Sudden furnace inefficiency

Old 03-10-11, 07:30 AM
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Sudden furnace inefficiency

I know absolutely nothing about my furnace/air conditioner unit. I am a single mom thats mechanically challenged . My furnace appears to be a Friedrich model w/a Carrier central air conditioning unit. It is very fuel efficient and the house (4's large) must be extremely well insulated because I only go thru about $600 of oil in ONE YEAR. I've been in the house since 2004. I've had the furnace cleaned twice.
Here's the problem...I just blew through 100 gallons ($300) in about ONE MONTH ! I have a programmable thermostat and the temp is set mostly at 65 degrees..68 from 7-10pm only on weekdays.

During the summer, the a/c was operating very inefficiently..had a friend look at it..first thing he notices is on the a/c side (I think) a large panel was hanging open and there was a large slanted place (about 45 degrees) that appeared to hold a filter and one wasnt there. He bought a filter, closed the panel (about 18 inches wide and 35 inches long).

Right away, the a/c was back to normal. This morning I go down to check the oil gauge and find that I'm almost out of oil BUT I see that door hanging open. I pulled it all the way open to look at the filter and it appears to be fine..only I noticed that the "filter" is a screen of wire that has no "mesh" in it. I closed the you think that this might be the reason why the furnace is performing so inefficently or do I have another issue?

Thanks so much for your time!
Old 03-10-11, 12:28 PM
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With that door open you are pulling return air from the basement instead of from the living area. That could certainly reduce the efficiency. Ask your friend to show you about the filter.
Old 03-10-11, 02:28 PM
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Grady's comment is probably the main issue. But, here are a couple of other thoughts. Maybe when the unit was running without a filter, the A-coil got plugged up with dirt? But since the unit's performance recovered after closing the door, maybe the A-coil is OK. However, it might be a good idea to inspect the A-coil and wash it if necessary.

Those wire-mesh filters may be OK, but I am a bit skeptical. The advantage is that they can be washed and reused. But they are usually courser than a pleated or fiberglass filter. I have used wire-mesh filters ahead of an electrostatic air cleaner or ahead of a high-efficiency pleated filter.

You need to get somebody to fix the door so it doesn't open on its own.

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