HVAC Residential Market / Furnaces

Contractor Chooses Modulating Gas Furnaces

September 19, 2011
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“Winters are cold in Sylvania, Ohio — too cold to be without a furnace. That’s what was going through our minds as we thought about our 20-year-old furnace and the winter ahead,” said homeowner Wendy McClurg. “The furnace had already outlived its expected life by three years, and its track record in recent years included a number of expensive repairs.”

Not willing to risk a breakdown in the cold months ahead, the McClurgs contacted Fry Heating/Cooling/Plumbing in Toledo, Ohio, to explore their options for a new furnace.

“Fry Heating/Cooling/Plumbing serviced our furnace at our old house, and when we bought this house 11 years ago, we continued to use their services,” said McClurg. “They have always been very dependable, so it was only natural for us to turn to them as we thought about a new furnace.”

Wendy and her husband Marshall met with Fry Heating/Cooling/Plumbing Comfort Advisor Paul Carr to discuss their options, and eventually they decided to install a York® 98 percent AFUE modulating gas furnace.

“Before Paul explained them to us, we were not familiar with modulating gas furnaces,” said Wendy. “But after his explanation, we felt this was the way to go — installing a furnace that would provide consistent comfort and efficiency.”

Carr regularly explains modulating gas technology to prospective customers. “Most people don’t know what kind of furnace they have, so it’s not at all surprising that they don’t know anything about modulating gas technology,” he said. “You have to educate them, and that’s what Fry Heating/Cooling/Plumbing is all about. We’re a company that educates.”

Carr is excited about the new York modulating gas furnace and the opportunity to present it to customers in a way they will understand. “I use paper and pencil, creating sketches to illustrate the swing of heat in a home, which could be as much as 4˚F, depending on how long a furnace stays off before it comes back on,” he explained. “A modulating furnace is going to modulate and keep the temperature in a home within ½˚ of the thermostat set point. The furnace is going to be on longer, heat your home more evenly, and make the homeowner more comfortable.”

The McClurgs can attest to Carr’s remarks. According to Wendy, they used to set their programmable thermostat for 72˚ in the morning.

“Now, with the new furnace, that’s too warm, so we set it back. The furnace really does keep the house warmer at a lower temperature — at least 2˚,” she said. “And, you don’t hear it. Sometimes I wonder if the furnace is even on. The house is warm so I know it is, but you certainly don’t hear it when it turns on.”

Worth the Investment

Homeowners Ken and Nancy Samson have had a similar experience with their modulating gas furnace. Like the McClurgs, the Samsons had an old furnace. Last winter the 15-year-old, 80 percent AFUE single-stage furnace needed an expensive part to continue operating.

“I decided rather than put more money into something that was 15 years old, I would buy a new furnace,” said Samson.

Richard Lehner, comfort advisor at Fry Heating/Cooling/Plumbing, met with the Samsons and introduced them to modulating gas furnace technology.

“He explained the technology to me, and it all sounded very logical,” said the retired engineer. “I was attracted first to the efficiency, but also to the fact that this technology holds the temperature in the house and keeps it more comfortable. The house temperature doesn’t stray from whatever temperature I set on the thermostat.”

Samson explained the results of his new modulating gas furnace, pointing out that the family room, which is on a concrete slab, used to always be cooler than the rest of the house.

“This furnace seems to have balanced that out, too. And it’s definitely quieter than our old furnace,” he said.

The Samsons and McClurgs are part of a growing list of customers whose homes are being heated by a York modulating gas furnace. Fry Heating/Cooling/Plumbing began selling the high-efficiency units because, according to owner and CEO Tom Fry, they support the focus of the company. His company’s process begins with a home audit.

“We spend 1 ½ to two hours with a homeowner, asking questions about their lifestyle, how long they’re planning to be in the house, whether they have hot or cold spots in the home, and whether or not anyone in the home suffers from respiratory problems or allergies. We try to get the entire scope of what they really need in a system and provide them with the information that will help them make an educated purchasing decision.”

To continue to ensure homeowner comfort, Fry Heating/Cooling/Plumbing closely follows improvements in furnace design. “When modulating technology came along, we knew that was something we wanted to offer our customers,” said Fry. “Improved efficiency and the new, smaller 33-inch size are benefits. The size allows us to get into smaller spaces, and it’s lighter and easier for our people to handle. In addition, it provides more room to add things such as humidifiers, ultra-violet lights, and all those things that improve indoor air quality.”

Fry President Daniel Rice added to the list of benefits the modulating gas furnace offers. “One of the most common comments from our customers is how quiet the unit is. In fact, they’re not even sure it’s running and have called us thinking something was wrong with the furnace. Appearance is important, too. We’ve had a lot of compliments on the looks of the equipment. So, we’re not only proud of the quality of the equipment and the way it operates, but we’re also proud of the way it looks in the home.”

Selling the new modulating gas furnace to homeowners has not been difficult.

“I use the dimmer switch when I explain the technology,” said Lehner. “You can use a dimmer switch to turn a light on very low, and then manually turn it to very high or anywhere in between. A modulating furnace does the same thing by itself. It comes on at about 35 percent of the power of the furnace and can modulate, either up or down, to keep a home comfortable.”

Just 18 months after the company took on the York line of modulating gas furnaces, the units represent 80 percent of the furnaces Fry Heating/Cooling/Plumbing sells.

“When we finish an installation, it’s our policy to return to the home for a final inspection,” explained Lehner. “We check the workmanship, take digital pictures for our files, and ask the homeowner to complete an evaluation form. We do this about two weeks after the installation so that the homeowner has had use of the furnace and can talk about it. In every case, the furnace has proven itself, and I am greeted by happy homeowners.”

www.yorkhvacdealer.com or www.johnsoncontrols.com.

Publication date: 09/19/2011
 

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