oil furnace question

Hoping someone can offer some advice/insight on a problem I'm having:
I've got a 25-30yr old Singer model forced hot air Oil furnace. The last few years I've had it serviced by the same company and have had no problems (efficiency rating has been 73-75%) with the servicing. Today, I had it serviced, and the technicial came in and after a few minutes of pulling out the gun and nozzle and checking, announced that "the chamber inside is split, so you're not getting the proper amount of heat going through your ducts into the house, and in effect, losing heat up the chimney". I took a look inside and, yes, there did seem to be something there, but it looked straight and clean (almost like a seam). He said that there wasn't much that could be done other than getting a new furnace. He kept remarking about the age, how it was almost impossible to get parts for (I had replaced the oil pump a few years ago, and was able to find one without a problem), and that he wasn't about to do any sort of repair on an old furnace "It just isn't worth it". I also asked if this problem developed over time and was told "yes". However, none of the other service techs mentioned this problem. As I said, I'm running 73-75% efficiency for the past 5 years on this furnace. He remarked that "those numbers are false readings". No explanation.Why he said that, I have no idea considering it was from the same company he worked for. I have been using the same amount of oil for the last 3 years (I installed a new oil tank 3 yrs ago and get deliveries around the same time every year once my tank gets to 1/4) and have not noticed any excess fuel used this year, nor that it takes the house longer than usual to heat up this year. The one thing that is noticable is a slight exhaust smell coming from the register once in a while, but we have a CO detector, and that hasn't gone off. Anyway, my question is that I'm wondering if this guy is just trying to sell me a new furnace, or if it's possible for that chamber to split cleanly and not notice any loss of fuel or home heating time. His efficiency reading was 65%, about a 8-10% dropoff from when it was measured last year. He was pushing a Thermo Pride "the cadillac of oil furnaces" as he called it, that they sell for $3400 installed, even leaving a brochure with us and saying that it was old and had to be replaced soon. Maybe it does, but he certainly didn't seem like he wanted to put any effort into this one. Thanks in advance for your help.
Tony
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I can't address the mechanical aspects of whether you do or don't have a problem as to whether your furnace actually *needs* replacement or just a fix-it repair, so I'll just add some food for thought. My own gas-powered water boiler is well over 25 years old and I recall having a somewhat similar conversation a short time ago with my own HVAC guy, who happens to be a close family friend who takes his job probably more seriously than God and keeps our mechanicals in better shape than they probably even need to be every summer or early fall so our heat doesn't putz out in the winter. Best of all, he's an HVAC nuts and bolts guy, not someone who also sells shit on the side to supplement the income. He certainly has his preferences about certain models or manufacturers for various reasons, but only in terms of what will do the job best for the circumstances or most trouble-free over the long haul.
We were taling about this because we're thinking about doing an expansion to our 1930s Cape Cod, and I wanted to know whether our boiler was adequate for any additional square footage and how much (we still don't have an actual square foot figure because our expansion is still only just an ever-changing concept at this point), or whether I'd need to plan on replacing the boiler to a larger one able to handle the additional room. He stated that I might not even need to buy a *larger* boiler because since my boiler was installed sometime back when Christ was busy losing his sandals (the original paperwork makes references to installation by a "steam fitter," so that gives you an idea of its age), the efficiency of same-sized boilers has increased considerably, which would be a benefit to us eventually even if we didn't expand.
So I'd only say personally speaking, if it's really old and it ain't broke, don't fix it -- but if something really old SEEMS broke or on its way to getting to broke (as yours could well be), it probably makes a lot of sense and money-smarter in the long run to replace it. But ONLY in terms of what you actually need, not in terms of what someone's trying to sell you. And if it *seems* like someone's trying to sell you something, he certainly is.
As a lot of us around here have probably found out: They don't make 'em like they used to ... and there's probably a really good reason why they stopped doing it that way.
AJS
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Tony wrote:

Beware! Sounds like a shyster to me, get a 2nd opinion from an unrelated company. dont tell them a thing, just schedule an apt and have them do an annual inspection. See what they come up with on their own with no hints from you. Dont even breath a word of having it inspected by some one else or that they found something wrong. If it is truly broke, you'll get the same report. Follow me? Eric
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Amazing it lasted that long. Most cracked the heat exchanger by 15 to 20 years ....

IF thats the case, by law here, he should have locked the oil off, called the inspectors, and shut it down. His legal liability IF thats the case, is to shut it down. And no..you are not losing heat up your chiminey, but you are allowing the possibility of combustion gas into the home.

If it split along a seam, it will look like that. IF its really split, he can pull the heat exchanger and see it from the backside.

Ok...Singer is out of biz....as in done..gone. And a repair on that unit, would indeed be a waste of your money. You cant replace, what you cant get. I can get oil pumps and drive shafts all day long for that unit...I can also get them for 40 year old ThermoPrides, and Carriers.... Oil pumps are easy to get...and cheap.

30 year old old furnaces never ran that high....period. Anyone that told you that is a liar. The best you can get out of a new one is 83%...period.

You cant always go by that. Your heating days per season vary.

What brand? Most like the ones you get at Home Depot wont go off till its too late. You should NEVER, and thats NEVER smell exhaust from a register. Period. I think you just verified that you have a cracked exchanger.

Um...yes., and yes....or no, and yes. The reason why? Simple...if you have been using the guys, they have no reason to lie to you, since a new unit will take from them the #1 profit....oil. I never suggest that you allow a oil company to service your unit anyway. They want to sell you one thing..oil.

ThermoPride IS the best unit on the market. Bar None. The price he quoted, without knowing details, seems very reasonable. I sell them, and I cant recall one that cheap. I also sell of course the York oil units, VERY similar to the ThermoPride in design...about the only difference is the color, price, and the lack of a copper coated heat exchanger.

And it sounds like, IF you really have a cracked heat exchanger and you probably do, but I have no way of knowing, that he left you in a situation that could hurt you. Get a second opinion ASAP, and make sure that if you DO have a cracked HE, that you do something about it now..no scare tactics, just the simple facts...if its cracked, since the HE is under pressure from the combustion blower, it can and will kill you. CO is unforgiving...

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<snip>

What would be a good brand of CO detector?
Thanks
Paul
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its
I
www.coexperts.com
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Second that... Also, I prefer, if you must use a battery powered, low cost unit, the AprilAires...

Period.
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