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January 17, 2013 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Buying a furnace for just one floor of a house - help!

We own a multi-family house with three floors (one apt. per floor). A routine furnace inspection uncovered the fact that our 2nd floor gas heater was from 1989 and something was cracked and leaking carbon monoxide. The heater inspector turned off the gas to the furnace.

Our second floor tenants now have no heat and so we have to make a purchase quickly. How did you pick a furnace? What is important? Do you have to find a contractor to install it? Do you have any recommendations around the Pittsburgh area?

Any suggestions or tips will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
posted by amicamentis to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
How did you pick a furnace?
Ask neighbors/coworkers who does their hvac work. One normally buys through the installer. Most major brands are pretty reliable.

What is important?
Size of area it will service. The space where it will be installed will matter, too. Also, how much efficiency you want.

Do you have to find a contractor to install it?
You buy it through the installer. Look in the Yellow Pages under Heating.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:27 PM on January 17, 2013

You can call an HVAC provider or a plumber to install a furnace.

Be aware that there are great tax breaks for buying updated furnace equipment. First stop, call the gas and/or power company and ask them about rebates. Not only does the Federal Government offer such things., your state and power company may too. This includes loans!

For the time being, small space heaters are about $20 and will keep folks from freezing while getting this sorted out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:29 PM on January 17, 2013

Any suggestions or tips will be greatly appreciated.
They might try to upsell you on extras, especially a built-in humidifier. Just say "no". Basically, tell the contractor that you just need to replace the old furnace.

That said, it may well be that the cracked part can be replaced. The heating guy will be able to tell you. You probably want to call someone who handles the same brand.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:30 PM on January 17, 2013

I've used Wade Heating for an installation at my old house and for ongoing annual inspections at my current home. They install Carrier and related brands, but will inspect and repair any brands.

No connection except as a satisfied customer.
posted by dforemsky at 1:38 PM on January 17, 2013

We've used ARS/Automatic Controls Service here in Pittsburgh and are happy with them. They maintained our 60 year old boiler until it finally gave up and installed our new high-efficiency boiler and service it every year. They've been very professional and quick. They're at 412.487.2400

Good luck.
posted by octothorpe at 6:01 PM on January 17, 2013

I got 3 quotes, and went with the company who told me my 20 year old oil furnace was repairable and probably had 5 - 10 years' of service left. The company that told me to replace it was being less than honest. Repair came in under the estimate, and 500 was easier to spend than 5,000+.
posted by theora55 at 7:06 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

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