Standing Pilot Furnace Replacement in the Twin Cities
Homes in the Minneapolis St. Paul metro area have a wide range of heating systems. Since the metro area has homes built over many years, from the late 19th Century to today, many homes are heated using outdated, inefficient technology. As an award-winning heating contractor in the Twin Cities, we encounter a full range of heating technology, from old style octopus and gravity furnaces to hot water boilers and oil-burning heating systems. That many of these systems are still functioning is a credit to their designers and manufacturers, but old technology is inefficient and wastes money and fuel. We often find old, very inefficient standing-pilot gas furnaces, too, installed in the 1950s and 1960s. Replacing those with modern high-efficiency furnaces saves homeowners an amazing amount of money on their energy bills, improves the comfort in their homes, and eliminates safety issues that can lead to disastrous consequences. Here’s what you need to know about standing-pilot gas furnaces:
Carrier and Payne Furnace Supplies and Installation
A standing-pilot furnace uses a small pilot flame that is always burning to light the main gas burners when the thermostat calls a start. If you look at the burner area, you can see the flame. It burns constantly and heats a thermocouple that controls the main gas valve. On the controls, you’ll see a “Pilot” position on the controls, designed to let you relight the pilot flame if it goes out. These standing pilot furnaces were built mainly in the 1950s and 1960s.
Since the pilot light is always burning, it naturally wastes some natural gas, but the main reason for the low efficiency is their design. When natural gas was cheap, manufacturers had no real reason to design energy-efficient home heating systems. AFUE efficiency ratings for these old furnaces are in the 60% or even lower range, compared with today’s high-efficiency ratings of up to 96%. When operating at 60% AFUE efficiency, 40% of the energy from burning natural gas goes up the flue and does nothing to heat your home. With today’s rising natural gas prices, operating on low fuel efficiency is like burning cash.
Heat exchanger designs back in the mid-20th Century were not up to today’s standards. Cracks in older heat exchangers are common, due to the continuous expansion and contraction during the heating and cooling cycle over the years. A heat exchanger crack can allow carbon monoxide gas from combustion to mix with the warm air circulating in your home. Colorless and odorless, carbon monoxide gas is a deadly poison. Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home is essential. Replacement, though, is the best way to protect your family.
Lowered Home Value
Even if your furnace is operating properly and does not have a cracked heat exchanger, it can be a liability if you decide to sell your home. Homebuyers expect modern heating and cooling systems and may not even make an offer on a home with an outdated furnace. Home appraisers and inspectors will note outdated HVAC equipment, too, and will devalue the home based on a standing pilot furnace or other obsolete heating equipment.
Affordable Furnace Replacement in Minneapolis St. Paul
Check your forced-air natural gas heating system for yourself. If you have an old standing-pilot furnace or you’re not sure about your home-heating equipment, it is a good idea to have it evaluated by an HVAC professional. We encourage you to contact our Minneapolis locally owned and operated full-service heating company. We’ll be happy to send an expert to your home for a free, no-obligation consultation.
After evaluating your current equipment, we’ll provide you with accurate, objective information about it, along with our recommendations. We’ll explain all of your options, answer all of your questions, and give you complete and competitive cost estimates for a range of high-efficiency replacement systems from Carrier. We’ll also show you just how much you can save on your energy bills, compared with your current inefficient system. You won’t get a high-pressure sales pitch; you’ll get the information you need to make an informed decision that’s right for you.