purchasing new furnace tips

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sil2017
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purchasing new furnace tips

Post by sil2017 »

I have an original gas furnace (1958) in my closet . There is asbestos on the duct. I would like to purchase a new furnace for my 1400 square foot single level house near the beach in Southern California. Any recommendation on brand and whether I should have new ducts and get rid of the asbestos or just leave the original ducts (1958) and just purchase a new furnace. I have read that Ruud, Trane and American standard are good furnaces. Anyone own one? Also, I can't decide on which company to go with. I checked yelp and next-door neighbor site. Many of my neighbors don't do any price comparison shopping so I think they pay too much. I don't really trust yelp for accurate information.

I actually thought about a new furnace with AC but it seems to be so complicated as I need to redo my sprinkler system and have the AC unit outside my backyard. The heat is unbearable for 3 to 5 days per year so I probably own't have AC. My ceiling fans seem to work okay.
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DanMahowny
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by DanMahowny »

Sorry I have no tips, but hope to learn something in this thread too.

I have owned 2 homes over the last 26 years and never had to replace a furnace.
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mortfree
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by mortfree »

This may not apply to the OP but a general comment about a furnace.

Know how many wires currently run from your furnace to the thermostat(s). How many are connected and how many are not in use, if any?

Can new wires easily be run if necessary?
Topic Author
sil2017
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by sil2017 »

I don't know. I think it is called central force heating as I have heater in the closet with ducts in attic and vents on walls about 1/2 foot from the ceiling.
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Noble Knight
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by Noble Knight »

I got a Lennox EL296V Gas furnace in 2017 and love it. The variable speed fan allows me to run the fan all the time (summer & winter) for a small amount of electricity and keep a balanced temperature through out the house.

https://www.lennox.com/products/heating ... ces/el296v

- variable speed fan
- 2 stage heating
- 96% efficiency
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Watty
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by Watty »

A couple of tips;

1) I have found that you can get the best prices if you can get bids between the heating and cooling season when HVAC companies are really slow. I don't know when that would be there since ten miles inland they might have a lot more need for A/C. In addition to getting a better price in a slow time of year they will be less of a rush for the installers to get to their next job.

2) Get at least six bids. They will vary a lot depending on how busy the company is and lots of somewhat random factors.

3) Any of the top brands will be fine.

4) A high efficiency furnace will save you some money but they may not last as long. I would assume that you have minimal heating needs so a lower efficiency furnace might make sense if it would last longer.
bloom2708
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by bloom2708 »

Get 3 quotes for the same system.

Say you settle on a Lennox system. Get an apples to apples quote from 3 dealers for the exact system.

If you get 6 quotes, one for Coleman (avoid), one for Lennox, one for a Trane with diifferent efficiencies/price points, they don't mean much. Comparing apples to turnips.

We have the Lennox 98v with 16 SEER AC unit. As I narrowed it down, I got 3 quotes for the exact same system. They were $500 different for the same system.
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livesoft
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by livesoft »

Trane and American Standard are the same furnace. One of them probably costs less.

Unfortunately, with asbestos and in California, you have a hazardous waste problem. I would research that a lot more.

Since you are near the beach in Southern California, you will not need anything fancy because you won't be using this furnace much, if ever. So forget about all the high-efficiency, two-stage fanch schmancy features. Go with the minimum needed to meet code.
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Topic Author
sil2017
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by sil2017 »

I would need the heater about 3 months maximum in a year.

One quote I had was for the Bryant 314A . Many poor reviews.
Last edited by sil2017 on Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lthenderson
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by lthenderson »

My recommendation is to buy whatever brand the local installer/repairman sells (provided the quality of the equipment has good reviews). Furnaces do require fixing from time to time so I want a product that the local guy can fix, promptly. If you go through large chain outfits, sometimes you have to wait a long time to get someone out to repair them.

In my area, the local guy sells Trane which is what I bought. It has been installed five years and I just had my first problem with it this winter. Turned out to be the flame quality sensor which a few swipes across some sandpaper to shine it up fixed it.

