Keeping Comfortable

Maria’s dad used to say regarding home maintenance: “If the roof is OK and the furnace is OK, then you are OK.” I cannot disagree.

This year marks 40 years where we have had some sort of furnace/AC combination in our home. After a scorching 1983 summer and feeling the need to replace an ancient inefficient Olsen gas furnace, we were ready for it.

I think I can remember all the heating and cooling activity over the years, so let’s try.

1984 – DuoMatic-Olsen Ultramax furnace, Lennox single stage A/C.

What a gamechanger this was. The furnace was a high efficiency, condensing model – no chimney needed to exhaust hot gases. The Lennox did a great job of keeping us cool. Now the furnace did have some teething problems as this was cutting edge technology back then. The original metal venting motor got badly out of balance and we had to replace it with a plastic one that made the furnace much quieter.

We saved a ton of annual natural gas consumption with the combination lasting for 19 years.

2003 – Coleman dual stage furnace, Coleman dual stage A/C

The Lennox air conditioner was in poor condition by now so we decided to increase efficiency. Coleman is a York brand, and our installer recommended it. We certainly did enjoy our brief experience with it but unfortunately we moved in 2005, so I’d say we didn’t really get our money’s worth. However it was a major selling point when we wanted to go to Almonte. The unit was still in service when our old home sold again in 2011.

2005 – Concord Single Stage furnace, Concord single stage A/C

In many ways this was a step back in technology although we were getting a new system in a new home. Concord is a Lennox brand but is generally considered a “builder’s grade” system – a bit lower quality but OK for a new home where the insulation will be good. The picture above is that furnace.

The installer did a particularly good job and the system worked fine for many years – 19 in fact.

However- I was getting concerned about the A/C unit as it featured a noisy old fashioned compressor that needed a special kit to keep starting well. Then last fall the service person for the furnace told me that they had already condemned about 50 comparable units in town for cracked heat exchangers. I was lucky to get another winter out of it. So-

2024 – Tempstar Dual Stage Furnace, Tempstar Single Stage A/C

This just went in the last couple of days.

Tempstar is one of the many brands made by the Carrier company, and is a pretty good one. However we chose it because our current service company sells it, and we expected to get expert installation. (We certainly were not disappointed.)

It’s never a pleasure to shell out a big amount, but we have to keep ourselves comfortable and trouble free. I think this particular combination is a good one for a number of reasons:

  • We got to choose it ourselves.
  • A dual stage furnace is preferable here in the Valley, where we have some really cold winter days but a lot of the time we can run more efficiently at lower capacities.
  • We really don’t need a fancier A/C unit because a single stage can keep us cool in the short summers we have in Almonte. That said, the new A/C unit is way quieter and more efficient than our old one.

So hopefully we’ll be set for a few years. It’s early days but we are enjoying the quiet operation of the furnace.

In the opinion of Maria’s dad, we would be OK.

cww trust seal