• Old water heater is back here behind the old furnace
  • Temporary water heater
  • The green monster 1951 furnace
  • After conversion to gas, the front panel no longer fit on the furnace. We put hardware cloth over the front to keep the cats out.
  • What happened? - dave dube'

Time for a new furnace

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  1. photofarmer 66 months ago | reply

    Here's the old furnace. It's a hot water system and was original to the house, around 1951. Originally oil, it was converted to gas sometime in the late 60's or early 70's. When we bought the house the hot water was also produced by the furnace. It was a less than ideal system for hot water since if the water started circulating to the radiators the hot water temperature dropped significantly. This usually happened in the morning when showers were being taken.

    Several years ago we put in a new hot water heater. This year it started leaking (out of warranty). At first the leak was small, so we just put a fan there and evaporated the water on the floor. It finally got too large to do that and now that the farm stand is closed we have time to deal with it. I stole a hot water heater from one of the greenhouses and connected it temporarily with washing machine hoses. It's a 6 gallon heater, just barely enough for a quick shower. (Small white cylinder at right with bucket to catch drip, which was much smaller than the old heater's leak).

    Since we needed a new hot water heater we decided to get a new more efficient furnace at the same time. After all, this one is more than 50 years old.

    We arranged for a local company to remove the old and install the new.

    Furnace 081031 002
    Removing the old one. 9 am.

    Furnace 081031 003
    The old furnace disconnected from the gas and electricity

    Furnace 081031 005
    Old furnace disconnected from hot water circulating system. The old hot water heater can be seen tucked into the corner in the back.

    Furnace 081031 008
    Gone!

    Furnace 081031 009
    New furnace in place. Significantly smaller than the old one.

    Furnace 081031 010
    Plumbing attached.

    The new one, ready to operate, but some touchup details still to do. 8 pm.

    Furnace 081031 011

  2. Red~Star 66 months ago | reply

    Well documented. Welcome to the 21 century. A new water heater and furnace will make you not worry and keep you toasty all winter, Money well spent.

  3. ~Jetta Girl~ 66 months ago | reply

    Boy oh boy! I see your heating bill saving you some serious $$ ;0)

  4. Elston's Mom 66 months ago | reply

    Congratulations!

  5. photofarmer 66 months ago | reply

    (Next day) The house is nice and toasty. Shouldn't really be due to the furnace, since the radiators haven't been changed and the water circulates the same way as before. Hopefully we'll see the difference when the next few gas bills come in.

    It's also significantly quieter than the old monster.

  6. dave dube' 66 months ago | reply

    Did they drain the radiators for you? Wouldn't want to be circulating all that old and rusty water.

    My job, every Sat morning, in the late 50's and early 60's (Ludlow, MA) was the check and fill the water level in our system.

    The hot water tank doesn't look any bigger that what your original was probably like, more efficient probably. It looks like the greenhouse tank is still hooked up?

  7. photofarmer 66 months ago | reply

    Yes, they drained the radiators. If they hadn't, the system would have been leaking all over the cellar during the work and the old furnace would have been marginally heavier to remove (it's cast iron).

    The system has an automatic fill when the pressure drops and an automatic air skimmer to remove bubbles in the circulating hot water. I'll have to bleed the radiators a couple of times over the next week or so, but that's not a big job. After that, maybe once every other year.

    The furnace installation took 11 hours. The new hot water heater got installed a couple of days later. It's now in place and working. It's a 40 gallon tank, same as before, which was quite adequate for 2 people. It's electric instead of gas, which simplified the installation and makes it possible for me to change it out easily 10 years from now when this one starts to go.

    The 6 gallon tank will go back into the greenhouse as soon as I clean out the greenhouse. I won't be using it until March.

    The "what happened" spot on the floor is probably an oil discoloration in the concrete floor from the ancient oil burner from before my time.

  8. dave dube' 66 months ago | reply

    The farm house we had in Ludlow, the oil furnace was like an octopus and took up most of the basement.

    Sounds like you'll have more time for photos??

  9. photofarmer 39 months ago | reply

    Update a couple years later:

    The gas bills have been down by about 30%. However, a part of that was due to the fact that the basement is no longer heated. There are no radiators in the basement, but the old furnace lost so much heat that it did the job without benefit of infrastructure.

    Basement temperatures range from 55-60 F during the winter. Not a real problem.

  10. Karin Nelson19 15 months ago | reply

    I think it really looks like you might be able to use a rheem gas furnace! Can you tell me where i can find more information like this? Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. photofarmer 15 months ago | reply

    The current furnace is less than 5 years old and it's doing just fine. Don't think I need anything new just yet. The old one lasted 50 years.

    As far as trying to figure out what to get, we just asked our maintenance guy and this was what he recommended.

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