Running efficient would be good enough which your 30yr old unit cannot
do no matter what you say or do.
Dispute all you want. In case you havent noticed, natural gas does
nothing but go up and up each winter. Right now its in the
"ridiculous" price range.
??? WTF! Since when does a pilot flame go into your house? Have you
noticed those big holes in your furnace where the burners fit in?
Have you also notice that big hole near the top of your furnace called
the draft diverter?
Have you not also noticed that big hole in your outside wall or metal
vent up through the house where your furnace flue connects?
In case you didnt realize that big hole acts like a vacuum cleaner.
The colder it is outside and the more heat you apply inside increases
the suction of that flue. Go stand atop your chimney on a 0 degree
morning while the furnace is running. Better yet, just watch the vapor
go up. Now, tell me once again how well and cheap that 30 yr old
furnace of yours is doing.
If you had a new efficient furnace you wouldnt have to do that. When
you die, is your wife going to know how to do all that extra nonsense?
Lemme guess..............you're an engineer? My, my my. How did I
According to this:
A furnace pilot light uses about 21 cf per day - and this number was
arrived at from 2 different sources.
I'm paying about 1.05 cents per cf for my NG (33.43 cents per cubic
meter, including the gas itself and a few other costs like
transportation and storage).
So I'm paying 22 cents per day to run my pilot light. The average
month has 30.4 days, so I'm paying $6.70 per month to run my pilot
Says that the difference between a standing pilot light furnace (60%
AFUE) and one with an electronic ignition can be as little as 2% more
efficient (62 - 67% AFUE). The fact that it also has a vent damper
should also be noted - the damper is no doubt preventing interior heat
loss through the flue when the furnace isin't running.
It's a flame burning *in your house*, no differently than the burners
which are also flames burning *in your house*.
If your furnace is capturing heat from your burners, when why can't it
capture the heat from your pilot as well? Or is that a strange
concept for you?
Note the following (quoted from the first link I posted above):
"Another important point is that the heat from the pilot is
usually not all lost during the heating season. In most
stoves and furnaces, much of the heat from the pilot finds
its way into the building."
Also note that your argument about the pilot being wasted heat doesn't
apply when the burners are actually on (because the pilot is adding
it's own paltry amount of heat to the burner output). The colder it
gets outside, the more often the furnace burners are on (the duty
cycle of the furnace increases) and the percentage of time that only
the pilot light is on goes down.
So when only the pilot is on, you wouldn't get much heat, which means
you wouldn't get much suction, which means more of the heat from the
pilot would remain in the furnace - keeping some localized part of the
heat exchanger warm in between calls for heat.
The efficiency of the furnace is not a function of whether or not I
have a standing pilot light or electronic ignition. The MUCH bigger
efficiencies come from having more efficient heat exchangers, or
motorized vent dampers, or scavanging heat from the exhaust to heat
the combustion intake air.
OK... so if your so knowledgeable, then WTF are you doing here, other than
trying to stir up shit?? Why are you not a licensed, insured
tech/contractor?? Oh... thats right, you have a<gasp> EE that will do you
about as much good in the real world as an advanced degree in liberal arts.
KMA and welcome to my killfile
How long have you been reading and posting to usenet?
Are you not aware of what the true purpose and normal discourse is of
a usenet newsgroup?
It's interesting you think I'm trying to "stir up shit".
Does that mean there is "shit" here to stir up?
I don't have to be to post HVAC-related questions or to speculate
about furnace function and design.
Perhaps you're operating on the faulty premis that you need to be
employed in the HVAC field to post messages to this newsgroup.
Again, more interesting insights into your personality and thought
process. You show contempt for university-level education, even to
the extent of ridiculing a degree that most would find highly
desirable and financially rewarding in the "real world".
And by the way, who do you think designed the furnaces and the
electronic controls that you apparently recommend and install every
day? Engineers perhaps?
This is not about who's education is better or more useful or more
rewarding. It never was.
Most people that participate in usenet discussions want nothing more
than to argue a point or follow a question to it's conclusion. When
faced with solid information, some admit they were wrong, some change
the subject, and some bury their head in the sand.
I think you missed the point.
Energy conservation is not only about saving money. It's about saving fuel.
With less and less pilots burning, [BTW: the heat the pilot generates goes
up the flue stack. Since the blower isn't running - the heat is lost.]
Although you only see a 2% savings [by your recent investigation] the
savings is so some "other" person can use the fuel. But I guess you're
selfisness wins out.
