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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I awoke to a temperature of 62 degrees in my bedroom this morning because my gas heating unit had failed. Again. This time it was merely a frozen regulator which a pot of warm water poured over it solved. Last time it wasn't. Last time, the stupid thing just stopped working. The motor would come on but no gas was getting to the system. A repairman was dispatched and found nothing wrong with the system. I can't remember at this point how he fixed it but I wish it hadn't cost me $130 for him to tell me that there was nothing wrong. The time before that, in addition to the regulator being frozen, it was faulty. I was extremely fortunate to have a spare on hand (connected to my grill sold to me by the gas company) so the repair cost $200 instead of $500. Mind you, this house and that unit are not yet four years old. The A/C unit also failed a couple of summers ago.

At this point, and admittedly this is a knee-jerk reaction, I'm considering replacing the gas unit with an electric one. Mind you, this is not something that I can afford to do right this minute but if this trend continues it seems to me that I'll be better off in the long run. Opinions, please. Has anyone else been here?

By the way, I live in North Carolina. The winters aren't as cold as they are in some of the other regions of this country. If was merely uncomfortable at 62 degrees in my bedroom. I just feel a minimum expectation of a few years' problem free service from this heating unit is not unreasonable.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Now I remember the problem last time this unit failed. The motor would not come on. A relay had overheated and tripped a circuit breaker in the system. The repairman reset that breaker and voila. Heat. One hundred thirty dollars please. Oh, and you might consider our maintenance plan. It's only $160 per year and you get a discount on repairs. :rolleyes:
 

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Take it from someone that has worked heat and air most of his life. They ALL break and they are ALL expensive to repair. Think a gas valve is expensive, try getting a tech to be at your heatpump for 4 hours welding in a new compressor on a 20 degree day. In this area a compressor can cost $1200.

Whatever you get, make sure it is a good brand. I recommend Trane. Yes they break also. Keep away from Goodman and Comfortmaker and other elcheapo brands.

Carrier has too many unneeded controls. I think it is so they have more to break.

York is backasswards to work on, Lennox is good.

To answer your question, stay with gas. It is better heat.
 

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cold 62º :confused: my thermostats are all set for 60...

sorry it just struck me funny...

I have hydronic heat I put under my floors with an oil fired furnace so I have no first hand experience but in New England where I am electric is prohibitively expensive... Most everything here is either gas or oil fired...

Is the regulator something the gas company is responsible for

I have plenty of friend and neighbors that have gas with no. trouble. Maybe you need to invest in some better equipment than was provided with the home rather than change to electric

stay warm... :)

buck
 

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buck52 said:
cold 62º :confused: my thermostats are all set for 60...

sorry it just struck me funny...

I have hydronic heat I put under my floors with an oil fired furnace so I have no first hand experience but in New England where I am electric is prohibitively expensive... Most everything here is either gas or oil fired...

Is the regulator something the gas company is responsible for

I have plenty of friend and neighbors that have gas with no. trouble. Maybe you need to invest in some better equipment than was provided with the home rather than change to electric

stay warm... :)

buck
Builders for the most part use the cheapest. Not all of them do but most are out for themselves. One year of warranty and poof, no heat.:(
 

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Skivvywaver said:
Builders for the most part use the cheapest. Not all of them do but most are out for themselves.
I hear you...been in and around the construction industry most of my life
 

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buck52 said:
I hear you...been in and around the construction industry most of my life
Me too. I hate to see what happens to some people. Sometimes the attitude they give the repairman makes me think they got what they deserved.

I am only the fixer, not the builder that screwed them.:(
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Skivvywaver said:
Builders for the most part use the cheapest. Not all of them do but most are out for themselves.
This builder certainly was. I have a house that I can never sell except maybe to a company that will use it as a rental property. Substandard construction at it's finest.
 

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coderitr said:
In fairness, 2 out of 3 times the heat has failed the problem has been the gas regulator -- not the system itself. Is there any precedent to insulating these things?
You could try an electric heat tape like they use on water pipes. Don't worry, they don't get hot they just keep things warm.
 

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We bought our house, which is only ~4 years old, 1.5 years ago. Previous owner & friends had built it. So, somethings are quite good, yet others, well, not so good. Since day one, we have had many probs w/ the HVAC system - w/ two floors and a full basement, there is a two split-system all-electric heat pumps: 2.5 ton for the upstairs and bonus room [above the garage], and a 3 ton for the basement and downstairs. Both Amana [which, are a division of Goodman]. Have had excellent service from the local HVAC guys who had installed it orginally - even honoring the warranty on all of their calls, both parts and labour, while we are not the original owners. The belief was that since the house sat unoccupied for some time [~16 months], the heat pumps and related parts in the attic, for example, had issues due to condensation, etc. Anyway, after the compressor failed on the 3 ton unit, had to make a choice: replace it w/ a new compressor [~$500] or change out the entire air handler + new heat pump unit with gas heat system [~$3500]. Choose the latter; new system, heat w/ gas = more efficient and much warmer than electric coils, esp. when temp outside drops below 35°F, and the wind is blowing over the hills here [we live ontop the ridge]. FWIW, I much prefer the gas heat, had it in NE Indiana - except, the cost there killed my wallet - due to its a warmer heat than electric. As soon as the ground dries out, will be installing an underground tank for the gas. So, next winter, will be much more warmer here... well, of course not considering the rise in temp due to global warming... ;)

Anyhow, the above is just another person's experience for ya to consider... good luck! :)

BTW: here are a few links that may have some helpful info:
http://www.energyright.com/heatpump/dare2compare.htm [really, they are not biased... :rolleyes:]
http://www.ecn.ab.ca/sesci/LIBRARY/ARTICLE1.PDF
and
http://www.terrylove.com/wwwboard/messages/12737.html
 

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The problem is these new high-efficiency type furnaces that are electronically controlled...I have a Bryant and the thing has left me cold about 5 times. At first it would just blow cold air (the gas wouldn't turn on), but a reset fixed it.

