Overnight, the furnace, now 11 years old, stopped working. The symptoms were
that everything worked (fan, attempt to start), but the gas didn't ignite. Here
are the steps to ignition:
Called in Nathan Gause (who lives nearer than his father, Jim) to fix it. The
igniter was $60 and the service call $80.
This furnace is some 10-20 years old and needs to be replaced. However, to save
money, we allowed Jim Gause to replace the inducer (?) which ran us about $400.
A replacement quote for $2.5K-$3K was given, but we're going to try to put it
off for a couple of years.
Condensate overflowing onto floor. Purchased new pump and replaced.
DiversiTech CP-16 Condensate Pump, 16' Lift, 120V
Due to miscommunication, Nathan Gause ended up performing the replacement. I enquired about
replacing the whole furnace which dates back to 1995. He told me a number of interesting things.
Furnaces and furnace components are cheaper now when you take into account that they are far more
energy efficient. A new furnace for us would be in the neighborhood of $1700, about what we paid
for the Trane in the basement of our old house. It's illegal to manufacture a furnace that's less
than 95% efficient now. (The whole shebang including refrigeration, ductwork, etc. would come up to
Also, the refrigeration component is far more efficient. The 12 SEAR system we got was the best
money could buy back in 1995. Today, however, you can go all the way to 22 SEAR. But, he says that
you can't get the better performance to pay for itself. A 16 SEAR system will pay itself back in
3-5 years. He says that heating and cooling would work cheaper and better for the house after the
No more chimney ducting would be necessary for a new furnace. It takes air from inside the basement
to burn and expels it--cooled--through cheap PVC conduits (on our new house, I have pre-run these
knowing that someday we'll need them).
Basically, things that are very dangerous to the house, like furnaces, refrigeration systems (air
conditioning) and water heaters, are first-rate quality because they have to be. This is required
or they cannot be sold. Gas-fired water heaters like we use can now have flammable liquids
literally poured all over them and they will not ignite them: your house is safe from fire caused
by any combination of water heater and gross owner stupidity.
Conversely, says Nathan, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, etc. are not dangerous (i.e.: do
not pose particular safety hazards to the the home). Consequently, these appliances are becoming
more and more crap and have to be replaced more and more frequently.
Nathan says furnaces are a bit smaller now too. And he confirmed with me that it would be a good
idea when we do replace the furnace to choose one that will mount up on the ceiling of the basement
putting it higher than the house drains. This would eliminate the problems we're having now. It
would also give us more room down there--floorspace to put things.
Last, he and Jim both do HVAC. It's nice to have honest people to rely on. I wish all tradesmen we
had to deal with were so.
I purchased this from TigerDirect for $189 plus $15 shipping on 12 December 2015.
Couldn't get my cheap ⅜" crimper into space. Had better (rented)
½" crimper for tight space. I pressed ⅜" ring into ½" ring
then fit the two over tube and tube over coupling, then crimped using ½"
crimper. It was hard to squeeze the tool, but it worked and the connection
appears not to be leaking under pressure.
I really need to buy some good PEX tools, but except for a flurry of heavy use
3-4 years ago when I participated in rebuilding my folks' duplex rental, I
really can't justify it.
I'm discovering that ⅜" PEX, though what they used in my house (2002)
except for washer and hose bibs, is simply not used anymore. It's ½" and
Just as the toilet plumbing in the other (original) bathroom was badly done,
it's time now (2016) to tear up the floor, redo the toilet plumbing and tile
the master bathroom. Here's the plan:
Total area of room (including vanity): 44 ft2
Total area tiled: 36 ft2
Linear total of tile border: 114"
...in August, 2016 with a horizontal-flow unit ($3K+) that freed up a lot
of real estate on the floor in this house.
...with super great unit ($8K+) and thermostat.
Somewhere, I wrote a long document with more detail, but I can't find it. I've
done this successfully for two doors that already had springs and for one door
whose springs I replaced with new (but the wrong-sized) ones. This procedure
was noted when I once worked with a technician to install a whole new door and
Note: the door will not operate very well with the wrong sized-springs. It may
operate adquately for use not including opening all the way or getting a
vehicle in and out. This was my case until I fixed the problem. The symptom is
usually that the door can't travel its full course without the cables coming
off their drums and/or that the door will not remain closed when down and/or
that it's too hard to lift or too hard to keep down and closed. To keep the door
closed, use the locking bar (if present) and/or a pair of ViseGrips® clamped
on either (or both) tracks over a roller.
The number of winds isn't mysterious. You need exactly one complete spring
winding per foot of door travel. Most residential garage doors have 7'-tall
openings. Often, the installation manual will tell you to add an additional,
fractional turn. I think this has to do with adding additional tension, but
I don't know. In any case, and especially with the electric opener present,
it's crucial to get this right or wear if not damage will result for the
opener and entire mechanical system.
What are the parameters of the springs?
You must know these before buying a replacement spring set. Always replace
both springs even if only one is broken. (Rarely if ever will both springs
break at the same time, but better operation comes from both being the same
age, especially near their end of life.) From Amazon, a pair of springs
comes with two winding bars for circa $70. Often, they take as long as 3
weeks to arrive even if you pay extra for faster shipping. A technician will
typically charge $200 (2016) to replace your broken springs.
It's not especially hard or scary to install new springs if you follow
instructions. There are good videos and write-ups on the Internet. I
immediately wrote this set of steps after helping a technician with a new,
insulated door I bought to replace an old one (a two-car garage door, 16'
wide × 7' high, for which I paid about $1500 installed).
Note that springs and drums are marked with black or red paint marks so you
know which side they go on. Sometimes these are associated with "right" and
"left," but I'm pretty sure that those appellations are from the point of
view of standing outside the door. Yet, logically, you perform the work
from the inside. Just ensure that you note which end of the bar (or rod)
has which color markings on its drum and spring and don't confuse them
when you reassemble the bar, drums with cables and springs.
If the last instruction does not represent the state of the door and springs after
installation, undue effort will be required of the garage-door opener (assuming
present) and ruin it quickly. Moreover, the entire mechanics of the door
installation including track, rollers, cable drums, cables, etc. will suffer and
Visited the house a couple of times based on complaint that the furnace wasn't
coming on. Opened the furnace, found it clean, the burners fired up each time.
The second time, I reprogrammed the thermostat for Dad who wanted it 74° all
day and all night.
On the third- or fourth time, we called Jim Gause who found it to be the flame
sensor and fixed it by rubbing it with some light sand paper. Once upon a time
this was the thermocouple and we usually just replaced it. Jim said that this
sensor can cause intermittant problems that are hard to diagnose.