My furnace died last night. I was planning on replacing it this spring, now I have to move up the plan.
I have a 30yr old gas. My AC is only seven so it will not be replaced. I will be wanting in the 100K btu range.
I have already gotten 6 estimates and will be getting two more tomarrow.
What brands/units would be recomended?
What problems have you had?
Any input would be appreciated. Thanks
If you can, get a thermo pride lifetime warranty on heat exchanger.Do not just get a furnace swapped out get duct work analized for leaks and get repair estimate.Most homes leak at least 3 to 400 cfm from duct work.400 cfm= 1 ton of a/c.With gas so high you want all of the conditioned air in the house.
I got a Trane 80% gas furnace. It has electronic ignition. Combined with the Trane AC system, I'm comfortable year round. The price isn't that bad for a complete replacement (around $3,500)
my house has the Bryant Evolution Series which is a 90% furnane. Plus the controller is sweet looking.
Amana 2 Stage w/ECM blower 96% Efficient qualifies for federal tax credits
10 year warranty parts & labor
Lifetime unit replacement on heat exchanger
Best Furnace Built
What is the s.f. of your house 100,000 BTU seems large for West Virgina,
Something with two stage heating and variable blower. Carrier is rated pretty good and seems to be pretty quiet. Bryant is a rebadged carrier. Trane and American standard are the same company (they all do this - one is aftermarket, the other is for direct sale to the homebuilders). Same thing, different badge.
Really just decide the features and efficiency you want and then match up to what brand offers what.
recommend you read here -
and especially -
for an explanation of induction vs conventional vs. condensing furnaces
I worked in the HVAC field for 5 yrs, get the trane or American standard. Carrier stuff always seemed built cheaper had lots of brand new systems that had issues right out of the gate. All of our installers bought Trane for personal use. IMO
Buy one that is carried and serviced by a reputable dealer in your area. There is not much difference between low, mid and high end makes. Buy a lower priced model from any of the makes and you get about the same features. Buy a high end and it's the same thing. The warrenty length will tell you quite a bit, as companies have it figured out pretty well. They WILL get you tho as most will require a checkup every year to keep it valid.
There are the bigger makers like trane, carrier, amana [in some areas] Bryant, and such. Heat controller makes a lot of the "smaller" names in my area. They are almost the same exact furnace with just a few mods and paint scheme.
Like I said, buy what is serviced in your area, I've had to order bastard parts from all the way across the country special order because someone got a "deal" on a goofball name. Usually its $$$$ and will take several days at least to get something like a combustion motor for them. Not good when it's 10F outside. Also try to find people who have had experience with the installer and will vouch for their work. I see more then a few crappy installs in my line of work.
Chances are you will HAVE to buy a 90% as it will probably be required. In actuality I can buy a 80% for about $500 and a 90% for $800. Thats dealer cost on a middie model. Install will of course cost $$$. You DO have room to dicker on the price but you are a bit screwed as it's winter and most dealers have you by the BLUE ba-ls and they know it. They will probably sell a $800 furnace for around 12-1500+500 to $1000 to take out the old and install the new one.
Always sucks to replace a furnace in the winter, especially when you probably knew that you were living on borrowed time. Exactly what died on your furnace? Heat exchanger? Or can it be fixed but is not cost effective? Anything but the heat exchanger can be replaced usually.
about 1500 sf
Thats what size was in originally
+ I have 4 sliding glass doors and 4 big picture windows.
I have plans to replace the sliding doors with French doors once I have the extra cash.
I would guess the burner box cracked. when the blower kicks on the flames in one corner are pushed out under the guard and into the electrical area. Thankfully when they burned up the wiring the furnace shut down.
I can go with an 80% here, it would be a direct replacement but with the price of gas I would like to go to 90+ if I can afford it.
thanks for all the help and the web links they are good info.
tomarrow I have the trane and carrier dealers coming to give an estimate.
so far the cheapest was 1600 but it was for a goodman 80%. not sure of their quality.
again thanks for the help.
