Anybody replaced a furnace?

Well, here’s the story.

My house was built in 1979. At the time there was not natural gas piped in the neighborhood. I live in the northwest, where summer time highs reach around 100°F in the summer, and can dip down close to 0°F in the winter.

The home currently has the original heat pump that was put in around the time the house was built.

Suprisingly, the heat pump was built like a tank and still is working OK, but obviously less efficient that newer equipment. I am planning to replace it with a gas furnace and A/C to reduce the yearly operating costs. I am also of the opinion that I would rather replace the equipment when I want rather that wait for it to die and make a rushed decision. So tenativley, I am planning to replace it in the spring. I have called our gas company and they said they can have gas piped in free of charge.

Current heat pump is backed by heating strips for auxillary heat (2 x 10kW), that really make the power meter spin. Electricity costs are about $.058 per KwH.

My house is a split-level, about 2800 square feet total. And I have just a few questions:
[li]Has anyone done something similar, and can you share the ballpark cost of having it done?[/li][li]Are there any discounts for doing this during the spring, which I have heard is a slow time for HVAC companies?[/li][li]Any other tips that anyone has[/li][/ul]

We had ours replaced a year ago. Our house is 2300 square feet but it is very old (1760) so it needed a furnace about the same size you will need. It cost about $5500. Installation took less than a day (maybe half a day) but it was a straight replacement. All the lines were already there. There have been no problems and it is much more efficient than the old one.

I don’t know about discounts. I think that would depend on company and region. You will just have to ask.

Inasmuch as you mention northwest, I’m using Bremerton, WA which has the greatest geographical modifier. From the national renovation & insurance repair estimator, 2004 edition, replacement of a 4 ton heat pump with supplemental heat coil would be just under $6600.

Our furnace went tits up last month, and the a/c was sort of on its last legs, so we replaced both of them. Our house is roughly 1200 finished square foot, with a 1200sq. ft unfinished basement, built in the mid-1950’s. They replaced the entire system and put in a new digital thermostat for roughly $5500. It took pretty much all day to do both systems.

Of course, we were already using gas, so it was a straightforward replacement. I don’t know what kind of extra time and labor costs you’d be looking at to go from electric to gas.

Well, here’s the story.

100°F in the summer, and can dip down close to 0°F in the winter.

    Crikey, that's a temp range.
Can't you modify your unit to a combustion heater?

I’m not trying to be smart brother, I’m just curious to know about your options.
Does it snow there? We’ve had natural gas for sh*t 20yrs and by golly we have had some bills.
Personaly I like a fire, but I live on the other side of the world.

oh&s, that’s a pretty normal temp range for temperate areas of the US. Actually, in Kentucky it’s a slightly bigger range–from 100 in the summer to a bit below 0 in the winter. You have to keep in mind that that’s counting especially hot days in the heat of summer and especially cold days in the depths of winter.

As for your question, I’m not sure what you’re asking. Are you asking about keeping the existing unit but making modifications to it, or are you asking about replacing it with some different type of heater? If you’re talking about keeping and modifying the existing unit, I’m not sure if that would even be possible, especially with a 25 year old furnace. If it were, it probably wouldn’t be economically feasible. It would probably cost more than just replacing the unit, and the unit would still be 25 years old and living on borrowed time, so you’d have to replace it fairly soon anyway.

We’ve replaced our furnace and A/C in two homes now. The first was about five years ago, the second was two months ago. Both bills came out to roughly $5500.00.

The first replacement took one day only. When we did our current home, it took several days but only because we had to have the venting system re-done so as to accomodate the larger, high-efficiency furnace we bought. We also chose to move the location of the air conditioner at the request of our new neighbours, who apparently were bothered by the noise the old one made. Since we were doing the work to change the vent system for the furnace, the tin bashers did the re-location at no extra charge.

We think we got a decent deal on this current installation because there was a lot more work here than at the last place, for essentially the same price.

My old NG furnance flopped two years ago, so based upon that I’d say you’re right in checking things out before you absolutely need a new system.

What you actually need to judge whether heat pump or NG will be cheaper is someone who knows local conditions(weather, costs), both forms of heat/AC and honest. That’s a triple threat dude in the NFL, worth millions. You will probably have to make do with someone less than ideal for your source of advice.

Weight these comments for what they are worth and no more – your electrict rate is at the low end compared to where NG is commonly used and the price of NG the last few years have been volatile and mostly sharply higher.

Are you asking:

“Can a furnace be installed in my home without a furnace?”

The the answer is usually yes, even if there are no existing ducts something can be done to add them and the furnace.

If you are asking:
“Can I, myself, purchase and install my own furnace”

I would say check your local laws, many states have building codes which require any furnace to be installed by a licensed professional and stores in these states will not sell you a furnace directly.