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Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 6022
Experience:  Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
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I have a gas forced air furnace that was installed in an

Customer Question

I have a gas forced air furnace that was installed in an unfinished attic. It is mounted on a frame in a horizontal position. I believe that it was installed properly, but it gets very cold in Boise (it's 12 degrees right now) and the furnace shuts down - usually in the middle of the night - when the temperature gets into the low teens (or lower).
I have had 3 different certified HVAC companies look at it. They have tried several "fixes" but ultimately it continues to shut down when it gets very cold. In addition to service calls, I know that the thermostat is working, have installed new filters on a regular basis, checked shut off switches, replaced the breaker in the electrical panel, ensured that the gas lines are working, checked exhaust, intake and drain lines, etc...
I have read some articles that say that some furnaces don't operate well when it gets very cold. I was thinking about installing a baseboard heater approximately 1 foot away from the furnace. I would set the baseboard heater on fireproof board or sheetrock for safety. This section of attic is only accessible through an opening in the bonus room ceiling, so I am not able to check it on a daily basis without a considerable amount of work. Would this be a safe way to heat this area?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Kcrand36 replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I am Kevin from JA.

Can I ask what the model # ***** the furnace is?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will go up there tonight and get the info. Anything else that you might want to know before I go up there? Would a photo of the unit and configuration help?
Expert:  Kcrand36 replied 1 year ago.

take as many pictures of the piping, configuration that you can.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will do. On a side note, the way that we are working through this (it shut down every night this week) I do a hard restart at around 3 AM, by turning the unit off for 10 seconds at the breaker panel in the garage and then flip it back on. Unit starts up and runs for a while - raises the temp in in the house by about 3 or 4 degrees then stops. Then I do a second restart at about 6 AM. The unit runs fine during the day - due to the outside temperature going up. (I believe) Even though the breaker does not trip on it's own, I did replace the breaker in the panel - just for drill, so I know that it is not a defective breaker.
Expert:  Kcrand36 replied 1 year ago.

The model # ***** the furnace and the installation piping including gas and flue connections, showing pitch if a 90+ furnace in the vent and flue piping will be key.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had a couple of issues yesterday, so I did not make it to the attic for photos last night. I will have plenty of time over the weekend, so I will send you an answer / photos on Monday. Sorry for the delay.
Expert:  Kcrand36 replied 1 year ago.

no problem, I may be in and out over the weekend, but as soon as we get the pictures, we can certainly look at some suggested fix's.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
here are the photos and info that we talked about:
The furnace is a GOODMAN GCS91155 DXA Serial #(###) ###-#### (I believe a 90% efficiency rating)
I will try to send all 4 photos in one email. If the file is too big, I will resend separately.
Expert:  Kcrand36 replied 1 year ago.

I received only one photo. I would question the pitch on the drain from the furnace this is the pipe that connects to the bottom of the furnace, not the pan, is this drain pitched towards the drain? Is this drain heat taped? (if the temperature drops below freezing, this will freeze, maybe even back up, and stop the furnace. Very hard to determine from this one picture.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Slope on drain line is good. No freezing. No back up.
Attached is the second of 4 pictures relating to the exhaust vents.Photos 3 and 4 will follow in separate messages / e-mails
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Photo 3
Exhaust exiting furnace
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Photo 4
Exhaust exiting attic through the roof.
Expert:  Kcrand36 replied 1 year ago.

Has any technician been there when the furnace has failed? Any codes given?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The technicians have stated that the furnace tries to ignite/fire three times.
Then it shuts down / does not try to restart.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Any further thoughts? My original question:
I have read some articles that say that some furnaces don't operate well when it gets very cold. I was thinking about installing a baseboard heater approximately 1 foot away from the furnace. I would set the baseboard heater on fireproof board or sheetrock for safety. This section of attic is only accessible through an opening in the bonus room ceiling, so I am not able to check it on a daily basis without a considerable amount of work. Would this be a safe way to heat this area?
Expert:  Kcrand36 replied 1 year ago.

I really don't believe that installing a baseboard heater in the attic is safe way to heat the area.

I do believe that condensate may be freezing in the lines. I would try heat taping condensate trap if one is there and outlets of the piping. I would want to know what is holding the furnace out. When the technicians go there, there should be some sort of code they could read on board.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay. Thanks for your help.