It hit 15 last night, however I have a fireplace with an insert that has a blower. after the furnace died about 10pm last night I just lit the fire. with the blower and the ceiling fans I was able to keep the house between 68-75 all night. only problem is I had to stay up and feed the dang thing.
If the worst comes, I also have a freestanding stove downstairs in the garage. so heating only becomes inconvieniant.
I agree with the prevailing thought and will prob. get a brand name do to repair service.
BTW - 3 good websites to research furnaces
Updated February 2005 - consumerreports.com
It's hard to perform comparative tests of furnaces, since reviews say their effectiveness depends on climate, home size, insulation, window condition and even occupants' habits. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) provide concise efficiency data on specific brands. Another excellent resource is the Gas Appliance Manufacturer Association, which offers consumers a detailed worksheet for estimating what size furnace you need and how much you can save by going with a more energy efficient model based on where you live and your home's configuration. See our Best Research section below for links to these sources.
Consumer Reports magazine offers a comparison of furnaces based on rate of repair culled from a survey of 36,000 homeowners. Syndicated columnist and engineer James Dulley makes more specific recommendations on his Web site. We also found Web sites such as ThatHomeSite.com and HVAC-Talk.com to be helpful. Homeowners, contractors and furnace repair professionals frequent these forums, and we found helpful advice here on choosing a contractor as well as anecdotal recommendations for various furnaces.
In reviews, experts say that proper sizing, a reputable contractor and a long warranty are more important than the specific brand you choose. However, we found evidence in review literature from experts and homeowners suggesting that Goodman furnaces may not be the most reliable brand, or may be less reliable in the long run than brands such as Trane, Rheem and Bryant. Goodman also makes Janitrol and Amana brands. In owner surveys and forums, over half of furnace problems for Goodman products involved complete failure rather than a less catastrophic issue. Editors at Consumer Reports say that in general, most owners had problems with the furnace unit itself rather than installation issues, suggesting that choosing a more reliable brand in conjunction with a reputable contractor can help stack the deck against future furnace problems. We'll keep a watch on Goodman, Janitrol, and Amana ratings in the future to see if repair issues clear up.
>> Furnaces prices
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The EPA requires furnaces to have at least a 78% AFUE (annual fuel-utilization rating). This means that a minimum of 78% of the fuel consumed is directly converted to heat your home. The rest escapes through the flue, literally up the chimney. Currently, the most efficient furnaces you can buy have a 97% AFUE. If your furnace is more than fifteen years old, it probably has an AFUE of only 65%, so it's easy to see how improvements in energy conservation can have a direct impact on your fuel bill.
Expert posters to the HVAC-Talk forum acknowledge the importance of the AFUE rating in determining fuel consumption, but stress that contractor experience and warranty length are equally important. A high AFUE rating does not promise quality or satisfaction with the product after the furnace is installed.
James Dulley's latest report highlights the advantages of the new super-efficient condensing gas furnaces which range from 92% to 96% AFUE. Dulley highlights four two-stage units, including the Trane XV 90 (AFUE 93%), Tempstar SmartComfort VS 90 (AFUE 92.1%), Bryant Plus 90i (AFUE 96.6%) and Rheem/Rhuud Classic 90 Plus (AFUE 94.3%). According to Dulley, the additional cost to these units is offset by the decrease in heating bills which, when multiplied by the expected life of the furnace, can be quite a substantial savings. At the same time, units with over a 90% efficiency rating are a good choice mostly for those who live in areas with severe winters. That's because these models can cost $1,000 more than more mainstream 80% gas furnaces, and higher usage in cold climates means you'll be able to make the investment pay off in the long run with decreased fuel bills. Again, you'll need to ask a contractor to calculate expected energy costs in order to determine if the higher cost of a 90% unit will be worth it.
Carrier/Bryant is the most recommended name in the HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling) business; reviewers say the Bryant Plus 90i series (also sold as the Carrier WeatherMaker Infinity 96 series) is the best choice among super-high-efficiency gas furnaces. Columnist James Dulley praises this unit's heat/blower controls, and according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Infinity series delivers high AFUE ratings (94.1% to 96.6%) for the least amount of electricity consumption (105 to 258 kilowatts per year). Armstrong makes a similar 95% gas furnace with an excellent repair record. If your contractor offers the choice, the Armstrong unit may be a couple hundred dollars cheaper.
