Need Furnace Buying Advice

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Old 08-25-04, 01:40 PM
D
disco
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Question Need Furnace Buying Advice

I'm considering a new furnace for my house, and am looking for general advice on the process, how to pick a good contractor and brand/model, what to do myself, what not to do myself, etc.. I suspect there is plenty written on this topic on this site, but am having trouble finding it.

Can you direct me to the best sources of information? Or how best to search this site for guidance?

Quick facts:

Old (possibly 40 years) Janitrol natural gas forced air horizontal unit. In a small, low crawlspace, on a concrete slab with a low cinderblock wall surrounding, accessed by a small hatch in hallway. It went in that hatch, so I believe it will come out, and a newer, much smaller unit should go in.

No A/C. Don't want or need it. Nor humidifier.

Old house (1922), single pane windows, 6-8 inches of blown-in insulation in attic. Denver, Colorado.

Unit has always heated well, and I've only had to replace the fan cut-off switch in 5 years of living there. It does seem to cycle a bit more than it should, and the fan comes on somewhat irregularly, probably due to built up heat. I'm just getting scared furnace will fail, and given interest rates and other incentives, it's probably time to replace.

Questions:

Are "convertable" (vertical to horizontal) units OK, or should I search for one designed to be horizontal?

What (in addition to a heat-load calc) should I be sure to ask contractor for?

Should I just get a standard 80% efficient unit or one with variable speeds, two stages, other bells and whistles (assume I'm buying for the long run- I'll either own or rent this home out)?

Being generally handy and willing (replaced water heater, do light plumbing and electrical, and am not afraid of getting dirty or "diving in" to projects), what should I/could I do myself to save money? Demo old unit?

Thanks for any help!
 
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Old 08-25-04, 01:57 PM
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Should I just get a standard 80% efficient unit or one with variable speeds, two stages, other bells and whistles (assume I'm buying for the long run- I'll either own or rent this home out)?
Lets start there for the long run. Go for the 90 AFUE on the furnace.
Yes take the furnace out ,save the duct work there.

Brand--- lots of them I like Trane and Rheem. BUT what every the guy sells that has been there a long time is the one to get. He knows how it works and has parts for it.

Get 3 bid for the job and make sure they run a heat loss on the home.
Didnt see if you closed the vents there and have insulation on the walls of the crawl space. Also R 19 up there on the sill plate in the joist all around the home.

ED my .02 cents
 
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Old 08-27-04, 12:27 PM
D
disco
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More on insulation

Ed-

I've never been able to tell if there was insulation in the walls, but there is nothing in the crawl. I'm not sure what you mean about on the sill plate, but I presume that attic insulation is all I have. That said, I've always found the house to be "reasonably warm."


1st bid was "over the phone." Said he knew what I needed, etc. Next!

2nd bid I have the guy didn't do a heat loss, and I was generally unimpressed. Will get more bids.

You said to take out the furnace. I assume to save money? But I also assume I should have a contract to replace first?

It's a very tight fit through the hatch and in the crawl. I may even have to demo a bit of flooring or the hatchway to get a unit in. Given this, am I better to just let contractor do the whole thing?
 
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Old 08-27-04, 01:28 PM
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Its all your call. Ask them first if you can take it out and how much off if you do it??????

ED
 
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