I would not be redoing asbestos insulated ducts just because you don't like the sound of the stuff. The only time to remove it is when you have to move ducts to new locations. The reason is abatement is expensive and asbestos is harmless if left undisturbed. So I generally leave it alone unless something else forces my hand.
cadreamer2015
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by cadreamer2015 »

I don't have any specific advice on the furnace. If it were me I would deal with the asbestos sooner rather than later. If/when you sell you will certainly have to disclose that there is asbestos and the buyer might very well require it to be removed and remediated. Much better to get it taken care of when you have time and no pressure. Costs for removal/remediation are unlikely to go down in the future. So, as mentioned above, research the asbestos issue. Just my 2 cents.
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SurfCityBill
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by SurfCityBill »

Nice thread and good question. I'm in the same boat as the OP. I thought my furnace was old as it's from the 1970's. Based on the OP's furnace age I guess I still have another ten + years. I agree with some of the other posters. Ignore too many fancy options. Basically on and off with a good thermostat is all you need. Forget the A/C. There's two weeks in the summer it makes sense here in SoCal. Kind of like the money I regret wasting buying a heater for my pool. The asbestos is a good question. I recommend doing a little research on that. Good luck.
Rupert
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by Rupert »

I wouldn't want asbestos-wrapped ductwork in my house if safely removing it was an option. Intellectually I know that it's not dangerous if in good condition, but emotionally I just wouldn't want it in my house. I had asbestos-wrapped ductwork and an old asbestos-lined furnace removed from my basement and crawlspace about 10 years ago. Cost was just under $4000. The abatement company charged a set fee per day, and it was a 2-day job. Cost of air quality testing before/during/after removal and cost of lawful disposal of the asbestos were included in the price.
NewOldGuy
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by NewOldGuy »

I keep telling my wife we need to sell before it's time for a new furnace, new sewer lines, new roof etc... Our home, purchased in 1982, was built in 1947. It's probably not original to the house, but the forced air furnace is UNDER the house. To change filters, I have to slither like snake under the return duct. Be nice if there were a trap door in our laundry room floor to change filters.

The crawl space opening is only 3 x 3. It's like a ship in bottle. They had to assemble that furnace while under the house.
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SagaciousTraveler
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by SagaciousTraveler »

I am also looking for a new furnace. I talked with my friend who owns his own heating and cooling company. In a nutshell the manufacturing is the same for each name brand furnace you see out there.

I'll probably buy mine through Costco as my friend doesn't live in the same state.
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sil2017
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by sil2017 »

I didn't even know I have asbestos till the Heating and AC guy came by for an estimate. He said I would need a permit if I have AC but if just installing a new furnace, no permit is needed nor do I need to remove existing ducts with asbestos. Removal of Asbestos would cost $850.
Rupert
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by Rupert »

NewOldGuy wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:43 am I keep telling my wife we need to sell before it's time for a new furnace, new sewer lines, new roof etc... Our home, purchased in 1982, was built in 1947. It's probably not original to the house, but the forced air furnace is UNDER the house. To change filters, I have to slither like snake under the return duct. Be nice if there were a trap door in our laundry room floor to change filters.

The crawl space opening is only 3 x 3. It's like a ship in bottle. They had to assemble that furnace while under the house.
My house was built (circa 1925) around the original furnace. It had its own little room sunk about four feet below ground level right in the middle of the crawlspace. Fortunately, they built a full-size access door and stairway to it. And they put in a sump pump to keep it mostly dry. It is sort of like a basement but not really. It feels more like an old root cellar. We use it to store old paint cans and ladders and such. Anyway, yes, old houses have interesting features.
Mapmaker
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by Mapmaker »

I don’t know anything about furnaces, but the pros on this forum are helpful if you post the question.
https://www.houzz.com/discussions/heati ... nditioning
cadreamer2015
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by cadreamer2015 »

Removal of Asbestos would cost $850.
At that price I would do it in a flash, after making sure the folks doing the removal were appropriately qualified (not just folks picked up outside Home Depot with no protective gear).
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Topic Author
sil2017
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by sil2017 »

sorry just the ducts with the asbestos in the attic for $850
brianH
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by brianH »

You might want to seriously consider a heat pump instead of the gas furnace. It seems to me that SoCal would be the perfect place to use a HP, because it doesn't get that cold (i.e. the HP can easily provide enough heat) and you'd also get AC with it. Numbers will vary with utility rates and average temperatures, but around Philly, I once calculated that a modern heat pump is still cheaper to run than a gas furnace (even given how dirt cheap gas is) until about 40-45 degrees. I would think SoCal doesn't get much below that.

A more future looking benefit of the HP is moving to a totally-electric house. You'd be able to get rid of the monthly gas meter charge, and if/when solar makes sense, you'd really save some money on utilities.
renue74
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by renue74 »

I'm in the camp of...you'll only need it sparingly, so don't buy premium, but do get a good brand.

