What is the feasibility and cost of flipping this furnace?

Discussion in 'HVAC' started by jmr106, Apr 10, 2016.

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  1. Apr 21, 2016 #21

    jmr106

    jmr106

    jmr106

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    They don't know anyone. I already checked with friends and family. Craigslist...I'd probably get some weirdo that would show up with his tools in a Folgers coffee can and tell me that this doohickee should go here and that doohickee should go over there. I haven't heard the best of things when I have read of crazy news stories about people putting ads up to have work done and getting an unexpected disaster

    I thought about checking around trying to find someone who essentially does their own work/has their own business and see what they quote for it. I'd hazard a guess that it won't be anywhere near what the big companies quote.

    As for doing it myself...while I'm a handy person and have done a lot of stuff, I don't really feel comfortable doing this particular thing myself (or even with a helper). Plus, I just got good (and bad) news at work tonight stating that our overtime is in fact coming back again next month. So in a way, time is of the essence. I may be called back in to 56 hour weeks next month. I want to at least have the system elevated and water heater changed out and elevated by that time. In that the late spring and early summer storms are on their way, plus June kicks off the 2016 hurricane season. We've had tropical storms come over us before (one caused the flooding of the old system before this one due to power failure). The silly 12v battery backup that was there back then failed. I've since found a replacement battery backup that would power the main pumps with no problem, but I want to get all of this out there just to make sure.
     
  2. Apr 21, 2016 #22

    buffalo

    buffalo

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    As far as a hot water tank , what about an on demand system. No tank , it's a small box.
     
  3. Apr 21, 2016 #23

    jmr106

    jmr106

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    Talked about it in another thread. The crawlspace work of running the new 3/4" gas line from the meter...it appears that it could well exceed $3,000 for the installation and unit. Likely more. They charge $40-75 per foot for running such a line. That's a lot of feet. It runs about 20-25 feet and then turns and runs another 15 feet at least. It would need to be external tankless on the outside of the house or would require power venting, which could easily shoot to $5K. Just didn't seem worth it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  4. Apr 21, 2016 #24

    slownsteady

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    No matter who works in that hole for this project, don't do it alone. Moving heavy stuff in a small space requires a spotter - at least.
     
  5. Apr 21, 2016 #25

    jmr106

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    Probably just going to find someone who has a helper and let them deal with it. I'll look around and see what I can find.
     
  6. Apr 22, 2016 #26

    nealtw

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  7. Apr 23, 2016 #27

    jmr106

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    I've considered it, but I'd rather just elevate it and be done with it. Size doesn't seem to affect the height (30 gallon or 40) and I think it is because of something to do with a new law that was introduced a while back mandating height requirements. Thinking of just getting a 46" 40 gallon, finding the best thing(s) to elevate it on and keeping it as-is in the corner. The wall there is probably not over 3' at most at the side of the wall near the water heater, since some of the dirt has washed down over the years and the wall. So at 2.5' it would be within half of a foot of the top of the wall and well out of danger of the water. That's assuming they need 8" of room for code space between the top of the water heater and the flue/vent. I don't know what the code requires for that, but it couldn't be over that. I just don't want to stick it on anything that would draw up water and rot the metal. It is generally known that water wicks up cement/concrete, but I can't find any info on it doing that with something like 10 stacked cement blocks/patio brick type deals (and the gravel would simply go around the outside of them and they would sit flat on the floor before gravel is put down). So I'm currently curious how far water could wick up such a thing and what the danger of those cracking over the years might be. I'm iffy on any kind of metallic or wooden stand, since the legs would obviously be among the water under the gravel.

    For the furnace, I'm going to check out independent contractors this weekend who do HVAC work and see if I can get some estimates from individuals and not the big companies. The company that installed it and wanted the $2,500-$2,800 for flipping it...we usually keep a year around general maintenance plan on it. It has actually come in handy before when a part shorted out or something went wrong and we didn't pay an arm and a leg for the word/replacement parts because of the plan. Pretty sure that flipping this furnace (even with a licensed contractor) will probably "void" their warranty and/or possibly the recently renewed maintenance plan, so I may get a refund on that if I find out that it does. They don't want to help fix their mistake, so I may never deal with them again anyway.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  8. Apr 24, 2016 #28

    buffalo

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    That's crazy. A 10' stick of of 1" inch gas pipe is under 20$. You could run gas tight , a bit more expensive but very fast . It comes in a roll kind of like a hose . Might take an hour . You need to find d some one who isn't trying to hose you. What area are you in?
     
