no heat tonight

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A friend calls me just now. She has gas heat, forced air, and the furnace is broken. The repairman comes but not until 4. He says she doesn't have enough gas pressure, and he did something that made it a little higher, but he said she needs a part and he said the furnace wasn't safe so he turned it off. He also told her the furnace was so old it wasn't worth replacing the part, but she says the furance is only about 15 years old. IIUC he's supposed to call her tomorrow when he learns more about the part. I don't know the furnace make or model.
I've never heard of low gas pressure caused by a furnace or anything in the house???
The heat has been broken for a few days, I gather, and it's 60 degrees in the house and tonight is supposed to be down to 17 (maybe it was yesterday it was supposed to be colder than that) and she's worried the pipe to her kitchen sink will freeze. The sink is against a window so does that mean the pipes are in the outer wall or might they come in through the middle of the area under the sink??? It's a split level house, but I don't know what part of the basement is under the kitchen. I told her to leave both hot and cold running a trickle, and to make sure they don't shut themselves off. I've had that happen.
She's supposed to call me back with the make and model of a radiator-style room heater that is so complicated she can't figure out how to turn it on. I'm hoping the instructions are online. A timer, two modes, etc. she's not good at stuff like this she says.
I told her to boil water to raise the humidity. Her stove works fine, so why is the gas pressure low at the furnace?
Should I volunteer to go over there? I'm waiting for a phone call about tomorrow at 7:30am but that should be soon.
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On Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 7:13:45 PM UTC-6, Micky wrote:

...get over there, she is being scammed. Bad igniter or clogged condensate... I had a cracked solder joint on the fan relay and added a bit of copper wire to the circuit board. That was about 3 yrs ago...
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On Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 8:13:45 PM UTC-5, Micky wrote:

Furnaces have a pressure regulator, I think it's typically part of the valve. Without a regulator, the burners would have varying gas pressure and flame. And typically they are factory set, but field adjustable, so that could be what the service tech adjusted, but it still didn't work correctly. Or he could be incompetent or a lying theif, who knows.
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On 1/19/2016 8:34 PM, trader_4 wrote:

If it truly is low gas pressure, you may wish to call the utility company and their guys can check.
One time I did find a spider nest in the gas orifice, which was cutting the BTU/hr in about half.
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On Tue, 19 Jan 2016 17:34:41 -0800 (PST), trader_4

Well at least you've explained what he's talking about. Thanks. I think he's supposed to call tomorrow with the price.
I got interrupted by an important call, but I remember now that, for reasons of her own, she wouldn't want me coming over tonight. So I don't have to call her back.
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On Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 9:11:16 PM UTC-5, Micky wrote:

Were you the reason she didn't want you coming over? ;-)
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DerbyDad03 posted for all of us...

+1
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On 1/19/2016 9:11 PM, Micky wrote:

This morning, dead as I was, I went to service two furnace. Believe me when I say, I'd rather been back in the funeral home, laying in a warm, well lit casket. This life after death bit is wearing on me.
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Calling the gas company is a sure way to get someone out. They don't want any liability issues.
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wrote:

That furnace guy sounds like an idiot. A PROFESSIONAL will have parts on hand, and if not, they wont let someone stranded with no heat. They will at least furnish some space heaters to use in the meantime.
Tell her to call ANOTHER furnace repair company.
As far as pipes freezing under a sink, LEAVE THE CABINET DOORS OPEN!
A gas furnace burner control unit for an older furnace is pretty generic. Unlike the new Hi Efficiency computerized furnaces. Unless the fire pot is cracked and emitting carbon monoxide, the entire control should be replacable with a generic type control. Heck, they used to convert old coal furnaces to gas, with a kit consisting of a control unit and a burner. Those old furnaces were not all that complicated.
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On Wed, 20 Jan 2016 04:37:48 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moc wrote:

Good point.

Good idea.

Thanks for the detailed answer. She thinks the furnace is only 15 years old. Should he have had a control for that on the truck? Should he have asked her what kind of furnace she had before he left the office?
He must be lying if he says she needs a new furnace after 15 years, I think.
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On Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 7:55:47 AM UTC-5, Micky wrote:

Maybe yes and maybe no. People here regularly report that modern furnaces don't last nearly as long as long as old ones, so I don't think 15 years is all that unusual. The furnace tech saw the furnace, what condition all of it is in, he should know the typical lifespan, failures, etc. Plus your friend can't even figure out how to turn on an electric space heater, so who knows if she really knows how old the furnace is.
She should nail down a price and get a written quote for what this repair is going to cost in total. And if she has doubts, she can call in another company for another opinion. I know the last part is not so practical when it's cold and the furnace is kaput. But all our speculating here isn't going to solve it either.
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On Wed, 20 Jan 2016 05:22:47 -0800 (PST), trader_4