The latest technology in super high-efficiency two-stage burners is the modulating variable burner offered by the Rheem Classic 90 Plus with Comfort Control (*est. installed cost $3,000) . The modulating furnace varies fan speed and heat automatically at the selected temperature within a variance of .5 of a degree. Conventional furnaces are either 100% on or 100% off, resulting in a temperature variation of around five degrees between cycling on and off. The Rheem, however, varies its blower power to maintain a more consistent air temperature with less power-consuming on/off cycling. James Dulley recommends the Rheem over all the other furnaces as providing the best comfort and efficiency. The downside, of course, is the price. The savings on lower utility bills may not be enough to justify the expense of the furnace plus installation if you live in a climate with only moderate winters.
Higher efficiency rates mean lower energy bills, but 90% gas furnaces can cost $1,000 more than 80% models. If you live in an area with harsh winters, such as the Midwest or Northeast, you'll eventually recoup this additional cost in fuel-bill savings. However, if you live in an area with milder winters, reviews say say an 80% AFUE furnace may be more cost efficient in the long run. The Trane XL80 Series (*est. installed cost $1,800) features a two-stage burner and two-speed blower, features that experts say help furnaces run with fewer on-off cycles, which makes for less wear and tear. The Trane comes in twelve heat-capacity sizes (twice as many as other brands) to more closely match your home's heating demands. Plus, Trane is one of the least repair-prone furnace brands.
The majority of households use natural gas fuel for furnaces, but if you live in an area where natural gas is not available, an energy-efficient oil-burning furnace is an option. Though there are a small handful of 95% oil furnaces on the market, the majority of oil furnaces aren't capable of the super-high AFUE rates that gas furnaces have achieved; 87% is typically the highest rating you'll find, and oil furnaces also have higher electrical demands. But installing an 86% AFUE oil furnace to replace an old 60% AFUE furnace will still save fuel costs. There's no consensus among reviewers in the oil furnace category, but ACEEE's efficiency ratings lead us to models by Thermo Products, which have high AFUE ratings coupled with the lower electrical costs.
For most people, furnace installation is not a do-it-yourself project. The average consumer can't even purchase a furnace; you must be a licensed HVAC technician to buy heating and cooling equipment through a distributor. The first step in buying a new furnace is choosing the contractor who'll install it; only then will you have some decisions to make regarding brands and features. Contractors generally associate themselves with two or three brands, a relationship that is ideally based on the quality and reliability of the product, but may also involve manufacturer incentives like cruises or cash rebates.
Experts say you should solicit estimates from three contractors, who should come to your house to inspect your current system, including insulation and vent configuration. Contractors determine the amount of BTUs (British Thermal Units) your home will need by completing a Manual J Spreadsheet. This calculation takes into account the size of your home and its condition, as well as the climate where you live. The resulting figure (usually between 25,000 and 150,000 BTUs) determines the furnace size. This is important, since an undersized furnace will not heat properly, and an oversized furnace, "besides raising purchase cost, will result in weaker energy efficiency due to excessive on-off cycling," according to the Department of Energy.
Here are some features and considerations experts say to think about when choosing a gas or oil furnace, assuming that the contractor has determined the correct size for your house.
Super High Efficiency or 80%? If you live in an area with harsh winters, you should recoup the additional expense of super-high-efficiency (90%+) furnaces over the unit's lifetime. But if your winters are more temperate, you may be better off with an 80% model. If you're unsure, have your contractor calculate fuel costs for both kinds of furnace, using your current bills; then you can tell if future fuel savings justify the additional $1,000 for a 90% furnace. Some experts claim that 90% furnaces need more servicing, since they have more complicated mechanisms, but others say this is just because the technology is new.
Repair or Replace? Most reviewers agree that it's generally more cost effective to repair your existing furnace than to replace it, but if the heat exchanger or control module gives out, you should look at a new unit. This is especially true if your furnace is more than fifteen to twenty years old.
