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Hi Everyone,

My furnace has had a leaking collector box which has gone a very long time undetected. Mainly because of me being too cheap to have it inspected regularly. Anyways, the corrosion caused the blower to stop working, and the heat exchanger is rusted. Basically, I need a new furnace. I'm going to get some second opinions, but does anyone have advice on dealing with furnace companies, or know what a reasonable cost of replacement is? Sounds like it could be around $4500. Is that normal?

Thanks!
 

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Or a bit more now (maybe as high as $6k?) with the high efficiency furnaces which have more technology and will need new ABS venting to the sidewall exterior (no longer using the existing metal chimney venting). The extra cost for venting will depend on the complexity of the run to an outside wall.

Also, depending on whether one has a single, or double zone house.... and a 2 or 3 floor home, it can make sense to have a 2 stage blower, one for low speed continuous flow to better equalize hot and cold spots, and the high speed for when the heat and/or AC is blowing. When we replace our mid-efficiency furnace in the next 3-5 years, it will definitely have a 2 stage blower for increased comfort.
 

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Look for a DC motor on the new unit. Not sure if they’re standard yet, but should save money vs. A traditional AC motor.

and get the most efficient unit you can…..gas prices appear to be heading North quickly.

may want to consider a hybrid gas/heat pump model. Will probably run around 10k though but the savings in the shoulder months (Oct,Nov, March, April) will be substantial.
 

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We replaced both furnaces in our old house. I called Arpi's (Calgary) first for an estimate as they always did the service. Then I noticed Costco did this. So guess who Costco sent...Arpi's...a different division. Same furnace, same company, was $500 per unit less through Costco than it was through Arpi's direct. Guess who I went with?

Plus the Costco rebates of course.
 

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Did ours about 10 years ago, it was 2600 for a 92% AFUE single stage 60k BTU condensing furnace including the 20' runs for the PVC intake/exhaust pipes. The PVC venting adds about 2 hours to the job and maybe $150 in material. This price is still fair today as prices have not gone up much. In retrospect, I would spend the extra money to get a 2 stage and variable speed blower for the extra comfort, quietness and efficiency.($700-1000). More things to go wrong though. I believe Fortis gas has a 1,000 rebate right now. Here's some info on furnace efficiency:
How Gas Furnaces Became More Efficient | Bob Mims Heating & Air Conditioning

Our usage dropped from 120GJ to 45GJ after the upgrade but we also replaced the windows and upgraded some insulation. If your house is poorly insulated or has significant air leakage, you may save more energy by fixing these issues than a more efficient furnace. Carbon tax will will go up to about $9 from the current $2.31/GJ by 2030.

If you want to really save a bundle buy a used mid-eff furnace for ~ $300 (loads on FB marketplace, Craigslist) and have an HVAV tech install it. I did this in my garage - total cost was $450! Still running fine after 8 years or so.

Having said that, natural gas is being phased out for greener technologies like heat pumps. (178) Heat Pumps: the Future of Home Heating - YouTube

There's quite a few rebates for converting to Heat pumps, both provincially and federally adding up to 11k in some cases
Canada Greener Homes Grant (nrcan.gc.ca)
Heat pump rebates for fuel switching (bchydro.com)
Heat pump info packages to share - Google Drive

Expect to pay 3-4x as much for installation vs a gas furnace. Also, they are not as efficient in colder climates
 

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Heat pumps are not much good for temps very far below zero. At -10,-20 or -30 it would never shut off and your electricity bill would skyrocket. i have mine set to switch to gas at 0C. Gas and hydro electric bill is about equal for the year.
 

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Save your money and go with a properly sized single stage furnace. Two stage furnaces can be very expensive to repair. From my experience they don't save you money and they are not more comfortable. When my furnace kicks the bucket I will be replacing it with a single stage furnace. I have both types in one building and we get more complaints in the section of the home serviced by the two stage furnace. Electricity costs are also quite a bit higher on my 2 stage furnace.

Do some research and talk to some reputable HVAC techs that have been in the business for 30-40yrs.
 

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Sounds like it could be around $4500. Is that normal?
In Ukraine my parents house has two furnaces connected parallel to water circulating heating system.
one runs on natural gas around $600 plus installation, and the second one can run of wood or coal around $800 plus installing. Run either one, which ever is cheaper or more convenient. Working for over ten years now, without any problems.
Prices are current, just checked.
 

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In Ukraine my parents house has two furnaces connected parallel to water circulating heating system.
one runs on natural gas around $600 plus installation, and the second one can run of wood or coal around $800 plus installing. Run either one, which ever is cheaper or more convenient. Working for over ten years now, without any problems.
Prices are current, just checked.
Would love to see some photos of that setup. Not your typical green solution :)
 

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Heat pumps are not much good for temps very far below zero. At -10,-20 or -30 it would never shut off and your electricity bill would skyrocket. i have mine set to switch to gas at 0C. Gas and hydro electric bill is about equal for the year.
The newer heat pumps are much more efficient than the old ones. A good Panasonic heat pump is about 20 SEER so only becomes less efficient than a furnace at about -25C. The problem is they do not make large units so if your house is larger you are out of luck. (about maximum 80,000 BTU equivalent IIRC)

Also if you have many days below -25 you will need a back up. Either a furnace or electric coils in the duct work to top up the heat from the heat pump when it gets less efficient. Also the cost will run you $10,000 - but you get cooling with that in the summer.