Lenox, Trane, etc. are good.

Goodman is not good.

Around here, you can get a good forced air (natural gas) furnace for about $2500 installed. If it's just the furnace.

I would have the furnace/air handler in the attic for easy access. There may be some electrical requirements. My furnace required a 20 amp circuit, with the 12/2 wire having a on/off switch right next to the furnace junction box. I also had to pay for some natural gas pipe leading to the attic.

Get a Nest, Ecobee, or some other type of internet thermostat. In addition to doing a good job tracking energy use, you can turn on/off from anywhere.
Rupert
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by Rupert »

sil2017 wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:02 pm sorry just the ducts with the asbestos in the attic for $850
Did this quote come from the HVAC guy, who likely isn't licensed to remove or dispose of asbestos, or an asbestos abatement company, that is licensed to remove and dispose of asbestos? You do not want to skimp on removing asbestos.
gtd98765
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by gtd98765 »

sil2017 wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:02 pm sorry just the ducts with the asbestos in the attic for $850
That sounds pretty cheap. I paid more than $2k to get 15 linear feet of asbestos insulation removed from my exposed furnace ducts. It had to be done by people using special tools and wearing special outfits, with a separate company doing certified testing afterwards. HCOL area. If you can really get the work done SAFELY for that amount I would do it.
CJC000
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by CJC000 »

I would highly recommend you research ductless mini split systems. Daikin is a good brand. You would have heat and ac and no asbestos ducts to worry about. They are quiet and very efficient
pdavi21
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by pdavi21 »

Watty wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:37 am 4) A high efficiency furnace will save you some money but they may not last as long. I would assume that you have minimal heating needs so a lower efficiency furnace might make sense if it would last longer.
+1 A high efficiency furnace is all but guaranteed to fail sooner. It has all the same parts that can fail, plus others that are more likely to fail (water pump)...BUT, you should check for tax credits to make sure a high efficiency costs significantly more before you decide.
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criticalmass
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by criticalmass »

pdavi21 wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:58 pm
Watty wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:37 am 4) A high efficiency furnace will save you some money but they may not last as long. I would assume that you have minimal heating needs so a lower efficiency furnace might make sense if it would last longer.
+1 A high efficiency furnace is all but guaranteed to fail sooner. It has all the same parts that can fail, plus others that are more likely to fail (water pump)...BUT, you should check for tax credits to make sure a high efficiency costs significantly more before you decide.
Guaranteed to fail sooner, based on what data? What percentage of high efficiency furnaces have a water pump? All of mine just drip the water out the bottom via a pipe and gravity. If you need to pump it out of the house because no floor drain is available, true--a separate condensate pump is needed--separate from the furnace--, but that same pump can also handle the air conditioner coil drain and humidifier, and maybe a hot water tank drain too.

The benefits of high efficiency are significant, although if your unit is in an unheated space that can freeze, a low efficiency (80 AFUE) unit might be necessary to prevent other issues.

Back to the original question, it is most important to get a quality installer. Then choose your equipment or level of equipment.

Trane and American Standard are the same company. Trane used to be a division of American Standard, now American Standard air is a division of Trane, after the Ingersoll Rand purchased the business. They have comparable products (exactly the same in many cases, with only the first letter of the model number and a name plate affixed at the end of the assembly line showing a difference) across the lines. Except Trane brand outdoor units can have the little plastic hat on top. Often Trane has a price premium to pay for increased marketing costs. Trane distributors typically only sell to a certain number of installers in a territory, while American Standard brand distributors are less picky.

Ditto Rheem/Ruud and Amana/Goodman and Lennox/Armstrong and UTC's Carrier/Bryant. (UTC's Payne brand is only builder quality however).

And remember to check for manufacturer and utility rebates! Most parts that need replacement are often shared between competing brands due to common internal parts, but either way they should be widely available to all good service companies.
Last edited by criticalmass on Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
sil2017
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by sil2017 »

The 850 price is not what the hvac guy is charging me . It’s a company he uses for his customer . All legitimate and not just dumping asbestos anywhere.
But all is talk as I have not received the written estimate in my email yet
ShaunSCO
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by ShaunSCO »

I second the Costco recommendation.

I had a service company out to look at mine, and they indicated it would be $1400 to maintain my existing, 20 year old furnace.

They gave a quick and dirty estimate of $4400 to replace it.

Home Depot came out to take a look and get a second opinion, and they said it would be about $5500, but then cut the price by about $500 after a call with their office.

