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Forced-air furnace, heat exchangers and reliable contractors

Marjie Member Posts: 1
I need some help in determining the best brand of furnace to replace the one we have. (I know, I know. It's not hydronics, but it was there when we bought the house.) The present furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, according to the service guy who came out to clean and inspect it. His company sells Goodmans, but I've never heard of that brand. Anyone got a brand recommendation for a high-efficiency 90,000 BTU forced-air gas furnace? (It's replacing a 125,000 BTU unit, which was undoubtedly oversized to start with.) Thanks!


  • JimmyJam
    JimmyJam Member Posts: 78
    Goodman furnace

    Goodman furnaces are probably the industries lowest quality furnace in my opinion. We have a competitor of ours that has installed tons of these furnaces and we seem to end up with alot of the service work. We frequently discover cracked heat exchangers on furnaces installed within the last 10 years or less. About a month ago we ordered a replacement primary and secondary heat exchanger assembly through warranty, but guess what? They no longer manufacture the secondary heat exchangers and basically said that there is nothing they would do about it even though it was still under warranty. And yet another time when we desperately needed a replacement heat exchanger we had to wait around 8 weeks to receive do to major inefficiencies in their factory.
    I would highly recommend a reputable manufacturer such as Lennox, Carrier or Trane. They all have quality equipment and the dealers that sell them will more than likely provide you with a better end result.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

    Good Luck to you.
  • Matt_21
    Matt_21 Member Posts: 140
    goodman is

    a lower priced alternative furnace. some people only care about pricing so it fills a niche. remember, alot of people also bought a yugo. stick with trane, carrier, york.
  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
    You'll never go wrong with

    a hydro-air solution. Get hot water too!

    92+% AFUE for both heating and hot water.

    Killer application IMHO.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Jeff Lawrence_24
    Jeff Lawrence_24 Member Posts: 593

    I sell a lot of forced air equipment.

    In my opinion, you need to stay away from Goodman. The biggest concern you have is selecting a contractor that not only sells the equipment, but services it too. I like to tell my customers that they need to select the contractor they like and go with the brand that contractor sells.


    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Andy_6
    Andy_6 Member Posts: 48

    A wise man once told me that he would rather have the cheapest furnace correctly installed than the best one incorrectly installed. The moral of the story is a great product can be ruined by an incorrect installation. What I have noticed is that the cheaper the furnace is usually means the less durable it is. So the goodman in my opion will not be as durable as say the Lennox, Carrier, Trane, York etc. Every furnace made comes with a rating plate that tells what the temperature rise should be across the heat exchanger. Most times it falls between 40-70 degrees F. If it is higher than this rating none of the brands will hold up. To measure the temperature rise a thermometer in the return and supply and the difference between the two needs to be between 40 and 70 degrees. I prefer to be in the middle of the range. Any installer should be able to perform this test. If they can not, do not hire them!
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,593
    temp rise

    You are so right, yet when the filter gets buggered up that split starts to change as we all know.

    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • S Ebels
    S Ebels Member Posts: 2,322
    I know, I know..............

    This isn't a forced air oriented site but........most of the guys here service F/A as well as hydronics so believe what they say. Ken had the best suggestion. Go with a boiler and a hydro air type system. If you're familiar with the term, skip to the next paragraph. A hydro air system uses a boiler to heat water which is then circulated through a heat exchanger connected to your existing ductwork. Think of your cars radiator installed in your duct with a blower like your furnace has moving the air. When you go with this type of system you open up a whole 'nuther realm of heating possibilities. You can now install a radiator(s), a towel warmer for your bath, heat your domestic hot water for 30% less cost than a regular water heater, do some in-floor radiant..............I could go on but you get the point.

    As far a furnaces go, Consumer reports just had a big article on furnace reliabilty a couple months ago. American Standard was best followed by Trane (they are made by the same company), Goodman and Janitrol were dead last. You do get what you pay for. Installing the furnace correctly is far more important than brand. Be fussy about your installer. Ask him what type of ignitor the brand he is recommending has in it. Better grades will have a nitride ignitor. Ask about warranties and who does his service when you come home at 6PM and the house is cold. Does he have an after hours phone number. Get references, ask for pictures of previous jobs, he should have a portfolio of some kind. Talk to other folks about who they use and if they are happy. Ask him if he does a heat loss calculation for your house to determine the correct size furnace. If he says no, "you don't need it" that's a guy to put at the bottom of the pile.

    Hope this all helps and I'll still recommend the same as Ken. Have someone give you a quote on a hydro-air system and open up a whole new world of comfort in your home.
    STEVE N Member Posts: 48
    Exactly right Gary

    I have been called out on my share of Goodman / Janitrol service calls. Many were split heat exchangers. The engineering is even questionable. I had a few calls where the rubber tubing connect the pressure switch to the collector at the exchanger was cut too long and made a trap. Over time the u shape in the long hose filled with condensate... casing a fault and shut the unit down. I like American Standard ( they make Trane ) Their technology is incredible and the quality is second to none. The offer 6 yr parts warranty with extended and labor warrantys available for a reasonable price. The big thing is... pick a quality contractor or equipment means nothing.

  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,593
    the trouble is

    most or many hydronic guys may try to install the Air Handler themselves! Talk about calling the kettle black. Good sheet metal work is a becoming a rare sight. just a little bit of duct leakage at the AHU and you've got dog doo.

    I do agree though. You can generally get more juice out of a boiler than a furnace because the 02 levels on a typical 90% furnace are a joke.

    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • Rich Kontny_2
    Rich Kontny_2 Member Posts: 24
    Lots of great info

    I would have to question your distribution system.In most
    cases when there a crack hx,the furnace was connected to a poorly design distribution system.
  • jim lockard
    jim lockard Member Posts: 1,059
    I sell

  • jim lockard
    jim lockard Member Posts: 1,059
    I sell

    and service American Standard furnaces. I fix Goodman furnaces. Some days I fix 2 or 3 Goodman furnaces, I have not had to fix an American Standard furnace this heating season.
    American Standard is the parent of Trane. Best Wishes J.Lockard
  • jim lockard
    jim lockard Member Posts: 1,059

    Goodman had problems with thier clam shell heat exchanger as well as the gaskets on the collector box on the 2nd heat exchanger.
  • Rich Kontny_2
    Rich Kontny_2 Member Posts: 24
    I know

    Jim,have replace plenty of them.But after replacement I've
    found them to be riding on the high end of the temp rise.
    Due to lack of a proper distribution system.

    But I should not complain,it keep the crew busy.

  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    Marjie, Ask about a thermo pride....

    i have no idea what the trade fare may be anywhere however i do know what will get the job done when it comes to heating and well balanced systems..my thought for you is you get a whisper balance and all is cool :)
  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    size! elect use.

    As for brands, the local guy's best brand should be fine, all the better brands mentioned below are OK, I also like the modern Rheem product. As to size, where I live in Wisc. most 120K inputs are replaced with 60K inputs and those are usually bigger than needed. So, make sure a heat loss is done. If you like a big setback temp during the day or at night the next larger size is a good idea. Lately with the going to keep going up elect rates I have been recommending the better furnaces with the DC house blower motors if you are going to stay in your house for over 5 years or so.
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