Flue dampers are an interesting lot. They save on water heaters better than
forced air furnaces. The chimney flue of a water heater runs right up the
middle of the storage [warm water] and is consistantly venting to the
outdoors. Heat rises, remember your high school education.
In 1978 when intermittent ignition came about, the savings was in fuel
rather than monetary. And now all of the conservation efforts are attempts
to conserve on fuel so others will have the convienece.
I'm glad that you are an EE engineer [at least that's the perception.] So
why not do what your trained for and leave the stuff you're not trained for
How would you feel if everyone did your job, [not that I could] but what
if.? You wouldn't mind. And what if I inlisted your FREE help. You
wouldn't mind, would ya? Ofcourse not, because you're a generous type.
Which is exampled by your display of conservation of fuel for others to
purchase by utilizing a 1970's heating appliance.
And again, as you pointed out on that 60% eff furnace, you are only
capturing about 60% of that but since the blower isnt running the heat
cant be "scrubbed" from the heat exchanger THUS goes right on up and
out the chimney. Furnaces are also lined with insulation around the
inside of the furnace further preventing heat from radiating out into
Again, remember this isnt a steel or cast-iron wood stove sittiing out
in the middle of your living room able to radiate any heat into the
and again, having the EE brain of yours and thinking in labratory
terms you miss the real life concept.
The pilot and burners are on. The furnace heats up and blows the heat
into the living space. The burners shuts off when the temp is
satisfied and in a min or two the blower goes off. Now you have a warm
heat exchanger, a pilot running and a nice warm chimney. Say HELLO to
your nice new vacuum cleaner sitting atop your home.
I think you just like to argue. You can read and type all the articles
you want. Your furnace SUCKS and it SUCKS real well..............right
up the chimney. Keep living in the past. Hang onto those old ideas and
old equipment. I'll move on with the times and use efficient
$6.70 a month for your pilot........hehehe. I think you should do your
own experiment and try that. Turn off everything except one pilot. At
the end of the month, tell me what your bill was. Im sure it will be
Who are you kidding? I've been in this crappy trade for 36 years. Those
older standing pilot furnaces needed tons of service every year!
Replacement thermocouples, rusting iron heat exchangers, crappy belts,
plugged burners, man those were the days.
Today, direct drive, alumimum/ steel heat exchangers HSI igntion [fewer
spiders and flies in pilots] dual seat gas valves, inshot burners, all make
maintenance a thing of the past. As long as the equipment is installed
properly, and serviced periodically, the homeowner is reaping a huge
benefit. Not only in less down time, less maintenance cost, less often
repairs costs, but extended service life as well.!
Today's furnace's [of a simular calibar] cost less. When you look at the
track home [economy] furance line, you will see the pricing has stayed about
the same though out the last few decades. Only those applicances with more
features cost considerably more, and rightfully so. More engineering,
tooling, and components raise the price of the more efficient appliances.
HVAC is probably one of the only things that acutally is a good buy today!
Price stability, [exept for the last year with increases in steel and copper
prices, not to mention the cost of the newer refrigerant] trade competition,
and [new stupid hungry contractors] have kept the price down.
Not only do I have an old furnace (circa 1976) in my house, I also
have a large double unit (8 burners, circa 1981) at my office (for the
second floor) and a smaller (but newer?) unit for the first floor
(electronic ignition). That newer furnace (Whisper heat?) was a pain
in the ass because the electronic ignition started to act up last
winter and I took the electronic control module apart and resoldered
the cold joint that developed at the ignition coil.
In the combined 10 years I've owned and operated these 3 furnaces,
I've never called for a tech to service them, but the only one that
had problems was the one with electronic ignition.
I've never had a problem with thermocouples. Yes, the heat exchangers
are rusty, but I vacuum them out along with the burners every few
Crappy belts? Are you saying that belts used in 90+ furnaces are
somehow different? In my experience, belts last a long time, even
when I run the fan almost continuously for the 3 peak summer months.
If I were installing these furnaces back when they were new, I would
have fabricated an exhaust gas and combustion intake heat exchanger to
improve the efficiency of the units. That could have been done with
all those units installed 20, 30 years ago to improve efficiency if
they wanted to do that.
The idea of electronic ignition does not thrill me. Too much
technology (and too expensive) given the savings.
The idea of a closed (sealed) combustion intake side (with scavaging
heat from the exhaust side) does appeal to me - but that is basically
"plumbing" and could have been done years ago with add-ons outside the
Something else I'd do is create a ducted, gated path around my AC evap
coil so in the winter the air can flow around the coils instead of
being forced through them.
