Chelmsford Furnace Replacement
Heating a home during the colder months is necessary, and no one wants to be caught off guard with a broken furnace when the temperature drops. However, a furnace doesn’t last forever, and homeowners need to recognize when they need furnace replacement. This Chelmsford, MA client had an old oil furnace that was fed by an oil tank in desperate need of replacement due to rotting mounts. While they could have replaced their oil tank and their furnace with another oil-fed unit, they opted for a more efficient gas furnace with the help of MassSave loans which MillTown Plumbing helps to facilitate. This blog will guide you through the differences between oil and gas furnaces, the signs your furnace needs replacement, the benefits of replacing it, and the furnace replacement process itself of this Chelmsford, MA client.
Furnace Replacement: Gas vs. Oil
Oil furnaces have been a staple for many older homes. They produce high BTUs, which means they provide substantial heat. However, oil furnaces often come with higher fuel costs, and they require a storage tank that can take up valuable space. These tanks can also decay over time, creating an additional maintenance concern – exactly what happened to this Chelmsford client.
- High BTU output
- Higher fuel costs
- Requires storage tank
- Storage tanks can decay over time
Conversely, gas furnaces are more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, often leading to lower monthly heating costs. Plus, natural gas is readily available in most urban and suburban areas, eliminating the need for on-site storage.
- More energy-efficient
- Lower monthly heating costs
- Natural gas is readily available
- No need for on-site storage
Signs You Need a Furnace Replacement
When it comes to recognizing the signs that your furnace needs a replacement, start by checking its age. The average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 20 years. If your furnace is older than this, it’s probably time for a replacement. Additionally, look for signs like increased heating bills, which may indicate your furnace is losing its efficiency. Constant repairs, inconsistent temperatures, strange noises, or visible signs of rust or cracks are also indicators that a replacement might be due. Symptoms your furnace needs a replacement include:
- Furnace age exceeds 15-20 years
- Increase in heating bills
- Frequent need for repairs
- Inconsistent temperatures
- Unusual noises
- Visible signs of rust or cracks
Benefits of a Furnace Replacement
Replacing an old furnace with a new one comes with several benefits:
- Lower energy bills
- Increased comfort
- Better indoor air quality
- Longer lifespan
- Lower maintenance costs
Firstly, newer models are more energy-efficient, which means they will heat your home more effectively while reducing your energy bills. Secondly, modern furnaces often feature advancements in technology that enhance comfort and convenience, such as smart thermostats and variable-speed blowers. Lastly, replacing a deteriorating furnace can save you from the discomfort and expense of a sudden breakdown during the cold season.
Chelmsford, MA Furnace Replacement Process
This Bedford, Massachusetts client would be replacing their 80% furnace and unenclosed air conditioning system with a 95% furnace and Bosch heat pump. The furnace would net 15% more efficiency than the previous furnace (80% vs. 95%). The furnace is supported by the heat pump, utilizing the heat pump until outside temperatures dropped below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
A 95% furnace is a great choice for Bedford homeowners due to its energy efficiency when temperatures are moderate, and its ability to still perform in the extreme cold.
Removing the Old Furnace
The first step in the Chelmsford, MA furnace replacement was removing the old, less efficient 80% oil furnace. The process was initiated by detaching the oil supply line. Due to the furnace being shut off at the valve and the line being gravity-fed, there were no leaks during this procedure.
Subsequently, the electrical power to the furnace was turned off at the fuse box. A safety step verified with a test light to ensure there was no power to the unit.
Other procedures included removing the high limit, which is a safety device that shuts off the furnace if the ductwork temperature gets too high.
Lastly, the screws connecting the old furnace to the existing ductwork were removed, and the old furnace was safely taken off the foundation. The furnace replacement would use the same foundation.
Preparing for the Furnace Replacement
Once the old furnace was removed, the process of preparing for the new gas furnace began. This involved patching and leveling the existing ductwork to ensure a smooth furnace replacement process.
The installation team also drilled holes in the exterior to accommodate the new intake and exhaust flues. Since the flues needed to be 3” due to length and number of 90-degree elbows, the measurements had to be precise.
The next step was deciding the placement of the furnace replacement for this Chelmsford homeowner. We install furnaces according to manufacturer code, so ensuring it had 30” of space in front was critical.
An access hole was cut into the side of the furnace and a filter housing was attached to it.
The furnace was then placed on a cinder block foundation and leveled using rubber feet as shims.
Installing the Replacement Furnace
The new Bosch 96% furnace was then ready for installation. A two-stage transition for the supply and return ducts was custom-made, and notches were cut into the corners to allow for ease of installation.
This was followed by sealing the transitions with foil tape to improve efficiency.
The intake and exhaust flues were cut to size and installed, being sealed together using PVC cement.
Following code, the flues were hung at a pitch and supported by straps drilled into the wooden beams and ductwork.
The gas line was rerouted to the furnace, a crucial step as the gas line’s diameter had to support the furnace and the other appliances using the same line. That demand is measured in BTUs, so MillTown’s code enforcer verified that the gas line was sufficient.
Tech-Tip: If the gas line demand was too high, the furnace pilot light could fail to ignite, causing a no-heat issue, and causing issues with other appliances on the same line.
The electrical was wired up, including a GFCI outlet to prevent issues if there was ever an instance of moisture, per code. The condensate pump was plumbed to the furnace and plugged into this outlet.
After installing a replacement furnace, MillTown wires up and installs a new thermostat. We then test for functionality.
Furnace Replacement: How Mass Save Can Help
Mass Save is an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ natural gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers. They offer a range of services, including no-cost home energy assessments, rebates on energy-efficient appliances, and 0% financing for energy efficiency improvements. In this Chelmsford client’s case, the homeowners were able to finance their gas furnace replacement through Mass Save, making the project much more financially feasible.
As a registered Mass Save contractor for HVAC, MillTown Plumbing has met strict standards for quality and service. We are committed to providing our customers with the best service in Chelmsford and the Merrimack Valley. We are proud to be part of a program that helps homeowners and businesses save money while reducing their impact on the environment. See how MillTown can help save you money through Mass Save!
Chelmsford, MA Furnace Replacement Contractor
For Chelmsford residents, choosing a trusted furnace replacement contractor can make all the difference in a smooth and efficient installation process. Our local HVAC experts are well-versed in the regulations and building codes and have a solid understanding of the various heating options suitable for the Massachusetts climate. With their expertise, you can rest assured that your new furnace will provide comfortable, efficient heat for your home for years to come.
Here at MillTown, we provide cost-effective, permanent solutions to keep your home in tip-top shape. We commit to your satisfaction and offer high-quality, same-day service. Our technicians are clean, courteous, and respectful of your home. It is why Massachusetts and New Hampshire homeowners have trusted us for over 35 years. Contact us today if you are a local Chelmsford homeowner interested in furnace replacement, repair, or maintenance!
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