Two-stage burners and blowers are among the best features of this generation's furnaces. During milder weather, the furnace runs at a slower speed with less heat output, then kicks into high gear when the temperature drops. This is more energy efficient and saves on wear and tear, since the furnace isn't always cycling on and off. Two-stage furnaces are also quieter, since they're not always running on high.
Think about your air conditioner. If you plan to install or replace central air within the next couple of years, be sure to tell your contractor; he'll be able to recommend a furnace that's compatible with a future air conditioner. In some cases, you might want to put in air conditioning simultaneously with a furnace, since installation costs will be cheaper than if you did both projects separately.
A digital thermostat can cut heating bills another 10% by maintaining more accurate temperature control. Programmable thermostats can keep the house at a lower temperature when you're not home or at night.
Because of the currently tightly regulated market, getting a quality furnace is much easier. Getting the right contractor may be more difficult. Experts stress again and again the importance of taking your time to find a good HVAC professional. The best way to start is to ask friends and neighbors for references, ask your utility company for recommendations, or start in the phone book. Contractors should be licensed and have appropriate insurance, liability and workman's comp paperwork. You will need a permit before work is started, and most contractors will procure this for you.
Our Consensus Report shows how many times products are top-ranked by reviewers included in our All The Reviews Reviewed chart.
# of Picks Gas Furnaces
Super High Efficiency Models
Carrier WeatherMaker Infinity 58MVP (also Bryant Plus 90i355MAV)
1 each Carrier/Bryant, Armstrong GU95 series, Armstrong Ultra SX95, Amana Air Command 90, Lennox GSR 21 series, Rheem/Rhuud single stage
# of Picks Gas Furnaces
80% Efficiency Models
2 Trane XL80 series
1 each Amana 80 SSE Series, York
# of Picks Oil Furnaces
1 each Adams AHEO/ASHEO Series, Bard FH085, Olsen BCL/BFL 120 Series, Thermo OH series, Williamson Temp-O-Matic T167-10A Series
* Also see our Comparison Chart.
Aside from Carrier/Bryant and Trane, there's little consensus among reviewers about specific models, but experts are quick to say that there are no real clunkers out there. Nevertheless, Goodman gets the worst marks among furnace installers and repairmen who post to HVAC-Talk, an online consumer forum. Professionals blame this on craftsmanship and an unfriendly design, making them more difficult to service.
Consumer feedback at ThatHomeSite.com provides some additional clues as to manufacturer issues. Lennox units have been reported as having problems with their flame sensors, and some contributors complain they need to have them replaced every 2 to 5 years. Another homeowner replaced her old Lennox furnace with a Carrier Infinity 96 variable speed furnace and found that her inside temperature remained stable for the first time in 45 years. While Carrier furnaces get high marks, some consumers have reported issues with frequent pilot starts and stops. A homeowner with three York furnaces reports that her furnaces always stay on, even when the thermostat is at her set point of 75 degrees. These examples underscore the importance of the service contract and the quality of installation when making a purchasing decision, regardless of the name brand and reputation of the manufacturer.
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Although the majority of homes use either gas- or oil-fueled forced air furnaces, there are some exceptions.
Many older homes are equipped with boilers, which use water to circulate heat instead of a blower. Boilers are no longer the huge mass of iron you might remember, and new models are as energy efficient as furnaces. Many people prefer the heat produced by boilers, which makes a whole house feel warm by maintaining consistent temperature. Boilers can also control your hot-water heater. Boilers are either gas or oil fueled. For more information, see James Dulley's articles on energy-efficient boilers (http://www.dulley.com).
Heat pumps are popular in Southern states where winters are very mild. In the summer, they work like air conditioners, pulling heat from inside the house and forcing it outside. In the winter, it works in reverse, gathering heat from outside and distributing it through the house. Heat pumps have an electrically powered backup for especially cold days. Heat pumps are less expensive than furnace/air conditioner combinations, but are not appropriate for areas where the temperature drops below 35 degrees.
