I am considering a furnace replacement. Currently have a 19 yr old Payne, 128,000 btu (for a 2,100 single level house), and 92% efficient. It has been running ok - replaced a capacitor a couple of years ago and had the condensation tube blown out a week or so ago. Average lifetime is 15-20 according to everything I read.
A Daikin rep quoted about $8500 for a new 96% efficient (they don’t offer less), 100,000 BTU with modulating gas feed and two speed blowers, etc…
I have another quote coming from a company that installs RUUD.
I would enjoy reading what others have done - how long they waited, horror stories, etc…
You profile says you live in Rome NY. I am not certain about my idea for that are - but I suggest you consider a Heat Pump. I just read that someplace in the North East had changed their building codes such that gas furnaces were no longer allowed.
For sure, if you go that way, I would not get anything close to the bottom of the quality/cost spectrum. We moved from Atlanta to Gainesville, GA in 2017. We get cold weather for Georgia - had a week with high in the low 30s and lows near 20F last year. Our heat pumps had no issues. This would obviously give you air conditioning in the summer.
I would direct you to Carrier, Trane or Bryant. All these brands are solid. I am of the school the most important variable is the local dealer who will service and install. This is my first heat pump (from Michigan originally). I have been surprised at the efficiency and low utility costs.
I can’t speak to your actual problem but I will say OR may too far north for an air-to-air heat pump.
How many days below 20 degrees per year?
Much costlier would use a hydronic heat source rather than air-to-air. This is normally drilling holes about 250 deep to run water coils in. If you go horizontal you might need 500 or more feet of trenching.
Is there anything wrong with using system similar to what you have?
Why did the quote down-size the capacity from 128 to 100?
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Gene & GWPotter,
We get 2-5 days below 20 degrees. I had researched heat pumps a bit, but have not really sunk my teeth into it. On the surface, it did not seem like the best direction.
So, I am of the mind to replace the forced air gas furnace with the same. The thought process behind downsizing to 100 is that, coupled with modulating gas valves and blower speed, the furnace does not go through start-ups and shut-downs as frequently. The other reason for downsizing is our house size is rated for something between 80-100.
The companies suggest furnaces last 15-20 yrs. It is usually the blowers that fails. Ours is at 19. While I certainly don’t want it to fail at the worst possible time, I dislike the idea of replacing something with 30-35% life left.
Since a new furnace won’t gain alot of efficiency, maybe the smart move is to replace a blower (~$800) to get another 15 years is better than installing a new furnace for $8500?
Luckily, this is something I can ponder.
The DOE used to have a spread sheet on HVAC costs. Long story short even in places with real winters a heat pump that only meets the FHA minimum efficiency standards it is generally cheaper. There were a few locations that had abnormally low natural gas prices.
That is not to say heat pumps are perfect. Most if not all people like me who grew up with gas or oil heat really like the 130F air coming out the register. Heat pumps basically raise the temperature 20F. With low humidity a lot of people have the sense the system is not heating at all.
But if the goal is lower annual energy costs (electric plus fuel) a heat pump will cost less. I believe that difference will increase. Pretty clearly Europe is not interested in being dependent on Russia for natural gas. That means the demand for North American natural gas will increase as it is converted to LNG and shipped across the Atlantic.
Before just replacing the blower, be sure to check the heat exchanger for age related rust, pitting, our old Carrier still worked, but was a good 20+ years old, and it’s heat exchanger looked dicey, went with a new Trane higher efficiency, etc, used a local long time dealer who’s been great… Once the old was out, on the truck, you could see heavy damage, really just because of time, that pretty much justified the update, replacement alone…
New furnace, smart WiFi accessible thermostat (Honeywell), set our minds at ease…
My goal is always to save a few bucks! When the companies come out to quote, I will ask them about heat pumps. Our property has space to handle an in-ground system vs air-to-air if that is even better.