Beyond a more efficient heat exchanger (which I presume they are today
vs 20 or 30 years ago) I would think they'd be making them out of
stainless steel by now (are they?). I would also think they would
have variable gas valves (variable BTU output, instead of full-on or
full-off) or staged valves. Do they have this today?
What about electronically commutated motors? How many furnaces have
those today? I would replace my motors with those if they were
available - at a reasonable price.
But you know what would really motivate me to replace my furnaces
Give me a furnace where the motor also runs on natural gas so I still
have heat if there's a power failure.
I'd also like to see someone come out with a heat exchanger that has
water sprayed onto it as a way to humidify the air (and take even more
heat away from the exchanger and put it in the house). Does anyone do
Not yet, because the engineers are scrambling to design equipment that meets
the ever-changing DOE, and EPA laws, rules, and regulations. Then there's
the problem of reducng the carbon footprint and creating "Green" equipment.
There are gas furnaces on the market that are 96% efficient. Unless there
are major changes in technology, thats about the best your gonna do.
ECM - already in use in today's Variable Speed Furances. Humidifcation,
there are many offerings on the market. 100% efficient. The closest fossil
buring appliance is 96%. But, if you talk heat pump, there are some on the
market that use a natural gas powered engine to turn the compressor. The
exhaust side heat is removed as well and added as system heat. During the
summer, the heat is used to heat water off the hot gas discharge of the
compressor. The heat of compression gives the equipment a high Coefficient
of Performance which returns in fossil fuel savings. Stainless steel heat
exchanger's are offered on the high efficiency gas furances [lifetime
warranty I might add.]
Currently high humidty is being used to add to the density of air for
turning turbine engines in electrical energy development and that's
returning an exciting result. If that can be translated into energy savings
on gas furnaces is yet to be seen though.
The biggest move is ERV / HRV. Homes are being built tighter and tighter
which requires some type of controlled exchange when stale air is exhausted
and outside air is brough in to make up. These are real enegery saving
choices that are in their infancy.
Obviously you are not what your badge says you might be [HVAC gay].
Otherwise you'd be aware of what's offered in the trade. It's painfully
obvious that you think you know, but you really don't know jack.
13 year's old - standing pilot? Standing pilots went out in 1980 to
intermittent pilots. Intermittent Pilots went out around 1990 to HSI.
[Except commerical, some commerical equipment still has intermittent
Thanks for your service to our country.
The board runs about $150.00 to the tech but the costs for a company to
house call is quite expensive these days. For a litany of reasons I won't go
don't think I could even show up at the job for under $150.00 anymore. I
company B did not quote you for a repair. If not he may just be a salesman
for a commission. As far as the $760.00 quote, the tech may be replacing some
the ignition components to cover his butt. It's your call, you'll have to judge
techs and contractors yourself. That being said you may want to get a third or
You should be able to get a free estimate for replacing your equipment from
contractors. You can always ask them if they would give you an estimate to
well. Some will, some won't without a fee. Be sure to look until you find a
contractor that will do a professional job on the installation as that is the
important part. Opinions will very greatly but I would recommend looking at
Trane/American Standard, Rheem/RUUD and Carrier/Bryant as the best choices for
Did you say you're in Virginia?
If the humidity is bad, a furnace may be rusted and rotted inside. it would
be kind of you to post the model number of the furnace, so I can call the
parts house and see what a new board costs.
Christopher A. Young;
"Jim" < email@example.com> wrote in message
Thanks for serving,
I hope that wasn't your only welcome home gift...
As you can see by most of the gibberish between our posts, there are those
who'd rather fight than switch...
If you going to swap A/C then get a new furnace.
I'd recommend a heat pump unit to really save cost of operation.
If a $760 dollar repair is only gonna get you 7 more years, I'd see that as
a huge "Nickel & Dime"'ing
A Heat pump will cost a bunch more up front but will save you bigtime if you
live in an area that has any amount of heating degree days.
Here in Minnesota a 16 Seer HP with a Variable speed blower has proven a
$500.00+ per year cost savings on 4 houses I've work on.
This is based on Gas @ $1.20 a therm & $.08 Electric. Propane & Fuel oil
savings are even greater.
I'd take a couple more estimates & ask for a decent load calc, as the
equipment you've got may well be oversized, as this was common back in the
I'm a fan of American Std/Trane & will recommend them highly, but your
local, reputable, contractors product line should work if installed
p.s. Some folks will replace a burnt out fuse w/ a penny because it's much
cheaper & for the most part works quite well...
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