High-End Furnaces

Thanks for your coverage on “Selling Customers Up To High-End Furnaces” in the Nov. 25 edition. Here are a couple more selling points for consideration:

1. Increased safety. The use of direct venting systems minimizes the interaction of the furnace with any other combustion appliances via the use of outside air for combustion. This virtually eliminates the furnace’s “depressurization” of the home.

Depressurization may lead to the ingress of combustion products from the vent systems of water heaters, clothes driers and even exhaust products that may be present in attached garages. These combustion products may contain noxious elements like fumes and particulates and even toxic/lethal substances like carbon monoxide. So, added safety is a selling point of high-end furnaces.

2. Demonstrated fuel savings. Using a combustion analyzer and some simple math or charts (e.g., a Testo fuel savings calculator spreadsheet) a contractor can easily project a fuel savings based upon the increase in combustion efficiency of a newer furnace system. This also holds true for efficiency increases that come from furnace tuneups.

Many combustion efficiency meters on the market now incorporate pressure and CO testing at very affordable prices. Every contractor should consider the importance of this type of equipment in achieving the highest quality job for their customers and more profitable sales of equipment and service.

Bill Spohn, Product Manager, HVAC, Testo, Inc., Flanders, NJ

Mold Misdeeds

I must admit that much to my surprise, I have been reading through my weekly News with interest and I enjoyed John R. Hall’s last screenplay (“Ripped from the Pages of Today’s Headlines!” Oct. 28) describing what in Texas is called “house cooking.”

Unfortunately, your small-time mold bandits are not quite the threat that “big business” is. You may recall that years ago the Hunt brothers (Texans) cornered the silver market, causing billions of dollars of losses for speculators, as well as for legitimate silver users. And then there is the more recent fiasco caused by Enron (more Texans) in California, a sham power “crisis” that cost the state (and taxpayers) hundreds of millions of dollars.

Even now, some companies (not just Texans) are selling the equivalent of snake oil to solve IAQ problems.

Or consider the HVAC technician who, because he had omitted a trap for the drain line, was called back to solve a “leakage” problem from a customer’s heat pump. His solution was to place a sponge that served as a target for the water that could not flow into the condensate line because of the air flowing in, causing the condensate water to splash and soak into the sponge and fiberglass liner.

The wet sponge and fiberglass eventually accumulated a thick layer of dust and Penicillium mold that became aerosolized in the supply airflows and created mold allergies for the inhabitants.

We don’t really need more snake oil, false hopes, or careless solutions, just more education. John, you have a big responsibility, so keep the information coming.

Jeffrey May, Author of My House is Killing Me!, J. May Home Inspections Inc., Cambridge, MA

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Publication date: 12/02/2002