Good point about the heat exchanger. The rep I talked with likes the Daikin because of their heat exchanger design. Daikin also does heat pumps, so I plan to contact them again and ask about it.
Your last comment is also worth alot - right now, I worry about it breaking down between Dec - Mar when everyone is calling for service. This is one of those mechanical things you need working all the time.
Will let you all know what I decide.
Gas & oil heaters can have lots of little stuff go wrong, but the two biggies are blower fan (~$1000) or heat exchanger (replace the entire unit.)
The heat box gets a fair amount of use across 20 years, so that’s a pretty good marker. I had one last almost 30, but that was an outlier in a house with a primary unit (this was an add-on for an addition by a previous owner.)
Heat pumps used to be good down to about 20-degrees; with strides in efficiency they are now good to 0, and about 80% efficient down to -15. Below that you won’t be stranded because they come with electric resistance heating (think: ribbon space heater on steroids) but it is really in-efficient. Up to that point, however, a heat pump is way more efficient than any other type.
It requires a pad outdoors for the fan & coils, and install will punch a couple holes in the wall to get the tubes back and forth, but it’s almost always worth it. Supposedly you can save 30% or more on your heating costs, and of course, air conditioning is also part of the deal (it just runs backwards.)
Short term I’d guess natural gas and propane prices are going skyward as Europe cuts off Russian oil and they try to replace with US exports; that may not last long but while it does I expect a lot of demand for a supply that takes a while to ramp up additional production.
Your utility ay also have incentives for you to buy a heat pump, and (at least a couple years ago) there was a tax deduction for “energy improvements” which could save you a bunch at IRS time.
Upstate NY is kind of “old heating system” territory, so some dealers may not offer it but you really should look into a heat pump system, in the long run it could save you significant dinero. And lower your carbon footprint, if that is important to you.
I look forward to hearing what the HVAC companies say.
We live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and, thus far, Oregon does not offer any incentives/rebates like they did for solar in 2017. The Feds don’t offer much either. And, often, the incentives are in the form of tax credits which don’t help me - we don’t pay income tax (Fed or State).
We try to reduce our carbon footprint whenever possible. Our solar panels generate 800-1000 kW/yr more than we use (which we donate to low income families), so running a heat pump is a no brainer if I eliminate a large portion of my $700/yr natural gas bill. Rough estimate - my electrical cost will increase $130-150/yr and my gas savings will exceed that. Final decision might come down to install cost.
Whatever I do, it will be the last one I will have to do. There is some comfort in that.
I had a Weil-Mclain Gold oil furnace installed about 3 years ago (hot water baseboard heat). It seems to be 10-15% more efficient than the 20-year-old Beckett it replaced, although not quieter. It is very easy and cheap to service; the inside of it almost looked factory new after 2 heating seasons at first cleaning last fall. It’ll be in this house long after we move out. No unusual bubbling/gurgling noises. IIRC it was between $6-$7000 installed by a plumber up here in NH I trust - 3200sf 7-zone house (1 zone is the hot water tank off the boiler).
I believe I broke the boiler box on the old one by incorrectly trying to get air out. Won’t do that again.
Latest update on furnace replacement.
Both companies said Oregon weather is not well-suited for heat pumps. The system has to run almost constantly most of the year.
Quotes for a 96% efficient Daikin (80,000 btu, 2 speed blower, gas modulating valve) is $8300. Warranty looks pretty good: 6 yr labor, 12 year parts, lifetime limited on the heat exchanger.
I may spend the money to have the heat exchanger inspected. If it looks good, I will delay the upgrade since we already have a 92%.
Thanks for everyone’s comments.
“Both companies said Oregon weather is not well-suited for heat pumps. The system has to run almost constantly most of the year.”
This has an odor of Pure BS!
If a heat pump has to run all year, then a conventional system has to run all year.
Does your current system run all year?
Question for them: Why would it need to run constantly?
