I have no idea what to buy....


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Old 02-18-14, 03:29 AM
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I have no idea what to buy....

I'm a new home owner who just bought a fixer upper on the cheap in northern Ohio. I've decided to replace the 1974 Lennox natural gas furnace. I have a ranch house that's about 1650 square feet built in 1953. insulation is average, all windows are all replacement. However I have 2 bay windows, sliding glass doors. Addition on the back of the house has 7 windows alone.

My main worries now are the fact that he house heats unevenly and my gas bill is higher then I'd like.

I've had 3 contractors come out for estimates and I think I have it down to a few choices.

the first is ACVM960805DX Amana Modulating gas valve variable speed motor. 96% efficient. $ 3350 installed.

ACVM950714CX 2 stage, variable speed. 96% efficient$2800 installed.

Bryant Preferred 95t two stage, "model 925t" 96.2% efficient. $ 3400installed.

Lennox EL195DF070XE48B 95% stage 1 with high efficient blower. $2400 installed.

Ok so i'm pretty much open to any advice. I just want to know what model is the best investment and which one will help the cold spots. All 3 said that a new furnace will help with some of the cold spots but to totally fix the problem ill need more air returns. The temp varies about 14 degrees from the warmest room to the coolest.

Also ive heard bad things about modulating furnaces and old ductwork.

Honestly guys any advice would help. I want to make this a good family home.
 
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Old 02-18-14, 04:28 AM
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Hello and welcome to the forums.....

Stand by for a reply back..... There are many HVAC guys here that will help. If not soon, later tonight...
 
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Old 02-18-14, 04:34 AM
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Personally I am not a fan of the higher tech variable and multi speed furnaces because of repair costs. So, I would go for your least expensive option at 95% efficient. You're only talking 1% difference in efficiency and even if you spend $2'000 in a season on gas you would only save $20 per season. That makes the payback way too long and beyond the life of the system. Also, you bought a house on the cheap so you don't want to put silk stockings on a pig with a fancy, expensive system.
 
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Old 02-18-14, 05:57 AM
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Well "on the cheap" is a relative term. About 130k. I have a 4 bed 2 bath house in a desirable neighborhood, the house was just foreclosed and in need of repair.

While all are 95ish percent efficient.....does the fancy multispeed furnaces make it anymore efficient? Or are they all about temperature control. The whole reason I was considering one was because I heard they distribute heat better....
 
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Old 02-18-14, 06:57 AM
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A new Furnace isn't going to help with the uneven heating, new or revamped duct work is needed to correct that issue.
 
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Old 02-18-14, 07:51 AM
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"does the fancy multispeed furnaces make it anymore efficient?" You provided that answer yourself when you provided the efficiency ratings of the three furnaces. 96%, 96.2% and 95%

In general the furnace will not provide more even heating. You've got rooms with very different heat losses mainly because of the window & sliding doors. Leaving the fan "on" and constantly circulating the air may help even the temps out. Your HVAC installer may be able to install some dampers in the ductwork that can be adjusted to even the heating a bit but you can also do almost the same by partially closing the registers.

Instead of having all the ducting replaced you could see how much it would cost to a few extra duct runs added to the problem rooms. They would probably only be a few hundred dollars.
 
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Old 02-18-14, 01:32 PM
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first off, why are you being quoted systems that are probably double the size that you need? Did they just look at the size of the old one. Those systems are going to be putting out close to 70,000 BTUh. Going with a smaller unit and having it set up for a low temperature rise may help you achieve a bit more balance among the rooms, lower install costs, save on fuel and prolong equipment life.

Second, has any one of them spoke to you about the issues you may have by orphaning your gas fired water heater (if you have one). If they didn't they should be questioned immediately and if they're not willing to inspect the chimney and do the calculations, they should be shown the door. If they are willing to install a direct vent system, they should know the concerns about orphaning. I make my customers sign a waiver if they choose not to do anything with the chimney when I install a direct vent system.

I wouldn't go into any type of variable speed furnace UNLESS, you are adding on AC or running some type of IAQ (indoor air quality) system where you will need a constant low amount of airflow. Don't go with a modulating furnace. 2 stage is definitely a good investment. As far as the Lennox if it has a high efficiency motor, stay away. ECM's are not all they're cracked up to be. High replacement costs, with no ROI.

Do you have returns in all of your rooms including the ones that are cooler? I may just be a simple balancing issue. They should be able to balance it a bit better for you.

Aside from those things, the system depends on the installer, not on the brand name. What installer is willing to stand by their work? Who shows up at your door with a nice uniform and clean workers? Who will answer the phone in the middle of the night? If I were you I would ask for more, see if they will throw in a humidifier for free. Maybe even a one year maintenance at no charge.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 
 

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