Eco-friendly geothermal heating is a kind of heat pump. Instead of pulling heat from air, pipes are buried underground to pull heat from the earth. Geothermal heating is most cost effective when installed with a new home. Solar heating uses panels to collect energy from the sun and convert it into heat. More information on both of these types of heating can be found at WarmAir.com (http://www.warmair.com).
There are many good articles on the Web about new energy-efficient furnaces, in addition to those found in our All The Reviews Reviewed Chart.
Energy Savers describes different kinds of heating and provides troubleshooting tips at http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/housing/energy-savers/heatcool.html.
The Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov/) provides conservation information and designates furnace models for its Energy Star designation.
The Gas Appliances Manufacturers' Association (GAMA) has tool that consumers can use to estimate their annual heating requirements and compare the operating costs of different models: http://www.gamanet.org/gama/inforesources.nsf/vContentEntries/Product+Directories?OpenDocument
Wow and many thanks that was a very good read.
I have been looking at things off and on tonight and it looks like name brand is definetly the way to go.
I've had Trane and Bryant in my current and last homes and couldn't have been happier... Way better than the Reet or A/S that was in each and died within 3 years of moving in... All told, if I had to upgrade or install new, I'd probably go with Bryant... In fact, I'm planning to cash this place out in the next 3 years and build new on some land I acquired, Bryant is at the top of my list for the HVAC.
ETA: I'd imagine in WV, your climate is similar to mine... If I was a little further south, where a heat pump might make more sense, I'd be leaning toward Trane, which is what I plan to go with at my shore home when I renovate this Spring. (Less than 28 days per year at, near, or below freezing there... and space is a premium.)
I had thought about a heat pump but the cost is prohibative right now and I think the average temp is a little cold here for one to get the full effect.
Seems like trane has a pretty good rep. that nice to know thanks
Yea, but from what I understand, the air from heatpumps isn't even lukewarm unless the gas kicks in and that only happens on really cold days. Plus I was told it leaves cold spots all over the house. I dunno. I'm researching a new furnace and A/C myself right now. Unfortunately, there's a lot of jargon and nothing seems cut and dry.
Lennox makes excellent furnaces and are well worth checking out.
We replaced a 43 year old Lennox furnace a couple years back with a www.lennox.com/ G61Efficiency rating 94.1% AFUE furnace and love it.
Have friends that work in the Lennox plant bulding furnaces (my home town & John Norris Sr was a good friend & we had the run of his home) and without a doubt Lennox furnaces are the best on the market.
+1 on Lennox, but I am pretty biased a good portion of my family works for them in Dallas and Marshalltown.
Me from M-town & still have family living there & have been thinking about moving back one of these days. Grew up in John Sr's home, house sitting for them while they were on vacation & swimming/using the shop any time we wanted. You would never have known they were worth big bucks ifin ya did not know them they were such down to earth good people.
Guess I'm just a tad biased as well eh
Just a couple of questions for you.
Who sized the furnace for you ? For a 2K sq Ft up here in the northlands a 60-70K BTU furnace is more than sufficient. BTW there is no such thing as a 96% efficient furnace, 93% is the highest any of the high end Mans such as Trane, Lennox, Carrier to name a few have achieved. Due to slack industry standards a few have slipped in under the ratings standards and I would be hard pressed to question the TRUE efficiency if it were over 93%. FYI a furnace actually runs more efficient the longer it runs. I will explain that later.
There are three main components that will make any furnace inoperable, two are easy fixes, circuit board and gas valve if you can operate a computer you can fix either, the last is the heat exchanger = furnace replacement. Have a sevice tech come out to you'r house for $80.00 and diagnose the problem for you, if it an easy fix it shouldn't cost more than an extra $100.00 for parts. Which of the three is it?
The more times a furnace starts and cools down the more wear and tear it takes, it is called a cycle in HVAC terms. The reason a furnace is more efficient when it runs longer between cyles is becouse it does not have the initial start up as often ( Try this sometime, open the front door of you'r cabinet of the furnace when it is not running and have someone turn the thermostat up a few degrees, the burner will kick in on max but the fan will not run for roughly 30 secs, all that energy is going outside and is wasted during initial startup VS. a furnace that runs longer and starts up less often) If a furnace is over sized it will cycle allmost twice as often to keep constant temp. like putting a 750 holly carb in a Geo Metro in laymans terms, the higher the BTU the more gas it takes and is wasted.
