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Advice On Furnaces...Anyone Have A Clue


Calm

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So our gas furnace is about 20 years old and the fan just blew out on it and damaged the motor, costing us $900 to repair.

They are pushing us to replace it with a new furnace (will count the $900 towards the total cost) but my husband says as long as there aren't cracks in the heat exchanger, the furnace can last forever.

What I've been reading online disagrees with him, but am wondering if that is only because I am biased due to worrying about my daughter worrying since she lives in the basement and is the one that tells us whenever anything goes wrong (three floods and now this) or if all the sites are prochanging because they are looking to make money.

Anyone has experience in this area that can help? This kind of decision makes me sick to my stomach even if we have a reserve for it.

Edited by calmoriah
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Your husband is partially right. Cracks in the heat exchanger are a major malfunction and if not fixed or replaced can lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. But the efficiency of your heater declines with age, and as newer more efficient designs come out it costs relatively more to heat the same space. Also ducting over the years has gotten bigger/less restricting in allowing more heated air to circulate easier. You probably want to work out the cost/benefits of upgrading your system.

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What he said. The difference in efficiency between your current furnace and a modern one can be as high as an extra 20%. Mind you, the cost of the furnace rises very quickly as its efficiency increases.

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My hubby echoed what has already been said. Though he also said that you could call around and probably get a motor a lot cheaper than what they are quoting you.

Good luck!

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Move to San Diego. You can live without a heater. :yahoo:

Although I'm Utah Born and Bred , and one of those D*** Utah Mormons , since I served my mission in lovely San Diego, I have to echo Brother Beesley's sentiments. ;):)

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Your community probably has rebates for far more energy efficient furnaces, which will reduce your energy needs and improve safety. The decision should not just be made on whether this furnace will last longer. If you research it is highly likely that you will find yourself persuaded to update your heating system (and it may not even cost you that much more, with state, local and federal energy rebates and credits).

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Move to San Diego. You can live without a heater. :yahoo:

But then you have to get a really good AC for things like the heat wave that Cali this week =p.

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I dunno Cal... to me safety is the important factor, plus increased efficiency... my heating system is also about 20 years old, and though there's nothing actually wrong with it, I'm looking at replacing it this next year... my water heater also needs replacing because it's "time."

GG

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Thanks for the input, we got the AC going again now that the fan is fixed so we can move beyond to the two rooms with backup AC and the basement. And we have three weeks to decide what we want to do. We plan on moving in about 10 years, so it might be a selling point to wait a few more years in order to have a 'newer' furnace, especially since it appears the tech upgrades every couple of years.

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...

Anyone has experience in this area that can help? This kind of decision makes me sick to my stomach even if we have a reserve for it.

We replaced our furnace back in 2006, the original was from 1971, so they do last a long time. There wasn't anything exactly wrong with the old one, it was just inefficient and was showing signs of its age, and requiring more repairs, so before we had to make a major repair we replaced it. The gas bill was cut by a quarter right away, and the new furnace is much more efficient.

That said, my mom's furnace is even older yet and massive, built with the house originally before 1960. I agree with your husband....

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But then you have to get a really good AC for things like the heat wave that Cali this week =p.

I think I've turned on my AC twice this year. Temperature got up to 79 and I'm used to 75 year round! :D

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Heat the house with a woodburning stove, and use electric heaters in selected locations. We have been without a furnace for over six years. We get the ward to help us with cutting and splitting wood. Makes a nice service project.

But we live in the South.

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I think I've turned on my AC twice this year. Temperature got up to 79 and I'm used to 75 year round! :D

It is 92 outside. I've entered the "I hate Utah" season (which generally lasts from mid June to mid Sept with occasional "I love Utah at night" moments). Edited by calmoriah
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Heat the house with a woodburning stove, and use electric heaters in selected locations. We have been without a furnace for over six years. We get the ward to help us with cutting and splitting wood. Makes a nice service project.

We have a gas stove and when the power goes out, keep the house relatively warm with putting pans of water on the stove. And have an portable electric heater for over the garage as the insulation is really poor there so we probably could live without a furnace during winter. I even sleep with the windows open almost all winter long anyway. However, it is the furnace fan that circulates the air inside the house that went out and that I can't live without during summer...I would literally be nauseated almost 24/7...luckily I did have my bedroom unit and just stayed in there until it got up and running again.
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I think I've turned on my AC twice this year. Temperature got up to 79 and I'm used to 75 year round! :D

I haven't even had air conditioning since 1977 when we moved to San Fran, and now up here on the Oregon coast... people inland do need to have air conditioning.

GG

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