Something Random

Stereodude

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Jan 22, 2002
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Not all tanks have replaceable anodes so you will have to check like you said. I also believe the plastic tanks don't use an anode.
There definitely isn't a user replaceable anode on my old one. I pulled off the power vent and removed all the caps on the top. It's a gas unit, so I presume that precludes it being a plastic tank.
 

Stereodude

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Jan 22, 2002
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And I discovered the humidifier on my furnace isn't work anymore. It worked before I changed the hot water heater. I don't really see the connection on why replacing one causes a failure in the other, but anyhow...

I poked around with a multimeter and figured out how the system is supposed to work and it looks like the relay is bad. The humidifier unit puts ~28VAC across two wires. When those two wires are shorted together the humidifier runs (fan and opens the water valve/solenoid). The humidistat seems to be working fine. I measure 0 ohms across it when it's turned up past the ambient humidity, open circuit when below. This is what it should do. Further down the circuit however, the relay that is activated by the furnace has about 1k ohm of resistance (the reading bounces around a bit) across it when it's energized by the furnace when it should be 0 ohms.

A new relay is inbound and should be here tomorrow.
 

Handruin

Administrator
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Jan 13, 2002
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That's a good find on the humidifier issue. I'm interested in adding one to my HVAC for the winter but I don't think I'll get to fund that project this year. For now I'm just using a typical humidifier that runs in my bedroom that I got for cheap on Amazon.
 

Handruin

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Messages
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Seems my second floor furnace is no longer producing heat this evening. I went into the attic and opening it up to see what I could figure out. This is a gas forced hot air unit made by Trane (xv80). From what I can tell so far the control board diagnostic LED blinks red 4 times when heat is called for and the doc says it indicates the limit is over temp or open.

I doubt it's over temp because the unit was cold and when I took the one limit out of the heat exchanger it wasn't even warm. I'll have to go back up there tomorrow morning with my volt meter and check the resistance on each of the three limits to see if one is bad or suck open. Then I need to find a place to buy the part assuming I can get the right part number.
 

Handruin

Administrator
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Messages
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I'm pretty certain it's a faulty limit unit. I tested them all with my multimeter and the one I suspected that measures the temp of the heat exchanger is open. Now to see if I can hunt down the part and order it.

So far the heat is fine on my second floor. I'm running a small space heater in my bedroom and the 1st floor heat is set a bit higher now to compensate a bit.
 

Stereodude

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Jan 22, 2002
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I've thought about replacing mine. Not because there's anything wrong with it or that I'm worried it's about to die, but I'm intrigued by some of the capabilities of newer units. Like inverter based variable capacity A/C compressors, infinitely variable speed brushless DC furnace blowers, and variable power furnace burners.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
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Location
Flushing, New York
/sweating bullets

My HVAC unit is over 16 yo. I'm living on borrowed time. Big time.
Yours is a baby compared to mine. It's the original one the house came with. Oil-fired, on demand hot water (no tank) and hot water heating. 68 years old this year and still going strong. We've replaced parts here and there, but I have a feeling anything new won't last anywhere near this long.

If/when I replace it, I want a combined geothermal hot water/heating/cooling system. Oil is getting way too costly, and I have a feeling gas prices won't stay low forever. Once all the heating/cooling is electric, that makes it easily "fueled" with solar panels.

That's not the only old appliance. The washer is 47 years old. The dryer is somewhere north of 25 I think but I'm not 100% sure. My motto is if it works and/or can be repaired, no sense buying new. New these days is mostly crap.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
3,718
Location
Flushing, New York
So you'd rather have a 486 over a modern i7 or a 40 year old bicycle over a modern one? Or are you speaking only to a limited subset of device categories?
No, anything electronic is hands down way better than the old stuff. Devices that are mostly mechanical, like boilers or washing machines, are a different matter. Sure, some of the modern features are nice. Whether it's worthwhile or not depends. For example, a little over two years ago I replaced our 39½ year old refrigerator with this one. It had a wealth of features the old one didn't, like electronic temperature controls, variable speed compressor, LED lighting, and so forth. However, the reason I replaced it was I finally found a modern model with features I liked which fit in the smallish space available AND overall it saves a ton of electricity. I'd say it easily saves 75 kW-hr a month, or about 900 kW-hr annually. At upwards of $0.25/kW-hr, that's $225 a year. It's already halfway to paying for itself. In two more years we'll break even.

For less used devices like washers, the payback is longer, if it even exists. Moreover, the machine is 100% mechanical. Short of the tub springing a leak, there's nothing I can't fix with it. A modern boiler would probably be more efficient, but the payback is a lot longer. For example, if I switched to gas I would probably save $2,000 a year, but the boiler, installation, and disposing of the old boiler/oil tank would run easily $30K. That's at least a 15 year payback, assuming the price of natural gas doesn't spike, which I have a feeling it might just after I bought a gas boiler given my bad luck with things.

The bottom line is whether modern is better or worthwhile depends upon what you're replacing. For small items you don't think about stuff like payback periods. Either you want it or you don't. For big ticket items like boilers or appliances you usually do.

As for bicycles, honestly unless you're talking about exotic stuff like velomobiles new isn't always that much better than old in terms of efficiency. I actually did buy a nice Airborne titanium bike on eBay about 7 years ago, but it was because my mid 1980s Raleigh was literally rusting out from under me. I had upgraded the Raleigh with a 10-speed cluster and indexed shifter, so in terms of equipment it wasn't that much worse than the Airborne. The frame on the Airborne though is a little more aero, plus it's probably a bit stronger. And it'll obviously never rust (the #1 reason I went with titanium). So yes, the newer bike was an upgrade, but not a huge one. A velomobile would be a big upgrade in terms of speed and functionality. This is the one I like. Basically, it would let me double my cruising speeds. 60 km/h = 37.6 mph would be a middling pace for me. I could probably do bursts well past 50 mph.
 
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