  9. Apr 24, 2016 #29

    jmr106

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    Just a little outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
     
  10. Apr 24, 2016 #30

    nealtw

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    If you are raising the tank, would remove it, do the grave and concrete with plastic vapour barrier under the concrete(6 mill poly) no wicking to worry about
     
  11. Apr 24, 2016 #31

    jmr106

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    Well, my initial method was going to be to have them change the tank and elevate the new tank with whatever blocks I can use. The moisture barrier could be put over the blocks before the new tank is put on top of the blocks, but I was just going to gravel around the blocks elevating the water heater and furnace so that they will be sitting on the floor and I won't have to worry about any shifting or sinking issues with the gravel and the dirt on the floor. The current plan is just to replace the tank and raise it about 2.5 feet.

    I still cannot see it being too feasible just leaving the system where it is and putting gravel around it, like I mentioned a day or two ago. I may end up just having someone qualified flip it for the lowest quote that I can find. Throwing gravel in as-is isn't going to really accomplish what I wanted. It simply won't be deep enough to take the easier way out.

    I don't think I have posted a video before of what the actual flow is like down there.

    This was taken after a 30 minute thunderstorm of epic proportions. It was as-is when they had only a single 1/3HP pump down there. I added the 1/2HP (until I could figure out what to do) and temporarily improved the bracing because that pump has massive torque. That is still the newer system in the photo, so you can see the need to elevate it. Granted, it doesn't get anywhere near that bad now that I have added a larger backup pump. It is actually rare for the big pump to come on from what I have seen of it. Note that in this video, the bottom of the water heater was actually underwater probably 4-5 inches. After letting it dry out, it did in fact re-light and has worked for probably 2-3 years now without any fails. That's why there are no issues with replacing it with a new one, because it will need it anyway.

    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_EcRF5jk1Q[/ame]


    A similar amount of flow with both pumps working:

    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZLB9YcPcak[/ame]

    Those two can keep it in check and it won't even creep out of the top of the hole at all. But this is what I'm fighting and it seems like a vendetta sometimes.

    Videos are a bit shaky because you have to stand on about a 2.5 foot tall area on top of the wall to look down into the hole and it can be a bit hard to stabilize.

    I don't know, if I can't get any better offers, I may end up biting the bullet and having someone flip it for whatever lowest bid I can get. Note the white stuff on the dirt in the hole after flooding has gone away and it dries. I'm pretty sure that's some kind of white mold.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  12. Apr 24, 2016 #32

    nealtw

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    To stop wicking from the concrete block you just put some in between the tank and the concrete, plastic, tar paper, roof shingle, sill gasket. This is all stuff we use under wood in basements.
    When you have quotes on the furnace, are they all looking at changing everything or just laying it over like I suggested with out changing the duct work accept for a new ninety on the main duct.
     
  13. Apr 24, 2016 #33

    jmr106

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    I told them that I would like to flip the furnace as-is. They seem to want to change all of the ducts and such, too. All of them seem to have some extra length, so I don't know why they want to do that. It seems that this is looked at as an enormous undertaking to the point of replacing the system from how they describe it. They seem to keep going back to the upper installation for some reason. Is there any reason at all why any of that stuff would have to turn in any direction? Or are they just chasing money by purposefully taking the long way?

    I know that the return would need to be changed, but literally all that I need is for the very bottom furnace part itself to be turned. They're talking about flipping the coil, rearranging all of the stuff, etc.

    u.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  14. Apr 24, 2016 #34

    nealtw

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    jmr106 likes this.
  15. Apr 25, 2016 #35

    jmr106

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    There was another specific HVAC forum that I asked a similar question on, just to get varied opinions and see if everyone saw it the same way. They edited my post, removed any price numbers that I put in my post, said that they "can't talk about prices there" and then replied with this quote:

    "This isn't something you're going to get done for pocket change. It's uninstalling a unit, moving it, modifying it and reinstalling it to work right. We can not discuss specific prices here. They are going to remove everything (including recovering the refrigerant), re-arrange all the duct and reinstall everything, then pull a vacuum and recharge the a/c. This is a really big job. whomever does this is going to have to commit a couple guys for a couple days to get through this. Tough situation. What about the a/c? someone is going to have to recover the refrigerant, cut the line set, lay the coil on it's side and install a baffle (to keep the condensate from being blown down the duct) re connect the lines set, pull a vacuum and recharge the system. Thats going to take at least four to five hours alone. You're getting a good deal at those prices"

    I'm getting the impression that a lot of HVAC people are really big (something not nice here) or maybe just trying to defend their trade, I guess?

    Why does everyone want to uninstall everything? :confused: That's what is driving me bonkers. I should note that the gas line is on some kind of metallic flex gas hose that they simply ran from the solid (house) gas line to the solid small pipe inside of the furnace itself. I ask to have the furnace part flipped and they want to tear the whole thing out and start over. I don't understand.

