Thursday, December 9, 2010

Heating repair

Newer furnaces may be more efficient but never let anyone fool you into thinking they are more reliable. They are certainly more reliable now then they were during the bleak years of high efficiency furnaces manufactured during the eighties, but there are still quite a few furnaces from the fifties and sixties chugging along out there. Oh but those buggers were inefficient!

How many times have we heard how reliable grandpa’s truck was?  “You see, the steel was so much thicker back then, and the workers really cared about craftsmanship.”  That was of course before the day of electronics under the hood too.  But as we know, things have all changed and that generation is no longer producing our manufactured goods. 

Before we buy into this theory we should probably take a look at how many vehicles of old truly registered odometer readings past 300,000 miles.  What I am getting at is that the old theory that electronics and new manufacturing techniques have somehow caused the downfall in vehicle reliability may be slightly skewed.  Does anyone remember the semi-annual ritual of changing caps and points and rotors? 

Of course the reliability factor is only part of the argument.  Think about all of the cool features our new vehicles possess such as antilock breaks, air bags, and electronic fuel injection.  But having said all this I am still standing by my first few sentences, mostly because the eighties were such a blight on the reliability of our manufactured goods.

But is it possible that the eighties might have an excuse?  I believe they do.  Every new technology has its learning curve.  Think about how fast things were changing in the eighties.  Remember the dreaded black box under the hoods of so many cars that failed?  Well considering the fact that this was cutting edge technology should it come as a surprise that many of these new technologies were a little unreliable?  The same basic premise was also at work in the manufacturing of furnaces.

In the eighties most of the manufacturers were racing to develop high efficiency furnaces that integrated some form of electronically controlled ignition and onboard component control.  Not only that but new technologies were being invented in heat exchanger and venting design.  The furnace that Grandpa had was quickly becoming a thing of the past and so also for a time was its reliability.

Where is all this going?  My advice for homeowners that want to help lead a new technology revolution is to purchase all of the latest equipment coming down the assembly line.  This will help innovative companies patent and manufacture new energy saving designs.  My advice for homeowners that wish to have reliable equipment- wait a few years for the cutting edge stuff to get the bugs worked out.  Some of course will choose to be brave and we should applaud them.  Others will choose to be cautious and we should applaud them too.

Myth buster # 25

Written by Randy

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