Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Heating System - Time to Replace The Furnace!

A while back the furnace decided to stop functioning, thankfully timing it's failure in early April, so we didn't have to run out and buy a replacement. Two of those nice oil filled radiators, a spiffy quartz heater, and a reclaimed 1500 watt convection heater did the trick to keep the house warm enough til summer arrived. Now winter is coming up, and I am making the final decision on what to install! It turns out even though the Feds canned the Eco-Energy rebate program without warning (vote conservative if you like being screwed - thanks Steve!), the Provincial government has kept their grants in place, so I have an 'Eco-Energy Audit' scheduled for this week, and next week the new furnace should go in.

Interestingly, the existing furnace is (was) a Carrier Weathermaker SX high efficiency condensing gas furnace (92% AFUE) with a whopping 122,000 BTU output. I know enough about furnaces (which is just enough) to realize that 122 k BTU is huge, and considering that even on the coldest days the beast could pull the house up from its setback of 60 deg F to 69 deg F within an hour, and then maintain that running 20 minutes every hour, it seems there was no lack of capacity!

The owner of one of the companies I contacted laughed, and said 120 thou was fine for some of the larger older homes in Stratford, like the 5 and 6 bed mansions that run 5000 square feet or more, but the Field House is 2900 sf, plus 400 sf of sunroom and mudroom, which we tend to restrict the heat to in the winter. He suggested 90,000 BTU as he has installed that size in a number of similar size and age homes with great results. The previous owners of the house left the mudroom and sunroom doors open all year, and if they heated the place to the low 'seventies, the furnace may have got the occasional solid workout!

It looks like a choice between Ida Red Apples and Ida Red Apples, as I mull over the inconsequential differences between a Ruud high efficiency (95%) two stage burner condensing gas furnace with variable speed DC blower fan motor, and a Lennox high efficiency (95%) two stage burner condensing gas furnace with variable speed DC blower fan motor, either of which will set me back around $4000, less roughly $450 in net rebates after the audit is paid for.