Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Installing A New Furnace

about three years ago I decided that our furnace which is close to 50 years old was on its last legs and should probably be replaced. I had been watching craigslist, and I came across a nearly new Thermo pride furnace for sale not too far away from here. A friend of mine and I took his pickup truck and drove to the house where the furnace was located, to have a look.

It turns out that the furnace had been installed in a newly constructed house that had never been finished or occupied. The contractor, who had built the house, decided to upgrade the furnace to a heat pump instead of an oil  furnace, and so  this furnace was put up for sale on craigslist. We checked the furnace over very carefully, and it appeared to be an excellent condition, and had been carefully maintained, even though the house had never been occupied. However, the purchaser of the furnace also had to uninstall the furnace and drag it out of the house. The good news about all of that was that by uninstalling it we also got to keep all of the ducting and connections and filters and fuel lines and all of the other bits and pieces required to put the furnace into another house.

It took us a couple of hours and we had it dismantled and loaded into his truck. When we got it home, I put it out in the barn in a dry place knowing that eventually our current furnace was going to need to be replaced. So far this winter, our oil consumption for the furnace in the house has been getting higher and higher each month and it has become obvious that it's time to make the change.

When this house had its furnace set up the interior walls had not yet been framed, so the furnace was put in place and then the furnace room was built around the furnace. This means that the old furnace would not go out through the door to get out of the furnace room to get it out of the way so that we could move the new furnace in. I dismantled the old furnace into separate pieces and was able to get it out of the furnace room one large heavy awkward chunk at a time. The new furnace was of a somewhat different design and it wasn't as long, but it was about a foot taller which is just fine because we could get through the door and all I would need to do is shorten up the overhead ducting a bit and it should work just fine.

For the last two days, I have been working on the furnace project. I have never done any heating or duct work in the past, although I have done repairs to furnace burners.since it is winter time, obviously, I don't want to be without heat in the house for any longer than is absolutely necessary. Yesterday morning I decided that since the weather forecast looked to be relatively mild and  rainy  it would be a good time to swap the furnaces. By last night I had the old furnace out and the new furnace in place, and all that remained was to manufacture different ducting to fit the new furnace to the old duct work, reconnect the wiring, and reconnect the fuel line.

The duct work was challenging but eventually I got it all in place, and it came out even better than I had hoped for. between the parts from the new furnace and the old furnace I had most of everything that I needed to do the conversion. I did buy a new piece of copper fuel line and I had to buy a seven inch to  6 inch adapter for the stovepipe, and a new copper tubing flaring tool.

Today around noon was the big moment. With the fuel line connected, the stove pipe connected, wiring hooked up, the new ducting in place, and the fuel pump purged of air, it was time to throw the switch.  To my great joy it started up immediately and started making heat.

The new furnace should be much more efficient than the old one and should be able to produce the same or more heat from approximately 25% less furnace oil. In the late 50's, when the original furnace was manufactured, and oil was $.30 a gallon, no one was very concerned about furnace efficiency. With furnace oil costs now approaching four dollars per gallon fuel efficiency of an oil furnace is critical.

The furnace has been running for several hours now this afternoon and evening and has been cycling on and off just as it should and as it is directed by the thermostat. A few hours of operation isn't enough time to be sure everything is going to work as it should, but so far, I am optimistic.

Words can barely describe how nice it is to have the heat back on...….

NOTE: A Couple of months ago I purchased an older copy of Dragon naturally speaking version 11. I wanted to give it a try to see how well it would work for blogging. With version 11 running through the soundcard in my computer the accuracy was not very good. I spent a lot of time editing and fixing misspelled words. Nuance,  the company that produces Dragon naturally speaking software had a special price for Christmas on version 12. Version 12 uses a microphone that connects through the USB port rather than through the soundcard. I thought that perhaps the recognition errors could be reduced by not going through the soundcard and directly through the USB port. At least in my situation, the new microphone that comes with version 12 and connecting it through the USB port seems to work very well. This entire post was dictated using Dragon naturally speaking.


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