Replace power ventor or install chimney

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Old 01-02-09, 08:28 AM
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Replace power ventor or install chimney

I live in Naples, Maine in a 2 story saltbox with single story addition. The entire house has baseboard radiator heating and the addition has a woodstove as well.
We now have no heat or hot water.
We have an approximately 20 year old oil furnace that has Liberty Slim/Fin cast on it.
Our furnace technician has advised that the SS1 Power ventor motor is seized up and the power ventor is in need of replacing. He highly suggests we have a SS2 power ventor installed or better yet, a chimney installed.
My question; is the chimney something that is recommended as a DIY project, or are there codes that require an expert installation?
After weighing the pros and cons, I think a chimney is probably the best way to go, except the cost is a bit intimidating ($2-3k).
Could use your advice, my wife won't be happy if she has to go too long without a hot shower.
 
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Old 01-02-09, 05:30 PM
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Power Vent or Chimney

Given the choice of natural or mechanical draft, I'll take natural every time. If at all possible, go for the chimney, preferably insulated metal.
 
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Old 01-02-09, 08:33 PM
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Thank you,

My research has definitely led me to the same conclusion. Now that I have found what is involved, since I am going straight up the gable end and have no overhangs to go through, it is a fairly routine job. I will just have to have the furnace guy come back to adjust for the difference in drafts to ensure efficiency.
 
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Old 01-03-09, 04:29 AM
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Chimney

How far is it from boiler to where the chimney would be? If over 10 feet, you may want to use type 'L' double walled pipe to connect the boiler to the chimney. You must also maintain an upward slope from the boiler to the chimney of at least
1/4" per foot of run. More is better.
 
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Old 01-03-09, 10:09 AM
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If a person already has an existing furnace or boiler with power vent -isn't it impossible to revert to a natural chimney flow due to downdraft of combustion gases through a secondary exchanger?
 
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Old 01-03-09, 10:24 AM
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Sorry Ecman, I'm not understanding your question.
 
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Old 01-03-09, 01:34 PM
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Sweng40

I just re-read your initial post. As much as I prefer a chimney to power venting, for the sake of hot water & heat, not to mention peace with she who must be obeyed, I have to say go for the replacement ventor. That will take a few hours. Installing a chimney will take at least a couple of days & that's not counting gettting a permit, etc.
 
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Old 01-05-09, 05:10 PM
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S/P,

Not sure of the guys furnace type. But I made a guess that a power vent was used because the furnace is a condensing type. Could be wrong. But say if it were, with such a design where the secondary exchanger can be lower than the primary, I felt that it might not be a good idea to switch from a furnace engineered for power venting, to try to updraft naturally through a chimney, in such a furnace. That was all.
 
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Old 01-05-09, 05:17 PM
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ecman 51

The appliance in question is a 20 year old, cast iron, oil fired hot water boiler.
 
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Old 01-05-09, 05:43 PM
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Well, I started calling it a furnace, so I just stuck with that. Other posters have called their boilers furnaces.

Anyway, lets just say that maybe a power vent 'anything' might work better when you stick with the original design rather than switch to simply the chimney effect. You don't have to worry about air pressure inversions and down and backdrafts with a power vent. (One way or another I'm trying to worm my way out of this one. )
 
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Old 01-06-09, 03:47 PM
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Power Venting

Power venting & oil just don't mix except in rare cases. No oil fired equipment I'm aware of is actually designed for power venting.
 
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Old 01-06-09, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweng40 View Post
We have an approximately 20 year old oil furnace .......
Our furnace technician has advised that the SS1 Power ventor motor...... .
"Furnace". Power ventor. I have been just going on what he said. I think I'll give up on this thread.
 
