Author Topic: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?  (Read 2596 times)

daverobev

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New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« on: March 29, 2016, 03:14:25 PM »
So, our furnace "needs replacing" - because our chimney is no longer to code in Ontario. The cost of replacing the chimney with to-code stuff is prohibitive. The furnace is old, inefficient, etc.

We have options, just not sure which is the right one. We had our maintenance guy round to talk through stuff.

As far as I can see, it comes down to one of two, both Aire-Flo:

A 92% efficient one, no bells or whistles - about $3.5k installed;
A 95% efficient one which has a variable speed blower - about $4.7k after the one rebate we know about for having an energy star one.

The benefit of the second is that you can leave the blower running on low speed year round, which will keep the crawlspace drier, and the rest of the house cooler.

Any reason anyone else can think of not to go for the cheapest option? It'll be a "massive upgrade" to our current one (though if the chimney was to code I'd happily do nothing - we have to change it else they WILL turn off the gas in a month or so).

$1200 isn't too huge an amount of money that, if people here reckon it actually makes a house nicer in the summer without air conditioning running, I'd be ok paying it... but honestly it seems the lower cost one makes the most sense.

The high spec one is 98% efficient but costs $6500!!! No way.

Noahjoe

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 07:07:04 AM »
I recently had mine replaced. I am in Wisconsin and I think my furnace was 80,000 BTU (might be 60k, can't remember). I got a Bryant 98% efficient model for $3,600 USD installed. This included running an air intake to the outside as the previous furnace pulled air from the basement.

I'm not the most up to date on labor costs/etc for Canada, but it seems to me that your options from this guy are pretty pricey. Did you shop around? Do you KNOW how big a furnace you need for your home? Don't necessarily just replace your old one with a modern equivalent. To put it into perspective, some contractors were quoting furnaces with 20k more BTUs of output (for way more, obviously) or quoting a similar output furnace with worse ratings/consumer feedback for over $1,000 USD more.

Same story with my roof. One quote for the same work was $6,700, and one was $15k. Due diligence is worth it. If you turn it into an hourly wage it's probably a few hundred an hour to find a reputable installer.

daverobev

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 11:03:34 AM »
I recently had mine replaced. I am in Wisconsin and I think my furnace was 80,000 BTU (might be 60k, can't remember). I got a Bryant 98% efficient model for $3,600 USD installed. This included running an air intake to the outside as the previous furnace pulled air from the basement.

I'm not the most up to date on labor costs/etc for Canada, but it seems to me that your options from this guy are pretty pricey. Did you shop around? Do you KNOW how big a furnace you need for your home? Don't necessarily just replace your old one with a modern equivalent. To put it into perspective, some contractors were quoting furnaces with 20k more BTUs of output (for way more, obviously) or quoting a similar output furnace with worse ratings/consumer feedback for over $1,000 USD more.

Same story with my roof. One quote for the same work was $6,700, and one was $15k. Due diligence is worth it. If you turn it into an hourly wage it's probably a few hundred an hour to find a reputable installer.

Thanks. USD:CAD is 1:1.3 at the moment. Labour is more up here. I don't think he's ripping us off. We're having the lowest sized unit available, probably, a 45k BTU one.

Now, we have a crawlspace not a basement, so there is more labour involved - putting the furnace on its side. Plus they are taking out the old chimney etc.

going2ER

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 11:15:19 AM »
Have you considered changing to a heat pump? either air or geothermal?  You wouldn't need to have your chimney redone and they are efficient, at least on the east coast.

SoftwareGoddess

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2016, 12:35:40 PM »
No suggestions about the furnace specifically, but if you are an Enbridge customer and willing to jump through some hoops, you might be eligible for a rebate under the Home Energy Retrofit Program.

http://knowyourenergyscore.ca/home-energy-conservation/

daverobev

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2016, 03:18:40 PM »
No suggestions about the furnace specifically, but if you are an Enbridge customer and willing to jump through some hoops, you might be eligible for a rebate under the Home Energy Retrofit Program.

http://knowyourenergyscore.ca/home-energy-conservation/

We're with Enbridge, but unfortunately not in the right area for this program.

daverobev

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2016, 03:21:32 PM »
Have you considered changing to a heat pump? either air or geothermal?  You wouldn't need to have your chimney redone and they are efficient, at least on the east coast.

I believe we sit on top of quite a lot of granite. I'll look into it, though, thanks.

At the moment I think we'll get the basic furnace, but a better thermostat that allows for the fan to come on throughout the day - which would move air around in the summer - neither model comes with this as standard, so that's an extra strike against the variable speed one. Just doesn't seem worth it (though apparently the electricity usage would be much lower).

Reynolds531

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2016, 07:21:56 PM »
Here in Ontario natural gas is cheap, and hydro is brutal expensive. Remember that before you think heat pump. The DC blower is likely worth it, but I would calculate pay back time.

Did you look at Alpine air system s? MMM did an article not that long ago. Provided your installer is willing to put one in he didn't sell you. Maybe just use as leverage.

I have a 1989 furnace. It's just not worth changing at .16 per meter for gas.

Reynolds531

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2016, 07:24:36 PM »
And what do you mean "no longer code?"

The black tubing must be replaced, but is an easy fix. A masonary chimney needs a liner, but can't be forced to update. You were code at installation.... And grandfather Ed unless you are rebuild ING.

BlueMR2

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2016, 08:04:26 AM »
I was faced with a similar decision last year and ended up opting for the variable speed/96% combo (versus 95%/normal blower) for about an extra $900 IIRC.  The electrical consumption of the variable motor is enough lower (combined with my new A/C unit) that I probably will not use my whole house fan this Summer as the power savings would be negligible and the A/C controls humidity and pollen.  The continuous blower does make a difference in the extremities of the house.  Definitely get a more consistent temperature.  I don't regret it.  :-)

daverobev

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2016, 08:43:32 AM »
And what do you mean "no longer code?"

The black tubing must be replaced, but is an easy fix. A masonary chimney needs a liner, but can't be forced to update. You were code at installation.... And grandfather Ed unless you are rebuild ING.

It's "type-b" IIRC, double walled metal tube that was apparently never officially approved for exterior use, but people just used to do it. The gas guy "red tagged" us so Enbridge will cut us off if we don't have it replaced.

daverobev

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Re: New Furnace - Any Suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2016, 08:46:38 AM »
I was faced with a similar decision last year and ended up opting for the variable speed/96% combo (versus 95%/normal blower) for about an extra $900 IIRC.  The electrical consumption of the variable motor is enough lower (combined with my new A/C unit) that I probably will not use my whole house fan this Summer as the power savings would be negligible and the A/C controls humidity and pollen.  The continuous blower does make a difference in the extremities of the house.  Definitely get a more consistent temperature.  I don't regret it.  :-)

Thanks. Well, we decided to go with the cheap seats option, but with an upgraded thermostat that'll blow air in the summer if required. We don't have house a/c. Difference was about $1100 going from 92/single to 95/variable, so we just took the cheapest option.

It's a fairly small house. I'm hoping the "anything will be an upgrade" will be true; our current furnace is 120k BTU so only runs for fairly short periods.

Dunno. There's a good chance we'll move within 5 years so I don't want to spend for what I think would be a marginal upgrade (the thermostat upgrade was $90 so I don't mind that!!).