The Furnace

So this year, my father in law (the gas furnace expert) tells me that he refuses to do the annual inspection/cleaning on our furnace, because he thinks it is dead. If it is dead, he is required (by law) to turn off the gas, so that we don’t foolishly kill ourselves.

So fine, we decided it’s time to replace the furnace. We do the research, find a contractor, and pick a furnace. We decided on a mid-efficiency furnace, because dad-in-law said that (because of drafts in our house and the ductwork) we wouldn’t gain a significant advantage from a high-efficiency furnace. A high-efficiency furnace needs to be vented and exhausted through ABS piping instead of a conventional chimney, increasing the cost.

The installers showed up today…

In 1994, our house was renovated to add a new second floor on top of the front of the house, above what was previously a flat roof. As part of the addition, they had to extend the chimney to clear the new (peaked) roof on the front of the house. (Man, roofs are a pain :-).

Building code at the time required a metal chimney liner, to improve draft, reduce the amount of cruft in the exhaust path, and prevent exhaust fumes from leaking from the chimney into the house. Now this house already had a chimney liner, probably from an older furnace upgrade.

Did they remove the old chimney liner? Of course not. Instead, they removed its cap and built an unlined extension on top of the old chimney. This means the existing liner cannot be removed (removing it requires removing the extension). However, our new furnace cannot be installed without bringing the chimney up to code, which requires a continuous liner in the chimney; installing one means first removing the remains of the old one.

Because the new chimney extension wasn’t properly capped (until the raccoon guy added a mesh screen in spring 2001). So the old liner was half blocked with two dead birds and a whole bunch of sand from the new chimney extension. At least we’ve got that stuff cleared out, so the existing furnace should work a bit better while we ponder our options.

The two options are: 1) high-efficiency (condensing) furnace. 2) repair the chimney. Both options, I guess, require at least another $1000, which (naturally) I don’t have.

Home ownership is fun. Ask me about the whole raccoon story sometime…

posted at 6:28 pm on Monday, October 21, 2002 in General | Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. jok says:

    ABS pipe is cheap. It takes maybe 15 minutes to drill a hole for the thing. I don’t see how it increases the cost very much…

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