5 Questions about furnaces with Dale Amundson
For 5 Questions this week, the Herald speaks to Dale Amundson, owner of Amundson Heating & Air Conditioning in East Grand Forks.
EAST GRAND FORKS — For 5 Questions this week, the Herald speaks to Dale Amundson, owner of Amundson Heating & Air Conditioning in East Grand Forks.
Q: Have you been busy after the recent cold snap?
A: Oh yes, it's actually been so busy. It just went in from cooling when we were swamped all summer, and it just went right into winter. We have just been busy ever since.
Q: Why do furnaces have issues when it gets very cold?
A: The only issue they typically have is when they're a sealed combustion system, they bring in fresh air from outside. What happens is they start freezing over on the intakes, and when the intakes freeze up it basically locks the furnace out. (Make sure) the intake is clear and the exhaust is clear. High efficiency furnaces are vented with PVC pipe, and what can happen with them is they can get frosted over a little bit and pressure switches in there will make the furnace say “hey, we got something going on with venting.”
Q: Are a lot of furnaces installed after the flood of 1997 being replaced? What’s the lifespan of a furnace?
A: Yes, they're 20 years old already. The years slide by pretty quickly. (Lifespan) all depends on if you take care of it. What we've found out over the years is that filters are an issue. You have to remember these high efficiency furnaces, they make them so that they get the most efficiency out of them, and in order to do that the metal in them is a little thinner. It's not like the old days when they had 70% efficient furnaces and they weighed 400 pounds. The new ones weigh about 150 pounds. Heat exchangers are thinner and if they don't take care of them and don't change filters on them, they start overheating the heat exchangers. What we've seen over the years is they've cracked them. Your life expectancy on them is how you take care of them. You're looking 20 years probably.
Q: What can homeowners do to keep their furnaces in good condition, or increase its lifespan?
A: Getting them regularly maintained once a year. Get the gas pressure checked on them so they're not over fired. Cleaning the secondary heat exchangers on them is a big part of it, and making sure their filters are clean. Just getting them a routine check.
Q: Have you found it hard to get parts or replacement furnaces because of the supply chain crunch?
A: Actually we did at the beginning, but right now we've got plenty of everything. We sell a lot of air source heat pumps in the rural areas, and it's been a little crunch to get them but they're back up and we've got plenty of stock.