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Old 01-06-09, 07:26 PM
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I appreciate all the responses. I can not say if the system was originally designed for a powervent or not. The 'gentleman' that built the majority of the house, I continue to discover, has cut as many corners as possible for short term savings.
The system I have been considering is a Stainless Model CF Chimney (made by Selkirk) that will run up the outside. The heating system has a run of approximately 6 feet from furnace to up and out the basement where it will attach to the chimney. The installation appears pretty straight forward. I am tackling it this weekend and will keep you posted.
 
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Old 01-08-09, 11:33 AM
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Not sure what you mean that oil furnace and power ventor don't mix? I just put a brand new furnace in (carrier 58VMR) and because my chimney was in very poor condition structually and leaking (the guy putting new roof on said it looked like it was going to fall over and in attic I know that all the morter joints are blackened with creosite) I decided to move my furnace and put in a fields power ventor. The instructions on the ventor certainly state it can be used with oil fired furnace. It has all kinds of safety mechanisms-furnace won't come on unless ventor is on creating neg press in a press switch, the ventor has post purge valve that keeps ventor on after furnace stops to keep exhausting gases till flue cools, and also a sensor that will cut off furnace if the flue gets blocked.

Would have liked to keep chimney since no motor to wear out, but I would have had to replace a complete chimney that is located in the interior of my house! Wasn't practical.
 
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Old 01-08-09, 01:29 PM
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Oil & power vent

Nearly any tech who works on oil fired equipment regularly will tell you power venting oil fired equipment tends to be trouble in the long run.
 
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Old 01-08-09, 02:52 PM
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I guess I better cross my fingers. I didn't have much choice. To rebuild my entire chimney would have meant ripping out drywall on two floors and the cost to demo old and have someone put in new one would have been a lot of money. So what kind of problems do you have with the power ventors and why are the problems with oil fired but not gas fired?
 
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Old 01-08-09, 03:51 PM
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Venter

I fully understand the lack of choice & wish you all the luck in the world. Read the install manual & make sure the wiring is right.
The biggest problems are soot & odors along with nuiscance burner shut downs. A lot of this is due to poor placement &/or incorrect wiring.
I guess the reasons for the trouble stem from oil fired equipment not being designed specifically for power venting & the need to move more air than a gas fired appliance.
 
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Old 01-08-09, 04:34 PM
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funny that you mention the wiring. I did notice odor and was told "it's an oil burner and they always have odor". Well I grew up with oil burner and my new furnace was replacing an OLD oil burner and I never had smells before. One day I was outside near the ventor when furnace came on. The ventor was not on! It came on a few minutes later. I thought this was strange. So I got instructions and looked at them and found that the guys wired it wrong. The "hot" on call for heat that goes to burner should be re-routed through ventor and that signal only goes back to ignite burner if the ventor is on which closes a pressure switch. The only thing that was making ventor turn on the way they had it wired was the post purge-once flue got hot the ventor would kick on. I argued with their boss about this and he didn't believe me. He came out and finally believed me. He said that he would send someone the next day to fix it. I said that I could temporarily fix it in 10min but didn't want to touch it till someone verified the poor install in case they blew out a relay or something. They still have not gotten my humidifier to work and maybe I will start a thread on that.
 
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Old 01-09-09, 02:38 PM
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Wiring

Of the venters I've worked on (installed by others) I can only remember seeing one which was wired correctly. I don't know if people are just in too big of a hurry to read the instructions or what the deal is. If you want help with the humidifier, you can either start another thread or send me a PM & I'll see what I can do.
 
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Old 01-09-09, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Grady View Post
Nearly any tech who works on oil fired equipment regularly will tell you power venting oil fired equipment tends to be trouble in the long run.
I'll second that. Just got back from a two hour no heat call.
Oil + Power vent = Giant headache
 
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Old 01-09-09, 07:58 PM
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pfd27

Was it wired as per the manufacturer's instructions? I've found if they are, you usually don't wind up with a real mess. I know stuff breaks, everything does sooner or later but if they are installed right it's usually just a matter of replacing a bad part.
 
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