A general estimate would be about $5000, then.

Then I saw the recommendation for Costco and checked it out. They utilize Lennox HVAC. Presumably the price is going to be in that range, as well. The difference is that by going through Costco, we would get a 10% cash card of whatever the price is going to be (not including duct work, etc.)

I've set up an appointment with Lennox, via the Costco website (you'll have to enter your membership number), and then I'll make my decision.

The current system still works, so I might postpone until the spring or summer when demand falls, and hopefully prices.
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TexasPE
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by TexasPE »

I second the suggestion to avoid Coleman.

Replaced my two HVAC systems 10 years ago with Coleman. Fortunately I received a 10-year full parts & labor factory warranty from the installer. To date EACH system has had THREE replacement evaporator coils installed. One system also has a new compressor and air mover. :oops: Everything under warranty. :D

The ten-year warranty expired last April. Fingers crossed that Coleman has figured out the problem with the evaporator ... I believe porous coils were used in early production. There was a class-action suit regarding the repeated system failures.
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Watty
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by Watty »

livesoft wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:50 am Since you are near the beach in Southern California, you will not need anything fancy because you won't be using this furnace much, if ever. So forget about all the high-efficiency, two-stage fanch schmancy features. Go with the minimum needed to meet code.
Running at multiple speed is different than the high efficiency. Being able to run at multiple speeds can make the furnace noticeably quieter and may make the house more comfortable since there will be less temperature variation. This probably is not a big deal in a beach house in Southern California but it is a multi-million dollar home the spending a bit more to get the multiple speeds might be appropriate.
Millennial
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by Millennial »

I suggest looking in to a heat pump, either ducted using your existing ducts or (better yet) ductless. It will be great for your climate, super cheap to run and you'll get AC. Ductless units are sometimes called "mini splits", but that term can aslo refer to ac-only units with no ability to heat.
mcamp18
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by mcamp18 »

A great web site for this type of question is www.hvac-talk.com There are expert HVAC people on that forum.

They will tell you a few commandments! The quality of the installer in paramount! Much more than the brand you
select. With that being said, when I replaced my furnace and AC 17 years ago I went with the brand I thought was best
at that time (Trane) along with the best installer. A high quality installer will do heating loss calculations to properly
size equipment for your home. They will also evaluate ductwork. One important thing the professionals told me to do
was to purchase the extended warranty and to opt for a better thermostat. I NEVER purchase extended warranties, because
Consumer Reports say that just don't pay. Well as it turns out getting the extended warranty saved me a significant amount
of money in repairs.

If it was my house I would attempt to deal with the asbestos now. Eventually the situation will need to be taken care of, especially
if you need to sell your home. I say do it now, why you are installing a new system. But a high quality installation contractor
should be able to address the asbestos, or have a relationship with a sub-contractor that performs asbestos removal.

I a big believer in getting at least three bids at a minimum, and ultimately the bids on the identical systems.

I also ask any contractor for their best installer when I have work done at my home, even if that means I need to wait a bit longer.

Best of luck!
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segfault
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by segfault »

Buy whatever brand furnace the best installer sells. I’d recommend a 95% effecient one. Do the asbestos mitigation sooner rather than later—it shouldn’t be that expensive and will make the house easier to sell when the time comes.
goldendad
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by goldendad »

I got a couple of bids but ended up buying through Costco. It worked out OK. Not perfect but OK.
Limoncello402
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Re: purchasing new furnace tips

Post by Limoncello402 »

About to replace our 30 year old Weil McLain gas boiler with a new Weil McLain. 1920s two story house in the Midwest, and will cost $6000.
like2read
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Avoid Trane HVAC

Post by like2read »

Based on our recent experience, my opinion and personal advice is avoid Trane.

I honestly don't know what brand I would purchase if we had to purchase again; they are all the same, right? I did a ton of research prior to selecting Trane, and I was convinced they were the most reliable. Perhaps they were at some point.

Within four years of original date of installation we have had 3 major repair issues on our Trane XR14 A/C. Replaced: motor module, evaporator coil and compressor. Three separate issues, three separate service calls. Over $1300 in total repair costs.

Only good news is that Trane honored their 10 warranty and covered the costs of replacement parts. Bad news is we had to pay labor and a good portion of the cost to recharge refrigerant. (Installation company was kind enough to eat some of the costs of refrigerant).

Was our experience an anomaly? What brand to buy instead?

l2r
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