    If I get another quote or two and keep getting this from the HVAC companies, I just might get a little shady and find some on-the-side HVAC guy who is qualified/licensed, but would do the work for profit for themselves instead of on behalf of a company. Somehow I don't think a couple of people who know what they are doing would turn down even up to $1,500 in cash in their hand to make it work. It isn't necessarily that I don't want to spend the money, it is just that now because I seem to get so many negative reactions from HVAC companies (and various HVAC employees in general from various places online), part of me would rather pay a person for profit instead of a company. I feel that I'm paying for the employees because they're attached to the company, and not just for the job, materials and hourly rate.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  16. Apr 26, 2016 #36

    slownsteady

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    'ya know, if every HVAC guy that you've talked to says it's a big job, maybe there's more to it than we see here. After all, nobody that has responded here is an HVAC pro (afaik).
    Seeing how well the new pump setup is handling the flow ( and this takes us back about 20 pages in the first thread), why not improve the sump and pump setup, clean the trench and put put some sheet drain on the walls to direct the flow downward....and call it a day?
     
  17. Apr 26, 2016 #37

    nealtw

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    Just a correction, read Buffalo's remarks.

    It is not just putting rocks in a bucket. The river ran through it and maybe never flooded the crawlspace before the basement was dug, so raising the floor and pump should largely decrease the times and the amount of water to be pumped.
     
  18. Apr 27, 2016 #38

    jmr106

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    The wall is likely holding the water and backing up in the dirt. I have looked down inside of the cinderblock holes before and saw water at least about halfway up the wall when it was coming a good 2-3 day moderate rain. So the idea of drilling holes through the wall makes me wonder if I just need to pierce the initial outer layer of the cinderblocks or drill through both layers to the dirt on the back of the cinderblock. Still planning to fill those cinderblock holes to the top with gravel to keep the dirt from washing out and plugging any holes that were drilled. If it is getting into the inside of the wall and sitting there, I would think that drilling through the first side of the cinderblocks should solve that and let it drain. I mean, that's just common sense. But if the water level in the wall is a proper indication of the water level behind the dirt, then there is perhaps 1 to 1.5 feet of water sitting behind the wall waiting to drain during a heavy rain system.

    I'm likely going with a 1/3HP as a main pump and setting a 1/2HP as a backup. Both of those combined can average 120+ gallons per minute and 7,200 gallons per hour. I just can't imagine that much water ever coming in within an hour. I doubt that even with holes drilled everywhere that it would ever be a flow rate that high. The faster it comes in, the more immediate and faster it would go out and get pumped away from the house. Maybe some people will say that is backwards to have the smaller pump first, but most sump basins are only 22 gallons at best. That's about the best I can find. I don't want short cycling with a larger pump than normal, but I want the larger pump there if it starts creeping up towards the top of the basin and can't keep up. So, that method seems best. Otherwise, the smaller pump should be able to do just fine on its own in most cases. After all, that 1/3HP pedestal keeps up with most flows on its own at just 35-40 gallons per minute. The PVC discharge pipe will be changed. The 1/2HP requires 2" minimum discharge for its flow rate. The 1/3HP is just 1 1/2".

    The battery backup system could actually handle both pumps at the same time if necessary. It would work the same way and each would only come on when needed, of course.

    For what its worth, I don't think the current pedestal pumps are even able to pump at max flow. They share that 1 1/2" PVC and likely drop efficiency by sharing the smaller pipe. Still figuring out the size that the new pipes will need to be and whether both pumps should share a single pipe (like they do now) or each have their own. I do use check valves and such, but the concern of any issue (pipe coming loose even though it shouldn't, etc.) is in the back of my head even after fixing everything. Yet running two different pipes...1 1/2" and a 2" right beside it is a bit awkward. In fact, my mother hates the idea of running two solid pvc pipes side by side out into the yard. There are flex hoses and such, but I've heard of those bursting open. So I'll have to figure that out...
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  19. Apr 27, 2016 #39

    nealtw

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    I think your thinking the running the smaller pump is right.I would think the blocks full of water may give you some idea of the normal water level in the dirt, maybe not.
     
  20. Apr 28, 2016 #40

    slownsteady

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    The displaced water has to go somewhere.

    JMR: keep in mind that you will increase the flow rate if you put more holes in the blocks. Unless you have a way to calculate that, it is a guessing game whether you have enough pumping power.

    And, now that you have an idea of the cost for refitting your units and cleaning up your trench, have you reconsidered the costs of diverting the water before it reaches your crawlspace? You wrote that off as too expensive back at the beginning, but now you have numbers to compare it to.
     

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