I called this morning and offered her a space heater, so I went over around 1 and checked out things. Only the sink pipes and the garden faucets were at any risk of freezing, and she'd opened the door to t he sink cabinet and had the water dribbling out.
The furnace company said the part might have to come from out of town, and they might noit be back until Friday, but while I was having lunch there, they called and said he'd be there in 20 minutes, and though I didn't have a watch, it seemed like about 20 minutes.
It only took him 5 or 10 minutes to replace the valve/pressure regulator, using some black dope, and another 5 or 10 minutes to answer a couple questions. She reminded the guy that on the previous trip a different guy replaced the main gas valve, and he said it was already included in the $425. She didnt' flinch or complain at all, but thanked him, and wrote him a check, and we left.
He said the normal life-span of a gas furnace was 20 years.
The make of furnace is on the tip of my tongue, but I can't remember.
Thanks for all the help.
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On 1/20/2016 8:22 AM, trader_4 wrote:

This is totally the wrong time of year to buy a furnace, the supply and demand and duress thing comes into action.
Hope the old one can function for a while longer.
I'm dead, and I approved this message.
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wrote:

"only" 15 years old than if it was 30., and the replacement put in today is more likely to need replacement in less than 15 years than the current one is.
A 15 year old "generic" furnace should still be economical to repair - if it was a "fancy" high end furnace it may not be.
Buying a current era high efficiency furnace in parts, not including the sheet metal housing, is likely close to $25,000, compared to say, $6000 for a new furnace.
A "generic" White Rogers gas valve in the states should be around $100 Likely closer to $200 in Canada. and should be in stock at just about any decent HVAC supply.
Unless there is a lot more wrong with the furnace it is still "worth fixing"
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On Wed, 20 Jan 2016 18:05:18 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That is so depressing.

She ended up paying $425 for replacing the valve/pressure regulator and the main valve (just a simple rotating on/off). He had to make two trips but I'm not sure whose fault that is.

It started right up at that point with several beautiful blue flames.
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In typed:

It is now "tomorrow" so you probably figured it out already.
About the freezing, she should keep the sink cabinet doors open as was suggested. And since she has a gas stove she can turn a burner on in the stove to keep the kitchen heated overnight or whenever. Same maybe for the rest of the house.
In my area, I can call the utility company (PSE&G in my area -- New Jersey) and they will come out and check out a non-working heater for free.. They diagnose the problem, let the customer know what it would cost for them to do the repair, and if the customer decides not to have them do the repair there is no charge for the visit. They also are unbiased technicians who have no interest or incentive in up-selling the customer on a new heater etc. Check with her utility company and see how they operate. If it is the same as my utility company, have her call them to come out and check the heater due to "no heat".
Let us know what the final outcome is.
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Natural gas or Butane/liquid gas???
"Micky" wrote in message
A friend calls me just now. She has gas heat, forced air, and the furnace is broken. The repairman comes but not until 4. He says she doesn't have enough gas pressure, and he did something that made it a little higher, but he said she needs a part and he said the furnace wasn't safe so he turned it off. He also told her the furnace was so old it wasn't worth replacing the part, but she says the furance is only about 15 years old. IIUC he's supposed to call her tomorrow when he learns more about the part. I don't know the furnace make or model.
I've never heard of low gas pressure caused by a furnace or anything in the house???
The heat has been broken for a few days, I gather, and it's 60 degrees in the house and tonight is supposed to be down to 17 (maybe it was yesterday it was supposed to be colder than that) and she's worried the pipe to her kitchen sink will freeze. The sink is against a window so does that mean the pipes are in the outer wall or might they come in through the middle of the area under the sink??? It's a split level house, but I don't know what part of the basement is under the kitchen. I told her to leave both hot and cold running a trickle, and to make sure they don't shut themselves off. I've had that happen.
She's supposed to call me back with the make and model of a radiator-style room heater that is so complicated she can't figure out how to turn it on. I'm hoping the instructions are online. A timer, two modes, etc. she's not good at stuff like this she says.
I told her to boil water to raise the humidity. Her stove works fine, so why is the gas pressure low at the furnace?
Should I volunteer to go over there? I'm waiting for a phone call about tomorrow at 7:30am but that should be soon.
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In North America it's either Natural gas or Propane.

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You can call it as you want however it is Butane Butane is used for domestic heating and cooking same goes for bots and campers and not the Propane. Because of safety feature, Butane is much lower pressure and higher density than the Propane.
wrote in message wrote:

In North America it's either Natural gas or Propane.

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