I have a 21 year old 80,000 BTU 80% efficiency gas furnace than I'm
looking to replace this year or possibly next. House is 1900 sq ft.
The only repair it's needed was an igniter.
Present ductwork and insulation is fine. I am getting new electric
service in a few weeks.
I am looking for a ballpark figure on what I should expect a contractor
to charge to replace the unit with a high-efficiency type...plus add
I live in Milwaukee and it only occasionally gets up to 100 F...
but we can get up to a week of sold 90+ degree weather.
What is a good, reliable brand?
Several...we put in a Carrier in roughly same size total but two-story
2-units a couple of years ago. Overall was about $8k iirc, but one
system would be about 2/3rds that (the upper floor unit is quite a bit
smaller than the main floor one). If you've got 80% now, then would
presume won't need to do the noncondensing exhaust--this was a much
older natural draft unit vented thru the old chimney so that was
required labor plus the labor for re-doing the refrig lines (newer HE
units need larger lines than the old did) was fairly involved coming
thru the second floor again all the way to the basement in this house so
depending on the construction might be a little better. Then again, I'd
guess labor rates in WI are higher than SW KS...
The unit I have now is a Trane and though I've had no problems other
than the igniter, now with the ability to search the web, I see it was
rated pretty low.
I guess I had better set aside at least $5K...
so I will more than likely have it done next year.
One major project a year is the most I usually do.
Last year, new windows, this year new electric service.
If I get the new furnace next year than I can take a break from major
projects for a while and set aside money for a new roof.
(Unless the wife convinces me to move to Arizona.)
I do not really want to call for an estimate until I am actually ready
to get the work done.
I'll check to see who does Carrier in my area.
Our Carrier performance series package installed 7 years ago has been
trouble free so far. Doesn't even need a recharge for the a/c unit when
spring check up was done. 3.5 ton/100K BTU 2 stage at little over 7K
CAD. Done bya CArrier authorized outfit with good well trained techs.
with 10 year P&L warranty. House is ~2600 sq. ft. 2 story, R2000 spec'd
(not counting fully finished basement)
On Thursday, June 19, 2014 3:46:31 PM UTC-4, philo wrote:
The existing ducting was designed for heating only. If you're lucky,
it may be adequate for AC too, which it is in many cases. Could be a
problem though if for example it's 2 stories, with the furnace in
basement. Heat rises, so old system might not have enough air capacity
to get enough cold air upstairs to cool properly. Sometimes some simple
things, like adding another return or two upstairs can fix that.
The quotes that were reasonable here in NJ to do a replacement
of furnace and existing AC from a couple years ago were in the
6500 - 7500 range. That was before rebates, tax credits, etc. I got
some that were a lot higher too. System was 120K BTU 94%, 2 stage furnace,
5 ton 14 SEER AC.
If you have a gas WH on the existing chimney, then you should have
a liner installed. Make sure that's part of the quote.
I went with Rheem. Rheem is the same company that makes Ruud.
The old system was Ruud, 25 years old, only thing I ever had
a problem with is I had to put a hard-start kit on the compressor
because it was blowing fuses. I think that cost me $100 or so
and it worked for another 15 years. Had the Rheem 3 years and
very happy with it. 94% furnace, variable speed blower, 14 SEER
AC. I was a little skeptical about the ECM blower, they are
electronic and more costly to replace. But I like it. When the
old system came on, you knew it. The new one, the blower ramps
slowly and it's much quieter, less noticeable.
Another thing to consider is where you want the AC compressor.
Just before install, it suddenly dawned on me that the old one
was in the wrong place. It was right between the living room
and den, in the backyard. I realized that with just a little more
lineset, it could go on the end of the house, where it's totally
out of the way and by a bathroom. It was an easy move because
it was also right near the electric panel.
I would definitely get a two stage furnace too. Little difference
in price. With two stage, it fires at about 65% of capacity most
of the time, ie when maintaining the temperature. If the temp
has been set back, you increase it, etc, then it fires at full output.
