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  • Writer's pictureJustin Leach

When Furnace Replacements Make Sense -- RIP Singer

As an HVAC company, we generally do not focus our efforts on trying to get customers to prematurely upgrade their furnace. Some furnace companies will try high-pressure sales tactics to get customers to upgrade off mere single digit efficiency percentage gains—not us. My long held belief is get as much use out of your existing equipment as you can, and when it is unrepairable we’ll sell you a shiny new, very high efficiency unit, However, there are occasions where I stray from this belief, and this is one example.

The furnace pictured to the left is a brand name Singer—yes, the same company that makes sewing machines. This unit is over 40 years old, and has long proven itself as a reliable investment to what was likely the original home owner. Aside from its age, it’s massive—both physically, and from a btu (British Thermal Units—Measurement of how much gas is burned) standpoint.

This singer furnace has a BTU Input of 150,000 BTUs. The output is closer to 130,000 BTUs. Quick math will tell us that efficiency comes in at around 86%—not terrible for an old furnace. But the catch is the volume of BTUs. Historic furnaces were designed to burn at higher temperatures, with lower airflow. Newer furnaces, like the 96% efficient 80,000 BTU furnace we replaced this Singer with, burn at lower temperatures with higher airflow.

One could certainly argue that an 80K BTU furnace will run twice as long as a 150K BTU furnace; but that’s not really how it works. By using less heat, but mixing it with more air volume, new furnace technology allows us to achieve the same comfort temperatures without as much heat production. My suspicion is that the new furnace will cut this house’s gas bill significantly.

Inevitably, this old relic of a furnace was actually changed out because its heat exchanger was cracked, resulting in furnace exhaust mixing with the indoor breathing air—a very dangerous situation. The moral of this story though, is that while the customer did have to pay to get the furnace replaced, they should be able to sleep well at night knowing this investment will likely have a reasonable payoff in the near future on their gas bill.

RIP Singer.

Call Heidikin Heating, Electric, Plumbing and Well today if you have an archaic furnace that you’d like to discuss a replacement on. We strive for honesty, and always enjoy a good conversation with a customer regarding furnace longevity and upgrades.

Justin Leach

(715) 716-0700

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