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  #1  
Old Nov 19th, 12, 06:19 PM
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Default Trying to decide on a furnace...

My Dad is having a new HVAC unit installed, and he is replacing his 22YO Trane 120BTU natural gas furnace along with it. It works fine, but he is 84 years old, and I guess he just wants to get a new unit in there so he (hopefully) has one less thing to worry about. He offered it to me for free to use in my 30x40 pole barn. I was going to install it up high in my overhead loft (it is an up-draft) and set up a simple duct pointed towards the back of the garage.

My big stumbling block right now is that I am on propane where I live, and the tech who is installing his new unit priced the LP conversion kit out at $180. I am not sure if it is worth spending that kind of coin on something so old - besides, it is an 80% efficient unit. Wondering if I would do better to pass on this unit and try to find one already set up for propane. Heck, my house unit is a 1993 vintage unit, and its days are probably limited. Maybe I should just move that one out there and install a new one for the house - although then I would have to go into some debt.

Looking for any suggestions from someone who has been down that road. Kind of bummed, because I was really looking forward to having heat this winter for some projects!
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  #2  
Old Nov 19th, 12, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

IMHO Use it till it dies. New England adage "Use it up wear it out" $180.00 bucks isn't so much for quality heat.

Besides a Trane unit is quality designed and built and 22 years old is nothing if it has been taken care of so it likely will run for another 22. If and when you have the cash to get a more complicated burner you can but it will cost more to run since the brain units needs replacing all the time. And it is not like you are going to run the heat at 80 24/7, mid 50's when not working in the barn, cranked to comfortable when working there, right?
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

$180 for heat in garage ? Should be an easy decision.
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

I agree, $180 for heat and a day or so to install.
Simple unit, only two things, er, three moving parts, fan relay, gas valve, and blower, gotta love simplicity in its simpliest form.
Suggestion, you might want to install a CO2 alarm just in case the firebox decides to go broke.
Nothing like gas/propane heat, hold your hand next to the register, singed hair - love it.
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 04:24 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

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Originally Posted by DOUG G View Post
$180 for heat in garage ? Should be an easy decision.
No problem on my part to have heat for $180, just wondering if I should try to find another one that is already set up for propane and a little newer. Also, since mine is starting to show its age, and it is already set up for propane, the thought occurred to just move it out there and go ahead and upgrade my home unit to a dual fuel (heat pump with propane backup) system. I have started to have some issues with the outside condenser unit, so its age may be catching up with it.

I actually kind of hate to see my Dad spending the money on a new unit when his is working fine and they are both getting up in years. My thoughts are that they may not be in that house for a whole lot longer, so it would be worth the gamble to just stick with the old one. I think the peace of mind is worth it for him, and he has a neighbor who is an HVAC guy and is giving him a deal for it. I'm not going to get in the middle of it - it's not like they are extremely pinched for money, and sometimes the peace of mind is worth the money.
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 04:59 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

I'm sure you will find the right fit for your situation.
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 07:46 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

Most importantly, run the return air from near floor level and mount the filter from there too!
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

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Most importantly, run the return air from near floor level and mount the filter from there too!
Would the flexible insulated duct work for the heated air, or should I go rigid?
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

The only downside is pulling cold air off the floor level in a garage where gas fumes or other flammables are located, thats a NO NO. You might be better off having an isolated room, like small office area, completely closed off from your shop area, where you can then draw return air from, or ask your local HVAC guy how to do it in a shop. If there was a crack in the plenum of the furnace and gas fumes got sucked into the system, bloowie... and you are not a happy camper anymore.
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 09:40 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

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The only downside is pulling cold air off the floor level in a garage where gas fumes or other flammables are located, thats a NO NO. You might be better off having an isolated room, like small office area, completely closed off from your shop area, where you can then draw return air from, or ask your local HVAC guy how to do it in a shop. If there was a crack in the plenum of the furnace and gas fumes got sucked into the system, bloowie... and you are not a happy camper anymore.
Yep. thought about that one, Jim. What is the disadvantage of simply pulling the return air from up high where the unit will be located? Is it simply an issue of airflow?
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 10:16 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

If there are NO fumes up high, that can probally work but are we talking a shop with no ceiling, just open rafters? Or ceiling over part of the shop? If its enclosed area of a shop you will heat, then you can draw from attic area but that will be pretty cold temps compared to the 65 deg. you are gonna have in the shop area. Shops can be touchy to heat safely.
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

I am going to be installing a ceiling on the bottom of the rafters, but I was planning to actually install the furnace on a loft that I built that hangs down about 4 feet from the ceiling. The shop is 30x40 with about 11 feet to the bottom of the ceiling joists. It is an upflow furnace, so I figured I could feed up into a single trunk duct and then span back towards the back of the shop with a couple of registers. I thought I could just draw in my return air from up there in the loft - that way it is up high away from where any fumes would likely collect. I do realize that I would still possibly be exposed to explosion risk if I had a WHOLE LOT of fumes build up, or perhaps with paint fumes, but I don't really see myself trying to paint anything out there if it is cold enough to need to run the furnace.
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Old Nov 20th, 12, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: Trying to decide on a furnace...

that makes more sense to me, draw from above and feed down. Some furnace fans had multiple options for wiring the blower fan for more speed too. Check the model numbers with an HVAC guru and then you can maybe modify the wiring to increase air flow for greater distance. good luck with it.
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