It's also good for days when only a little heat is needed as it
runs a bit longer, giving time for the temp to even out.
I didn't get a 2 stage AC, but that's worth considering too. It
uses the lower output on mild days, allowing it to run longer and
get more of the humidity out. When you have only one output, it can
cool the house off before getting as much of the humidity out as
you might want. I finally opted against it, because it was a big
jump in price and for me it hasn't been much of an issue.
Make sure with the 2 stage furnace that the contract calls for a
2 stage thermostat. With that, the thermostat that knows what the
target temp and the actual temp are makes the decision on which output
level to call for. These furnaces can also work with a dumb single
stage furnace. In that case, the furnace makes the decision. It
starts at low stage and if after like 8 mins, it's still running,
then it goes to high. So, if you have the house at 60 and want
to get it to 70, you're wasting 8 mins running on low, where with
a 2 stage thermostat it would be running at high from the first
Also, consider what type of filtering system you want. I think it
comes down to two choices, a high MERV filter that is like 5 inches
thick or an electronic. I chose the MERV. Without an external filter
in the contract, you'll wind up with just one of the 1" crap ones
and no easy way to upgrade it.
Keep in mind that I'd rather have a good installer with the least
expensive eqpt than a crappy installer with the best eqpt. Actually,
when I lookd few years ago at CR, there was very little difference
in the service rates among brands. Some have better warranties and
you should check out that too.
Good point. My wife's studio has no air vent at all, so I installed a
230v baseboard heater. Adding a vent would probably be expensive.
OTOH: To run a large electric heater is also expensive. I better set
aside even more moeny.
Yep, I will need a liner too for the water heater...or else I'll have to
go to an electric water heater.
There is really only one place the compressor can go, and that's in the
back of the house. It will be a short run from the furnace and it will
not be in the way of anything.
I had an electrostatic filter and it worked well. It died though so I
stuck in a high quality 5" thick filter. For sure, when I get a new
furnace I'll want the best there is. My wife has mild allergies and this
house is very old so I want to keep the dust down as much as possible.
On Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:56:33 PM UTC-4, philo wrote:
Doh! That's the kind of thing where problems start. You can look at
the logistics, possible routes to get an idea of what's possible.
Sometimes you get lucky, through a corner of a closet for example.
Another option is a minisplit for a room or two, if ducting is impossible
or too costly. But those aren't cheap either, figure $3000.
Gss direct vent would be first choice. When I did my furnace, I figured my
WH could have 10 years left, so I went with a liner. I think it cost $150
The good news is the new ones are a lot quieter than the ones
from 25 years ago. I was very pleased with the noise reduction.
In my case, the old one was outside the den and you could hear it
buzzing away loudly while watching TV. The new one is much quieter
and I relocated it around the other side of the house, past the den,
so it's beside a bathroom. In the den you can barely hear it at all now.
Some of the higher price units justify that by lower noise levels.
But my basic Rheem is plenty quiet for me. Unless it's going somewhere
where noise is an especial consideration, I wouldn't pay more for one
that is quieter.
They make media based ones that use a filter about 5" thick. It can
go beside or under the furnace, depending on how the duct work is done.
The bad part is the filters cost about $45 to replace. But they seem
to last a long time. I check mine and they last longer than a year.
Here is an idea:
If I get a high efficiency furnace it will not require a chimney...and
if I go with an electric water heater my chimney will not be used at all.
I wonder if the ducts could then be run up the unused chimney?
The room with no vents is directly adjoining the chimney.
On Thursday, June 19, 2014 11:06:17 PM UTC-4, philo wrote:
You could run something up there. Depends on the size
of the chimney and the room. Small room could do with
one register. Larger should have two. A return would
be good too. Probably not much room in a chimney sized
for a furnace/WH.
I worked as an installer between the years 2000
and 2006. I was the helper, not the big man, so
I didn't really do much with pricing the job.
Please understand if my mental cash register is
out of date.
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