Furnace upgrade

What follows are 3 messages posted to the WCP community list:
Greetings All,

We at 956 are contemplating upgrading our heating furnace; the nameplate date of construction on ours is 1983, now over thirty years ago.

We’re interested in hearing if anybody has replaced theirs and what their experience was.

Ours works fine, but we’ve realized that it cycles between full bore on and off, while modern furnaces can be much quieter due to the ability to run at lower fan speeds.

Another issue is improving the air filtering.  We’re very interested if anyone has systematically improved their filtering systems.

The nameplate rating of our unit is 43,000 BTU.   I’ve found the blueprint of our heating arrangement, posted here: http://hep.ucsb.edu/people/hnn/wcp/blueprints/M-5.pdf

There is not a calculation in our blueprints of the heat load needed when we have
a cold day, however.  If anyone has had such a calculation done as part of a furnace upgrade, we’d be very interested in that calculation.

All the best, Audrey & Harry at 956

Hi Folks,
We bought a new Payne furnace about 1.5 yrs ago. I do not suggest you do the same. It is not very efficient (low end of scale), pumps our very dry air, and is excessively noisy. I am sure you could do better for the ~$800 we paid.

Hunter [Lenihan]

It is good to think about this before the furnace fails (in the winter when it’s cold) and you need to buy whatever’s available right away. That’s how we also ended up with a low-end Payne furnace, probably like Hunter’s.

The new furnace is MUCH quieter than the old one it replaced and more powerful and accommodates a 4-inch easily-replaceable filter that is pretty effective by comparison to the old thing. The smaller the particles the filter removes, the more challenge to the air flow, and the more fan noise, so there are choices there. Like the old one, it is “off/on” with no continuing low-speed fan.

The biggest problem we have become aware of is that the duct system–which runs in the soffit in the study and the front hall–is really leaky. In our (3BR) unit, when the furnace is running, you can feel the drafts of warm air coming out around the can lights in the study and the front hall. We need the heat over at the far end of the house (3rd BR and dining area), but much of it doesn’t arrive there. To fix that properly will require opening up the soffits and addressing the cheap plastic flexible ducting and its many loose connections and leaks.

For that job, we’re talking real money and a lot of dust and disruption.

John [Woolley]


About hmarcuse

I've been an environmentalist since my college days in the 1970s (May 1977 Seabrook, New Hampshire occupation) , and am now a professor of German history at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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