One place to look for energy leak is under the bottom row of siding.
I often see huge gaps there. Check with an inspection mirror. If you
see a gap it needs to be filled with backer rod and silicone. Will
keep air in and bugs out.
Cold air is usually relatively dry and enters the cold side of the
insulation - not much condensation. If there is condensation, having
open air flow on that side allows it to dry. I know of designs where
architects have specified an air gap at the top and bottom of the
cladding to ensure the insulation can breathe on the outside. Both
openings covered with fine mesh to keep out the mousies.
I know for a fact that vinyl had weep holes built in. Don't have any
experience with metal siding but my guess is that it is designed the
Synthetic stucco is designed now to have a drainage system (in areas
of the country that still allow its use). And I'm sure that some
other construction designed by architects for a particular project
might indeed have drainage at the bottom.
But the instances of regular siding with a big gap at the bottom I've
seen have been defects which allowed cold air and bugs to enter. In
some cases you could see with an inspection mirror the gaps between
sill plates. In my parents townhome, residents have had problems with
frozen and burst pipes. I have no doubts that backer rod and caulking
the gap would permanently fix the problem. It seems to me that in my
area at least, foundations are being made slightly small and the sill
plate and framing and sheathing overhang it slightly so the siding can
overlap the foundation wall.
Sure, calculate the annual therms and cost of your gas now.
Find out the efficiency of your current furnace and the
efficiency of what you would replace it. As a ratio of the
efficiency ratings, calculate the annual therms. You will
probably find that your payout on a $3000 furnace would take
forever. If you like your present furnace, forget it. The
more efficient furnace will likely be more noisy.
Actually...lets get one thing clear.
There is never a payback period.
You buy the unit....its saving you $XX a month. Big deal. You still have to
pay to run it, and you still have to buy fuel for it. Unless you are using
an old 1950 Chrysler Airtemp with a gas valve pressure thats so damn off its
blowing black soot, and running the unit so hot its TR is about 100F above
factory spec, and have been doing that for years, even a 94% wont really do
much but lower the expense per month to use the unit.
Payoff periods are a sales technique that the public actually enjoys. I dont
use them. Someone asks me what the payoff period for a new unit is, I tell
them about 15 minutes after I hand you the bill....it will take that long to
read the warranty to you and familiarize you with the controls, and for you
to write a check....then of course, we pull out the States calculation sheet
and show them what they might save....thats MIGHT.
If you have a $400 a month gas bill, and you put in a unit and its only
using $200 a month, you STILL have a $200+ a month investment in the unit.
IF you have a gas unit thats using $200 a month and you put in a heat pump
that eliminates your fuel bill, but raises your electrical by $100 a month,
you still have $100 a month going into that machine.
Payoff? Depends on how you look at it. Some see it different than others.
My Amana is 80 percent (if you devide output by input
rating) and it sure isn't quiet, so I guess it doesn't
qualify as a sealed combustion. The burner is just about as
loud as the blower.
That's what I meant, the blower. Will probably be in
operation more of the time. Total blower time should be
longer and even if the blower operates at a lower speed and
is quieter at that time much of the time, there is still
noise that may be irritating.
There is quite a bit of burner noise on 80& units, especially if they
have inshot burners.
I guess it depends on a person's sensitivity to noise. We recently
replaced a 90% unit with a 90% 2 stage and had the owners comment on
how they couldn't tell if this one was running other than the house
On Wed, 07 Jan 2004 06:44:57 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"
Based on what? I'm going to have to see some info to support that, many
higher efficiency units have variable speed blowers that ramp to speed,
reducing blower noise etc. Just don't install a Lennox Pulse if you're
concerned with noise, we're not talking Atta-Boy's here! ;-)
Based on surmise. You are just considering loudness. I
would expect the more efficient furnaces to run the blower
more of the time, especially if they use multiple blower
speeds. Just because the blower doesn't run at full speed
doesn't mean the blower noise isn't irritating and that
could be considered more noise, or noise more of the time.
I prefer a house to be dead quiet but it seledom is due to
the computer and refrigerator, let alone the furnace.
On Wed, 07 Jan 2004 07:42:40 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"
A small furnace noise observation: I was quite annoyed with my furnace
for the first few months. Sometimes it seemed quiet but quite often
there was a rather loud, slow, and pulsing resonant sound coming from
it that could be heard through the entire house. At first i thought it
was fan noise but strangely enough this would be louder up in the
bedroom than when i stood downstairs by the furnace. I eventually
just gave up and assumed our ducts were resonating somewhere in the
A few months after that we painted one living room wall and i was up
on a ladder near the return air intake. It was a very wide vent (2
feet whereas all the others were 1 or 1.5 feet). Turns out it is the
vent cover that was resonating. Not vibrating against the wall or the
duct. But resonating itself. I stiffened it up with a piece of wood
on the inside and now all is quiet. I have to stick my foot infront
of a register to tell if the furnace is running.
One of my 3 furnaces made a terrible rumble when it started up.
Couldn't figure it out until I was in the basement standing next to it
when it started up and I saw the PVC exhaust pipe vibrating against
the gas intake pipe just at startup. A sponge between the 2 solved
My furnace had a very specific annoying sound to it (among
all the others noises). It was the flue (exhaust stack)
resonating. I put pressure on it and most of the resonance
stopped, so I wedged a 3" can between it and the wall. The
can provide just the right amount of pressure and prevents
heat transfer to the wall. Burner and fan noise is still
there but at least that part of the noise virtually
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