Getting Rheemed: My Furnace Is How Old?

Aug 29, 2007 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

rheemfurnace Getting Rheemed: My Furnace Is How Old?In 1978 gas was 63 cents per gallon, Star Wars hit the big screen, and after being down 2-0, the New York Yankees won four straight to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. The Bee Gees were storming the air waves with hits like Stayin’ Alive and Night Fever and after 30 years Volkswagen stopped producing the Beetle, essentially putting an end to the long tradition of playing the painful “slug bug” game during long road excursions.

In the midst of all these cultural events, my furnace was born. She was big, she was green, and she was mighty. And though I adopted her, it was never clear what her name was so I called her Rhonda. I’ve known Rhonda now for the past three years and I’ve found her to be quite dependable though her efficiency is lacking a great deal.

Wondering what her age was, I contacted her manufacturer, Rheem. I received an email with Rhonda’srheemfurnace1.thumbnail Getting Rheemed: My Furnace Is How Old? manual that to me was full of gibberish and though I’m still not sure what her efficiency rating (AFUE) is, without a doubt my neighborly engineer will be able to help me figure this out. I’m guessing it’s around 65% AFUE. That would mean only 65% of the heat produced by Rhonda is being utilized in the home while 35% is shooting out the chimney. That’s 35 cents lost for every dollar spent on heat. When you consider the fact that you can purchase 90%+ AFUE nowadays, it makes me feel like a toad knowing I could be saving money on my energy bill instead of allowing it to blow away. So I’m certain that Rhonda’s days are numbered, though with so many other projects taking precedent over a new HVAC system, I’ll continue to string her along for at least another year or two or until she decides to join the other furnace angels in heater heaven.

I just hope that if she does decide to quit on me, it’s not in the dead of winter during a record-breaking snowstorm. And as for what we’re considering should that day come sooner than expected, well, I’m pushing my neighbor to do an article on the subject – and I’ll base my decisions off of his suggestions. Should be interesting to see what he delivers. And I promise, no equations from him this time.



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1 Comment


  1. I think your Rhonda must be a long-lost second-cousin of the 30-plus-year-old oil-fired boiler, heart of the forced-hot-water heating system that keeps this century-old Canadian farmhouse from turning into a stunning ice hotel each winter…

    We just waved bye-bye to that old monster, mere seconds ahead of system failure, and replaced it with a sexy state-of-the-art super-insulated shiny red Italian compact, a high-efficiency Biasi with a clever little gadget that monitors the outside air temperature and regulates the furnace water temperature accordingly. Too cool!

    Mind you, I don’t expect to be able to retire on the energy-bill savings, but there should be enough there to do a few other repair and renovation jobs that have been begging for the last ten years.

    All of which is a terribly round-about way to say… I’m really enjoying your blog! (And can I borrow your neighbour?)

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