OK - well just for giggles, here are the 2 quotes I got (I'm in Northern Virginia)
home about 2400 sq ft. total - basement and 2 floors
Trane - 100K BTU Furnace and 14/15 SEER A/C
A/C - XL14 T4TWX4036B1000A - 14-15 SEER (price not broken out)
Coil - TRXCO3753HPD (price not broken out)
Gas Furnace - XV80TTUD100RV5K, 80 AFUE, 100K BTU (price not broken out)
Thermostat - TCONT802 ($199)
Humidifier - Trane 500 ($595)
Total Parts and Labor (ductwork matching, etc) and hauling away the old Arcoaire POS - $6967
Warranty 10 years Compressor Coil, Coil, Condesor Coil, Parts - 10 years, Heat exchanger -20 years, labor 2 years
Carrier - 110K BTU furnace and 13-14 SEER A/C (no prices broken out)
Gas Furnace - 58CVA110-16 - 110K BTU, 80 AFUE
Coil - 3 Tons CDP5AXW036
A/C - 38TXA036 - 13-14 SEER
Humidifier - Carrier Bypass 18 or Power 16 ($495)
Total Parts and Labor (ductwork matching, etc) and hauling away the old Arcoaire POS - $6990
Warranty 5-year on all parts, 10 on compressor, 20 on heat exchanger, one year on labor.
I'm probably gonna get a second estimate for each brand and 1 for Lennox and then jump. I've heard it pays to wait until March-April b/c this is when manufacturers announce rebates b/c it's slow season.
After inspection the heat exchanger is bad. even the rear of the burners are rusted and split just to much age on the furnace. Have to replace.
Lennox is not to prevelent around here seems like carrier and trane are the most common name brands. there is one other name brand but due to several bad complaints and poor service I will not look at that brand.
My best two quotes so far are:
Carrier 92%, 2250 installed
Trane 92%, 2575 installed
That is with no extras and both are the middle of the road models nothing to fancy but not the base model either.
Both from a reputable long lived company.
Thanks for the input.
Actually both of you have some wrong information. I have a heatpump and since WV borders KY you have similar weather. There are two ways to get the auxillary heat for a heat pump, one is gas as one stated the other is electric. Since WV is even more involved with coal than KY your electric rates should be just as cheap as ours. Electric is dirt cheap here in KY so a heat pump even with the ineffecient electric backup heat is still going to be much cheaper than gas.
As for the average temp, it is true the lower the temp the less efficent the heat pump is. But get this, my gas bill for the winter months even with the heat pump running is always 3 to 4 times more than my total electric! So this year I yanked the gas furnace wire off my thermostat so that only the heatpump will run. It's gotten down to 20 degrees and I have gotten by with just heat pump. Now that said, at that temperature and no backup the heat pump can't keep the house at a constant temp it drops about 1/2 a degree an hour. So I've plugged in one of those oil filled electric heaters in the bedroom and it keeps a constant temperature in there.
Now the air from a heat pump isn't hot like from a furnace but it is luke warm. I have an electric air cleaner on my system so I leave my blower fan on 100% of the time. My house is 100 years old with huge single pane windows and doors that leak by running my blower all the time I have no noticable cold spots in the house other than the NE bedroom that has a huge picture window and 2 1/2 exterior walls. In fact my house stays very warm and comfortable most of the time with the heat pump.
Looking at the price you would pay for the furnace I don't see how you can say the heat pump would be cost prohibative right now. I had a heatpump installed for my 1,500sqft house, a new coil installed, my duct work moved and all new ducts installed, an electronic air cleaner installed, and a humidifier installed for $4,000. The duct work was $1,200. Which means the rest of that was done for $2,800 which is what you will pay for a furnace.
I would highly recommend you get a couple quotes on a heat pump with electric backup. I ended up putting in a Luxair brand. It is locally serviced and came with a 10 year parts and labor warranty.
wow that is a good price. thanks, I may have to check into that.