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Old 01-05-2012, 09:11 AM   #1
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


So, while I had a furnace guy out for my issue with my current furnace, I briefly discussed my future plans of putting in a new furnace not in my crawlspace, but under my not yet built new stairway. He suggested a combination unit.

So can someone tell me the advantages and disadvantages? I believe he proposed it because he anticipated that where I'm proposing to place the furnace might be a small space, and would save me from having to run new ducts. I'm not entirely concerned about those, I want to replace my ducts anyways because what I have is not in good condition.

What would appeal to me is being able to eliminate my masonry chimney, which I had planned on achieving by using a new high efficiency furnace. So what I'd be interested in is whether I can achieve better performance and efficiency with conventional furnace vs. the combination rooftop type unit (which he had said could be installed on a concrete slab next to the house.)

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Old 01-05-2012, 09:31 AM   #2
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


What you refer to is a package unit. Generally using natural or propane gas for heat. And it has a/c.

Placing it under the stairs is a no-go for code reasons. The exhaust would be blocked and could cause a fire or back monoxide into your home.

On the cooling side, the stairs would also block the ac warm discharge and cause compressor damage.

[IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/John/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot.png[/IMG]You could use this HWC unit instead. it goes thru the wall and is self contained heating and cooling.


Last edited by hvac5646; 01-05-2012 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:40 AM   #3
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


Soo.. I'm asking because I'm having a hard time getting clear information, I have no idea what you're talking about with AC warm discharge because my understanding has been that comes from the condensor which is the outdoor unit while it is the evaporator that attaches to the ducting for the furnace.

As far as placement of the furnace under the stairs, I have mentioned this here and there and haven't been told this is an issue up until now. My plan has been to use a 93% efficient furnace so I can vent it with PVC. So if this isn't an option, fine, I'd like to know that, I can always stick with the crawlspace and just put in a bigger access under the stairs instead.

Part of my thinking was that I could gain space under the stairway by putting an openning in the floor joists under the stairway and the furnace could sit on a slab in the crawlspace, gaining another 30" of vertical space.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:18 PM   #4
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


A package unit won't get the efficiency of a new 95% conventional. Also, with the exception of York, all package units have the gas heat's heat exchanger after the coiling coil, which often causes a short life span.

How high is the area under the stairway?
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:44 PM   #5
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


Well, that isn't entirely defined at this point, this would be a stairway against the exterior wall adjacent to the driveway going from the first floor to second floor. I have a crawlspace that, from the floor of the first floor in the area where the stairs is located, the depth is about 30" to the ground where I'd put a slab if needed.

Here's a rough floor plan I threw together using kitchen and stair elements from a house plan I found online and bathroom plans from an online plan at Kohler, overlaid on the overall footprint from plans I'm using for the crawlspace project I'm doing at present:

So under one side, if you go up 8 steps before you get to that side, you get 56" of height at the landing, so if I had the floor frame open below that gives 86" of height for the furnace unit.

My thinking is the location is great for all the gas appliances, if I also put in a tankless water heater I'd be right near the first and (future) second floor bathroom and the kitchen.

The bottom line is at this point in the planning, I need to sort out whether I need to be planning for space in the floorplan to accomodate a furnace, or whether I can use the stairway area as I was thinking... I'm gathering from searching around I'll need to talk to the various people at my city's building department.
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:29 PM   #6
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


your topic is titled "Outdoor combination heating and cooling units", but what you are describing sounds like a split system; one indoor furnace and a split ac with coil on top of furnace and condenser outside.

90% furnaces are not made in out door configurations. the condensate they produce would freeze in cold weather.

Please clarify as a package unit under stairs is problematic
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:29 PM   #7
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


Only few furnaces are made that would fit between the joist. And service could be a problem down the road. Since the control panel is in the blower compartment, and while in the crawlspace, a tech wouldn't be able to work on the burner.

Another horizontal furnace in the crawlspace will be your best option. You can get a 95% unit to save money, and have that space under the steps for storage.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:28 PM   #8
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
A package unit won't get the efficiency of a new 95% conventional. Also, with the exception of York, all package units have the gas heat's heat exchanger after the coiling coil, which often causes a short life span.

How high is the area under the stairway?
Goodman also has their heat exchanger after the coil.

I have to dissagree on the lifespan, with the low humidity we have on our end of the world, heat exchangers dont usually corrode from moisture.
Thousands of 20 to 40 year old gas packs still chugging away here.

I guess where you guys are at, it's a different story
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #9
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


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Originally Posted by sammy37 View Post
Goodman also has their heat exchanger after the coil.

I have to dissagree on the lifespan, with the low humidity we have on our end of the world, heat exchangers dont usually corrode from moisture.
Thousands of 20 to 40 year old gas packs still chugging away here.

I guess where you guys are at, it's a different story
Yep, replace a lot of heat exchanger in them.
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:05 PM   #10
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


Quote:
Originally Posted by hvac5646 View Post
your topic is titled "Outdoor combination heating and cooling units", but what you are describing sounds like a split system; one indoor furnace and a split ac with coil on top of furnace and condenser outside.

90% furnaces are not made in out door configurations. the condensate they produce would freeze in cold weather.

Please clarify as a package unit under stairs is problematic
Okay, I'm not definitely planning a package unit. It was a suggestion from the furnace guy that came out to service my furnace, and it was an option I had not considered, so ultimately my question here originally was about whether such a system would better meet my needs than what I was originally considering, and at this point I don't think a package unit is what I want.
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:09 PM   #11
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Only few furnaces are made that would fit between the joist. And service could be a problem down the road. Since the control panel is in the blower compartment, and while in the crawlspace, a tech wouldn't be able to work on the burner.

Another horizontal furnace in the crawlspace will be your best option. You can get a 95% unit to save money, and have that space under the steps for storage.
I don't think I'm by any means constrained to fitting between joists, what I'm thinking is that I could frame the area beneath the stairs as if it was an openning for stairs into the basement, so I could probably have an openning that is 48" wide or even 64".
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:16 PM   #12
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


Would still make it a service problem.

The tech would virtually be standing in a pit to service it.

Nothing wrong with horizontal in the crawlspace.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:30 AM   #13
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Would still make it a service problem.

The tech would virtually be standing in a pit to service it.

Nothing wrong with horizontal in the crawlspace.
Well yes, but isn't standing in a pit better than crawling in a crawlspace, not to mention the relative ease of removing and replacing a furnace in a pit vs in a horizontal installation in a crawlspace where it needs to be maneuvered while crawling to come up through a floor openning?

What I anticipate as a problem with horizontal installation is that it narrows my options. If I can get a unit that is as good in performance at a similar price to any other vertical unit, that's fine, and maybe I can get that with Lennox.

Where I don't want to be is where I am now - I have found that with my Comfortmaker furnace, I had a hell of a time finding a service guy that carries Comfortmaker, and the one I found did not make it out until 12 hours after I called. I didn't have alternatives. If I had a more popular brand in my area, say Bryant, I could've chosen from dozens of places to call for service.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Would still make it a service problem.

The tech would virtually be standing in a pit to service it.

Nothing wrong with horizontal in the crawlspace.

Been, do they really allow a horizontal in crawl spaces in Pa, down where you live?

I'm surprised because I am pretty sure Mi and Pa have the same Mech Code.

Horizontals have disallowed by code here sine the mid 1980's...too many fires and nobody would service them.
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:50 PM   #15
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Outdoor combination heating and cooling units


Most of the upper end lennox models will be usable as either upflow or horizontal. G51, g61.

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