Only answers that would be correct:
Too hot all year, as in year-round temperature of 110 degrees or higher.
Too cold all year, as in year-round temperatures of 20 degrees or lower.
No insulation in the home with significant air infiltration.
I seriously believe any of those 3 are true.
Most likely real answer is they do not want to install one because they would have to learn about them.
If they are giving you this kind of answer, I would look for quotes 3 and 4.
Does that help you?
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This has an odor of Pure BS!
That was my first thought. So I did some google:
How would I rate the heat pump on performance? I saw an immediate change in the way I felt indoors. There are no blasting noises from the air vents anymore. It feels less dry and more comfortable inside the house when the heat pump runs. The heat pump works great in both winter and summer, especially when outside temperatures are mild or moderate, which is typical of western Oregon.
Why Heat Pumps Are Perfect If You Live In Portland, OR
(Yes, this is a heat pump contractor)
Heat Pump vs. Furnace: Which Is Better For My Portland Home?
Is a Heat Pump in the Pacific Northwest a Good Option?
I would keep looking; heat pumps are the most efficient heating and cooling source available in today’s technology.
The only possible issue I see with heat pumps is the physics of how they work. If you’re in a VERY cold area (or very hot area, for cooling), the coils become inefficient transferring heat at the temperature extremes. I wouldn’t think this would apply to Oregon. Maybe Minnesota in the dead of winter.
More of the story -
I spoke with the Jacobs Heating company today. In my opinion, even though the article by Jacobs suggests heat pumps may be good in Portland, I am not convinced yet:
- Oregon code requires a backup furnace (electric or gas) because our climate can get cold enough that the heat pumps can’t keep up.
- Our heating season is October - May and it can be a high of 45 degrees for many weeks on end. The circulation pump and the blower are going to run fairly often (depending on heating demands and our filtration desire) during this period. Estimated electric costs is $1,500/yr.
So, I have the Jacobs technician coming out in July to give me the full story. They carry Carrier furnaces and heat pumps and the technician has a heat pump for his house.
We shall see.
Hmmm. If code requires a backup furnace, I’m not sure it’s worth getting a heat pump. You’d have to compare prices. Of course, an A/C is usually a heat pump that only works in one direction. It may not be that much more to get one that heats and cools.
But code is code. It’s usually there for a good reason.
Oregon code requires a backup furnace (electric or gas) because our climate can get cold enough that the heat pumps can’t keep up.
Heat pumps come with their own “backup”. They have an electric resistance heater (it’s like a ribbon space heater on steroids) which comes on in the event that the heat transfer mechanism of the heat pump fails, or can’t keep up. It requires electricity, obviously.
Then again, so does a gas furnace, because the fan that pushes the heat out of the heat box is electric, and if it doesn’t run the furnace shuts down.
We had a heat pump in Pittsburgh, where the winters were rough. Heck, we had one in Chicago, which is famous for its freezing winters.
It appears to me that you are uncomfortable with the idea because you haven’t had one before. The heat pump was invented in the 1800’s, and have been popular in home for at least 50 years. If you don’t want one, and want to spend more on rising fossil fuel prices that’s OK with me, but if your concern is cost or reliability, then do some more research on heat pumps. They save you money in the long run, and give you an air conditioning option at no extra cost.
Where I live temperatures get to 100 in the summer and well below zero in the winter. I thought heat pumps wouldn’t work in our climate but apparently they’ve gotten a lot better. Our neighbor, who usually seems to know what he’s talking about, just did a major remodel and installed a heat pump. He said it was a no brainer.
Above 100F is no problem. We get to 115F (at least) for a few weeks every summer. It’s not as efficient as when the temperature is 90F, but it works fine. We have a gas furnace for winter, but I know lots of folks have heat pumps, and they work just fine. Granted, our winters are milder (hovering around freezing). I believe they are rated to work as low as -10F. A good A/C company should be able to tell you more. I would call one of them locally.