SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -You may have never considered it, but there are some very convincing reasons to hang your furnace instead of leaving it on the ground in a crawlspace or in a closet in the house.
In most cases, hanging the furnace is actually the ideal location, according to Gabriel Carini, the founder of Carini Heating, Air and Plumbing, a San Diego heating repair expert.
Why Is Hanging The Furnace Ideal? The most obvious benefit of getting a furnace up off the ground is that it’s easier access to the system. Bowen Smith, a heating and air service technician with the company, recounts a recent job as an example of why this is helpful.
This client had an existing furnace and water heater in the crawlspace of his home. The water heater flooded and because the furnace was on the ground, he found the unit sitting in six or seven inches of water, Smith says. With the client’s furnace inoperable, he had to go without air conditioning, too.
The heating and cooling systems of a home have many components that work hand in hand to provide optimum indoor comfort, so any change, upgrade or break down of one effects the other.
“Had the furnace been installed as a hanging one, he could have avoided the cost of repairing the unit and the inconvenience of being without an indoor comfort system while the water heater was fixed,” says Carini, an HVAC repair expert.
The client ended up having Carini’s cooling and heating company do a complete overhaul to the existing systems, and he opted to hang the furnace in the crawlspace.
Want A Quieter, More Efficient System? Other benefits of hanging a furnace are that the system tends to be more efficient and quieter than one on a basic platform on the ground or floor. Even a unit installed to code is in closer proximity to dust, pollen, allergens and other air particles that get pulled into the system.
“A well-designed furnace is built to avoid air leakage but over time most will develop small cracks or openings,” explains Carini, an AC repair professional. “Because of the pressure difference, the furnace draws air through those openings.”
Basically, the motor and electrical components are running longer and using more energy. The system has to move more air- and filter more air with more particles and allergens-to maintain the desired indoor temperature.
Getting a truly level surface on the ground can be difficult. When the system is off-balance, even slightly, it vibrates and makes more noise when it is running. Hanging a furnace allows the service technician to truly level the unit and lower the noise level inside the home when the unit is running.
How About Avoiding Costly Repairs? Another reason a level unit is crucial is to make sure the coil is aligned exactly right.
“The coil needs to be level to keep the water the AC has pulled out of the air where it belongs,” says Smith. “When the water is going anywhere else it is going to result in poor air quality and repairs or replacement of the unit.”
When water gets back into the unit because of an uneven coil, the moisture can soak the insulation, damage or ruin the main control board or allow algae and mold to grow inside the system. Smith says he has seen this happen to many clients during his 12 years in the heating and cooling industry.
Why Isn’t This Installation Method Used More Often? With all the benefits of this application, and according to Carini and Smith no drawbacks, one wonders why anyone would decide to do it a different way.
“Not everyone wants to spend the money on making it right,” says Carini. “Some care, but some want the Band-Aid instead.”
The cost varies from $200 to $2,000, depending on the application and how involved the process is going to be. In some cases, service technicians have had to cut open the crawlspace to fit the unit through the opening in addition to rerouting gas, electrical and return lines when moving a unit from a closet.
“Here is what puts that price into perspective though,” says Carini. “The expected lifespan of a furnace installed on the ground is 10 to 20 years. With the hanging application, the expected life of the furnace is at least 20.”