Then one day, the reset wouldn't work. Of course, it was -30C outside. I had to use my gas stove to heat the place(1 month later ...a $300 gas bill :eek: ) Turns out it was a thermocouple that would open when the air temp in the furnace got to a certain temp. well, it broke, and thus caused the circuit to remain open and the furnace thought -30 was to warm. Of course I didn't find this out until the gas guy came 9 hours later and charged me 200$ for the part and his 10 mins of labour.

This year the saga continued...Again, the coldest day of the year, my furnace won't start. Another call to the gas guy (he was quicker this time) and after another 10 minutes, $200 and a lecture about replacing air filters he told me he replaced the coil thingy that gets red hot and ignites the gas because broke, thus indicating another open circuit.

Growing up I remember we had an old school gas furnace with a pilot light that never, ever stopped working. Still though, I prefer gas, hydro is just way too costly.
 

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Our house is a 110 year old two story farm house heated with a propane fired forced air furnace that I had installed when we bought the house. It costs us about $2500 per year to heat this place. That's just the gas, there is also the electricity it takes to run the blowers. I would never buy a two story home again. I dream of building a modest single story home with 12 inch side walls. I'm sick of this 40 degree temperature differential between the ceiling and the floors. :mad:
 

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LuckyStrike: that part about the thick walls [ie: insulation], that is the key to the vast majority of the issue w/ heating/cooling a house, no matter what system ya have. Our "new" house [again, only 4 yo] has cheap, crappy double-humg windows that were installed by the original owner - they leak around the middle/joint area and the bottom where they should close, in theory at least... :( Anyhow, there is a large amount of air that comes in thru these sources, and there are many windows in this house. What is "funny" is that the house has 2x6 exterior wall construction, so should be better insulated - if what is inside the walls was done correctly - yet the windows kill that part of the equation, drastically. :down:

BTW: love the looks of the older farm houses, even tho' they too are very inefficient. ;)

If next time comes to be possible, I would actually build my house out of straw bales. Amazing insulating value! :up:
 

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Hobbes,

I hear you about the windows. This house has single glazed double hung windows installed by a previous owner. On a windy day you could feel the breeze. It had aluminum triple track storms that are worthless as anything other than a screen. I hired a carpenter relative to custom build some old fashioned wood framed storm windows which helped quite a bit. I want to blow in insulation next summer, but the trouble is the house had been re-sided in the fifties with rock hard asbestos transite siding over sheeting over the original clap board over rough cut 1"X?? oak, walnut, ash board sheeting. I have yet to experiment and find out if I can bore clean holes through the transite without breaking it. I may have to bore from the inside, which would then mean re-finishing the interior walls.

Do you remember the song "Ainta gonna need this house no longer" ? I hope to be singing that song before I retire.
 

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MSM Hobbes said:
BTW: love the looks of the older farm houses, even tho' they too are very inefficient. ;)

If next time comes to be possible, I would actually build my house out of straw bales. Amazing insulating value! :up:
My Mother-in-Law lives in an age-unknown farm house (Father-In Law just passed in Nov. this year) They didn't have a bathroom till my a few years after they- married 37 years ago. There still isn't any heat on the second floor. Since Dad passed Mom has just moved down to the main floor. & changed to gas. They previously heated with wood. Which we do here at home. It is SO excellent... for me anyway - I don't have to cut the wood! Just the electric to run the blowers. We have all the wood we'll ever use. I'm not sure how efficient it would be if we had to pay for the wood. It stays pretty much whatever temp you want it to- you learn pretty quick how to run it so it will be hot or just warm. & Since I'm a night person if I stay up till 2am & load it up then it's still warm when we get up in the morning.

P.s.--- Iwouldn't build my house if straw if you're going to heat with wood!!!!---- Or if you know any wolves!
 

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lisaa7002 PS'd:
Iwouldn't build my house if straw if you're going to heat with wood!!!!---- Or if you know any wolves!
LOL!!! Yea, that is true! And I know [hope! ;)] ya are joking, but... for those of yas that don't know of this, yes, you can build a very efficient, strong, safe, and modern house, out of... straw bales! When I first heard of it few years back, was quite skeptical, but it is proven technology. If interested:
http://sol.crest.org/efficiency/straw_insulation/
http://www.sustainableabc.com/strawbale.html

Yea, I do in fact know a couple wolves, but, being a Hobbes, we are friends... ;)

PS: used to heat w/ wood, and do miss that - wood heats you three times:
1. When you cut it
2. When you split and stack it
3. When you burn it
- keeps a person in pretty good shape! :)
 
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