Furnace repair and plumbing replacement

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by tingeyplumbing, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. tingeyplumbing

    tingeyplumbing In the Trades

    Dec 1, 2011
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    If you need furnace repair or furnace replacement best thing you can do is to call a company who specializes in these type of services. Problems tend to appear especially when you have a gas furnace. Even though gas furnaces and heaters have control shutoffs to prevent gas leaks, they are not fail-safe and in the event you smell gas in your home you should first think about your family's safety and immediately get out of the house, leave the door open and call the gas company or the fire department.

    The possibility to need furnace replacement is lower if you have a gas furnace because they have proven to be remarkably durable over the years, even though they require some maintenance. One of the things you can do is to make sure the air filter is cleaned or changed on a regular basis, after all, they heat air, which is then moved through the house using a blower motor. If you decide you don't want to run the risk of calling the fire department you can always go for an oil furnace instead of a gas one. However, they also have some flaws: you might need furnace repair more often then you think because of the leaks that tend to appear if it's not properly maintained. Also, the contained exhaust requires maintenance to keep the furnace running efficiently. If you already have one of these but there are problems when it comes to fuel delivery (gas or oil) at your residence, then go for furnace replacement and choose an electric furnace or a heat pump. After all, they might turn out to be be a better solution for you.

    On that same note, plumbing replacement is not an easy job for everyone. If you're in trouble, don't hesitate to call a specialist. Pipe leaks, faucet drips or drain clogs seem to be the easiest plumbing issues to repair, but some of them could be masking larger problems that would require more than the basic knowledge, tools and ability to correct. For these advanced problems and plumbing replacement, professionals are definitely needed.

    Whether your house is new or not, the house sewer line needs an inspection with video equipment by licensed reputable plumbing contractors who will indicate the overall condition of the piping from the house to the city main connection and will tell you if you need plumbing replacement. This piping is the direct responsibility of the existing home owner(s) and costs of repair or replacement can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, so you should be very careful to these kind of details.

    Don't leave anything at chance and you will be enjoying the comfort of your home for many years to come: always ask for advice if you're thinking about furnace replacement - what is the status of fuel delivery in your area and which one will be the best solution for you, call the specialists if you need furnace repair, and last but not least, even if you're a born handyman, when you need plumbing replacement call someone who does this for a living. Thinking you did a good job might end up costing more than it should have in the first place.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Actually, the chance of needing a furnace replacement is HIGHER with a gas unit, because burner gas condensation can corrode the heat exchanger, also the expansion and contraction of the metal as it heats and cools can cause cracks in the exchanger. EITHER of these conditions can cause carbon monoxide fumes to enter the air stream and be circulated through the building to the detriment of the occupants. Oil burners typically need a larger chimney than a gas unit, and electric furnaces are "money pits" unless you are in the TVA or other heavily subsidized electric area.
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    I think hj is on point here.

    I would guestimate the life expectancy of a NG fau at 20 years. Some will of course push 25. Relatively little maintenenance or repair will be needed. Newer units ( last 15 years) have electronic ignition, induced combustion air, etc and those features all are more high-maintenance than older units. An oil burner probably lasts longer, but needs REGULAR ( annual) cleaning, etc. I have seen a ton of electric air handlers at 30+ years still going strong. Maybe a blower motor or run cap once in a while, or a new element string.
  5. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Nov 29, 2010
    We regularly service oil burning boilers and furnaces that are 60 plus years old and still running just fine. Not efficiently mind you, but they are reliable.
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