Dear Help Page:
We have a problem. We have a very old (but serviceable as its limited use only heated part of the house for over 52 years) General Electric Gas Fired Warm Air Furnace Model 21 LG. (BTU input 75,000 Bonnet capacity 60,000).
About April of this year we had a terrible wind storm (unnamed storm was as strong as a hurricane in spots). We lost electricity for a few days.
Upon reestablishing electricity the newer Furnace (high efficiency Amana with ceramic igniter) and gas fired water heater all came back on perfectly. But the little GE did not.
The Pilot light has been out since April and we have no one to ask what to do. I don't know what emergency valve or feature of this old model is keeping the pilot light's gas from just leaking into the air ...but I'm afraid to turn off the main gas valve as I don't know what I'm doing and if that will lead to a bigger problem or a re- lighting problem.
We have no one to ask since our over 40 year company (Father, then the son) that serviced everything A/C Heating Water Heater, etc. went into retirement in South Jersey so we have had no one since that time. We can't call the Public Service Gas people as someone told us that they are into a program to replace all old heaters, so if someone comes in and finds the pilot light off they will simply "red tag" the heater and not even offer any suggestions or would want to repair or do anything like our old service people did.
We are now in a vacuum as neighbors are calling the "24 hour emergency" places randomly as they have no one they would recommend to us as everything they do is expensive and/or poorly done......
That is the main question..... but while I have your attention and you know of our predicament.....we simply do not replace that older unit (necessary to keep pipes from freezing during the winter when thermometer dips toward 32 degrees and the main house furnace cannot keep pace with the lower level area in terms of heating it in the winter.
There is a code "BOCA" code that has been revised since the installation of that furnace that says that NO TWO high efficiency furnaces can be connected to "one" chimney. The Main unit was replaced in the 1980/90's and is a High Efficiency Amana Gas Hot Air Heater. The Flues for all three (two heaters and gas water heater are connected to the same chimney. It's ok as long as we keep the old heater, but the new heater would have to be a High efficiency one. It seems the high efficiency heaters put out a lot of water and the water damages the chimney (so we've been informed) and because of that the BOCA code .
The choice is simple...build a new (second) chimney . New homes in our area have three four or more separate chimneys now according to the code..... But there is no room in the existing shaft so the choice is to angle it up through a room to the outside wall (horrible metal round pipe is all that cheap prices get you not brick original chimney)
My questions are :
1. How do I properly turn off the small furnace safely so it is not using whatever emergency valve the blackout caused it to use, and yet be able to be safely re-lit later on by myself or a professional?
2. I've searched the web and without asking a current Building Inspector or the Public gas company itself, searching for where in the BOCA Code does it specify what everyone has told us about not being allowed to run a replacement for that furnace on the same old chimney that the other larger, high efficiency Unit has been running on and sharing for over 20 years?
And 3. So, with all the problems , what do we do with this existing problem of the extinguished pilot light in order to be safe and careful with this essential furnace. (Fortunately a light snow, warm winter meant it was not used this past winter, so we made it into air conditioning season.)