The original contractor told me he was supposed to red tag it and turn off the gas. I told him not to do it since it was in the Twenties here yesterday. He took a Poloroid picture of the furnace and turned off the Emergency Switch on the wall. He told me he was doing that and it was up to me what I wanted to do. I did see the hole in the exchanger, it was large enough to slide a penny or nickel through it sideways and was at the far end of the enclosure.
After having it inspected today by the gas people and being told even more emphatically not to use it I turned it off and signed a contract with the people who quoted me the Lennox furnace. I live in SE VA and our winters are generally mild and not as long as the North. Considering I don't plan on living here much longer the extra price of the 90% efficiency furnace wasn't worth it to me. Besides I assume the outside unit will be ready for a replacemnet soon also. Two summers ago I had to take the fan apart and drip some oil down the shaft to make it stop squeeling. So far it has been working fine but you never know.
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wrote:

If the compressor is past it's expected life, I'd strongly consider replacing the whole thing at the same time. I would expect you'd get a better deal and the unit is likely a low SEER, so you'll be saving on electric as well. Plus, many utilities have rebates of several hundred dollars, there are energy tax credits, etc that can sweeten the deal by a few hundred bucks.
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clipped

I have friends, still alive, who had furnace with cracked heat exchanger. Kids had had headaches, house plants died, adults no problem. We went to visit, with our children. On entering the house, my eyes began to burn badly. Nobody else from my family with any symptoms. We discussed my burning eyes a great deal, trying to figure out what was going on .. mold, dust, etc. I mentioned it to the maintenance supv. at work the next day and he knew immediately that the problem was a cracked heat exchanger. Not having a clue what that was, I called my pal and told her. She had the gas co. check, and was ordered out of the house immediately because CO was sky high.
I wouldn't fool around with prices if the situation is really a cracked heat exchanger, which is deadly.
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