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Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/Oil-fired warm air furnace 35 yr old

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Question
Hi Joe,
I live in Atlantic Canada, where the winters are long and very cold. I bought a small older home in 2007 with a 30-year-old oil furnace. The main heating appliance is a newish air tight wood-burning fireplace insert, and the oil furnace is a back-up. Three years ago, during the annual servicing, the furnace technician reported I needed a new nozzle on the burner in the furnace. Turned out they are no longer available. So he replaced the entire burner with a second hand one, under my warranty contract.

Since he retired last year, I now have a different service technician, who just reported my furnace has the wrong burner installed and it is therefore burning inefficiently and dirty. He recommended either a new "universal fit" burner or an entirely new (high efficiency) furnace. The "universal fit" (or adjustable) burner option was never mentioned to me before this, and I think he said that would cost about $1,000 installed, and a new 85% efficient condensing oil furnace about $4,000 installed.

Since I'm on a tight budget, and hope to be able to afford to retire in just a few years, I'm wondering what course of action to take. Does the above information sound plausible, or should I get another technician to have a look at my furnace, just to be sure? (each servicing is about $100).

Appreciate your time.

Linda

Answer
Linda,

I would not put any more money in a 35 year old furnace , I'm not 100 % sold on condensing oil furnaces , they have been around since the 80's with Yukon ultimate EX-95 being the first . Yukon  stopped producing condensing furnaces , what does that tell you. Condensing gas furnaces are a different story . I find it hard to believe this company calls a 85 % condensing oil furnace high efficient as typically anything above 92 + is high efficient . A standard oil furnace using metal flue pipe and a chimney  are anywhere from 83-86 % efficient and are more cheaper and more reliable , condensing oil furnaces are more complicated and are harder to set up and chances of lockout will be higher than a standard oil furnace design that has been around for many many decades. I would get a quote for a typical oil furnace of 84- 86 % . If you plan on living there a few years , getting manufactures warranty and a labor warranty from the installing contractor . What you describe as a condensing furnace may actually be a standard furnace using a power vent system for the flue ( not needing a chimney ) which sounds more like what they are describing when they say 85 % efficient . If that is what they are proposing that would be fine. Post the brand and model number of what they propose

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Joe

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40+ years diversified experience.An HVAC/Refrigeration Self Employed Contractor since 1986. NATE Certifield. Answer questions pertaining to Residential and Commercial Air Conditioning , Warm Air Heating, Heat Pump systems.Mechanical and Electrical troubleshooting of these systems.Be as detailed as possible when describing problem.Packaged unit or split systems.No appliance questions.

Experience

Installation and Troubleshooting, Mechanical and Electrical, in following areas, Refrigeration ( Walk In and Reach In Coolers and Freezers ) Commercial Roof Top and Packaged Heating/Cooling ( Natural Gas,Propane, Electric, and Heat Pumps ) Computer Room Air Conditoning Systems,Commercial Residential Packaged and Split Systems Air Conditoning and Heat Pumps.Warm Air Oil , Natural and Propane Gas Heating systems.

Education/Credentials
Graduated from Private Technical School in 1975. An HVAC/Refrigeration Contractor . Have Unlimited Heating/Piping and Cooling Contractor License.Limited Sheetmetal Contractors License.NATE Certifield. York Certifield Master Heat Pump Technician 1986. Served 33 years combination Active Duty Air Force , Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard in the HVAC/Refrigeration Shop/Mechanical Shop. Troubleshooting/Installing HVAC/Refrigeration Equiptment Worldwide. Retiring in 2003 as a Senior NCO ,and a Mechanical Superintendent.

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