A furnace will run you 4500 or so and a separate AC will be another 2500.

Keep in mind that new high efficiency furnaces now have a life span of only about 15 years on average.
 

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It doesn't really affect the pricing much, but make sure the furnace is properly sized. For a gas furnace, its actually much better for it to run constantly rather than on and off. For example if your house only needs 75,000btu on the coldest day, but they give you a 120K btu, it will blast on for a short time, then off, then on, off to try and maintain temp. Whereas an 80K Btu unit will be on 90% of the time. The same amount of gas is used. Might use a bit more electricity. But the thermal stresses on the heat exchanger are not as severe since it stays at one temperature. The constant on/off of the heat will eventually lead to cracking. Its also more comfortable when the heat in equals heat out.

For our new build 5 yrs ago, they wanted to go with a 100K Btu furnace, but my calcs said an 80K Btu would be just fine. So I overruled them and we've been just fine. Even with a -55C windchill evening, furnace wasn't on more than 75% of the time. We did get a 2 stage, 2 zone with ECM motor. We certainly should've skipped the 2 zone - completely useless with an open design. The 2 stage has been comfortable, can't comment on the durability since it's only been 5.5 years.

I wouldn't make a decision on a heating source based on current gas prices.
 

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It doesn't really affect the pricing much, but make sure the furnace is properly sized. For a gas furnace, its actually much better for it to run constantly rather than on and off. For example if your house only needs 75,000btu on the coldest day, but they give you a 120K btu, it will blast on for a short time, then off, then on, off to try and maintain temp. Whereas an 80K Btu unit will be on 90% of the time. The same amount of gas is used. Might use a bit more electricity. But the thermal stresses on the heat exchanger are not as severe since it stays at one temperature. The constant on/off of the heat will eventually lead to cracking. Its also more comfortable when the heat in equals heat out.

For our new build 5 yrs ago, they wanted to go with a 100K Btu furnace, but my calcs said an 80K Btu would be just fine. So I overruled them and we've been just fine. Even with a -55C windchill evening, furnace wasn't on more than 75% of the time. We did get a 2 stage, 2 zone with ECM motor. We certainly should've skipped the 2 zone - completely useless with an open design. The 2 stage has been comfortable, can't comment on the durability since it's only been 5.5 years.

I wouldn't make a decision on a heating source based on current gas prices.
I tried to convince my HVAC guy to install a 40k based on my calcs with HOT2XP (from nrcan) but he insisted on 75k which is still too big but not as bad as the original 120k. Almost 18yrs old - not one issue. I'm curious how you implement a 2 zone system with a single furnace? Gas carbon price will increase by ~$7 by 2030 which is $280 for our usage. I'm thinking of a mini-split for our main area to reduce overall GJ's.
 

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I'm curious how you implement a 2 zone system with a single furnace?
They put in automtically controlled dampers in the sheet metal ducts that are controlled by thermostats in the 2 zones. There's some control board that controls the furnace speed depending on if one or both zones are calling for heat. There's just a little bit more sheet metal in the basement. We have one zone upstairs and one zone on main and basement. A better zoning would have been heating vents on the perimeter of the house and a zone for vents in the core of the house.
 

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Since this is the frugality thread, i thought i should post this link on hot water heating through a water tank. This guy has a number of articles,as well, on calculating costs for various heating sources. I don’t really know a lot about this but i am sure some of the more knowledgeable people here can clarify wheher this is a reasonable solution or not. It certainly is an intriguing possibility:
Bob
 

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I have heard of hot water tank heating, and then saw a domestic hot water as a heat exchanger coil in the main heating water tank. Then in the winter circulator pump and baseboard on periphery and water loops in concrete floor in basement, with 2x 2" of rigid foam under the gravel under the basement floor, and the crawl space floor- it was a split level. I was only there doing central vac. Water in heat loop really just like a hot water boiler.
 

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I have seen that done several times, but I believe it violates code around here. You can do it as long as it's for 'comfort' or warm feet, not as a primary heating source. This was from more than one builder who mentioned this. Neighbour has the system. Has to include the heat exchanger or you get in to health risks (primarily legionnaires).
 

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I need to switch out an oil furnace. Was going to go propane (we’re in the country) but am intrigued by heat pumps. Anyone have info on Canadian installs of the below linked unit/brand? They are popular in the colder US particularly as they are made as DIY installs which saves a bundle if you’re handy…
They come with the upgraded heat coils, etc.
 

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I need to switch out an oil furnace. Was going to go propane (we’re in the country) but am intrigued by heat pumps. Anyone have info on Canadian installs of the below linked unit/brand? They are popular in the colder US particularly as they are made as DIY installs which saves a bundle if you’re handy…
They come with the upgraded heat coils, etc.
I saw a video on those a while back: Installing My Own Mini-Split Heat Pump, DIY - YouTube
How to Install a DIY Mini Split Dual Zone - Senville - Mr Cool - YouTube

No sure how long it would last, I think the Senville's are better quality. You'll need more efficiency if you are in a colder climate.
There is some good advice in the last link, as well as a link to contact the author.

There's also quite a few rebates for converting to Heat pumps, both provincially and federally adding up to 11k in some cases. (No rebate for DIY)
Canada Greener Homes Grant (nrcan.gc.ca)
Heat pump rebates for fuel switching (bchydro.com)
Heat pump info packages to share - Google Drive
 
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