Furnace Installation, A Guide To Installing A Forced Air Furnace
That's right, with a little help you can perform the furnace installation and
save. You will find that help here! The typical HVAC company will charge hundreds of dollars for the
installation but, with this guide, you can save that money.
**NOTE** ONLY YOU CAN ASSESS YOUR ABILITY TO PERFORM THIS TASK. THIS IS A GUIDE AND
CANNOT PROVIDE ALL OF THE DETAILS FOR EVERY SITUATION.
Everyone should begin with finding the proper size of unit. This can only be
done with a load
calculation. There are many so called DIY load calculations but this is the one area where
you can lose a lot of money if you are wrong. These calculations are relatively inexpensive but they
Replacing a gas furnace
We will look at the basic procedure for gas furnace replacement. These principles can be
easily adapted for the other types of units. The first step in furnace installation is to prepare
the unit for installation. This includes removing all the loose parts and instructions from the
unit. Then you need to decide which side of the unit the return air duct will connect to or whether
it will be attached to the bottom of the unit. The cabinets on most units are marked with the
appropriate size opening, it is a simple matter of cutting the required opening in the appropriate
side or in the bottom. Next, you can put the unit in the desired place. The unit should be on rubber
isolation pads to minimize noise during operation. If the unit is to be located in a basement, it
should be supported by blocks at least four inches above the floor. If the unit is to be located in
the attic, some special precautions should be taken. A secondary drain pan should be placed under
the unit. This is a plastic pan that is placed under the unit to prevent damage to the home in case
of blockage of the air conditioner condensate drain. Special attention should be given as to the
location in the attic for maintenance and to minimize noise to bedrooms. **NOTE** A condensing
furnace should not be installed in an attic in climates that are subject to temperatures below
freezing. You need to decide which side of the unit the condensate drain will exit. When you set the
unit in place, it should be close to level but sloped slightly towards the condensate drain exit.
Once you have the unit in place, you can continue your furnace installation by connecting the duct
system. The connections to the unit should be sealed with a metal foil tape or a duct sealant.
**HOT TIP** DO NOT USE DUCT TAPE. IT WILL NOT LAST!
Now, you can connect the vent pipes. On a high efficiency furnace, there should be an inlet
and exhaust made of pvc. The key thing to these is to properly clean and glue the pvc joints. The
pipes should be sloped back to the furnace at 1/4 inch per 4 feet. This is to allow proper
condensate drainage. The next step in furnace installation is to connect the gas supply to the unit.
There should be a shutoff valve installed outside the unit. A drip leg should be installed prior to
the line entering the unit. This is usually accomplished by using a tee with a capped nipple
sticking out the bottom. The gas supply comes in the top and the center of the tee goes to the
furnace. After installing the gas piping, ensure there are no gas leaks. This can be accomplished by
spraying a gas leak detector solution on the connections. Watch for bubbles to form which is an
indication of a leak. Now it is time to make the electrical connections. Your new furnace has low
voltage (24v) and line voltage (120v) connections. The line voltage connections should run from the
furnace junction box to a disconnect switch within three feet of the unit. It is important that you
pay attention to the polarity. Most of the new units are polarity sensitive. The low voltage wires
run from the furnace control board to the air conditioner and/or the thermostat. The standard
connections are as follows: R terminal on furnace board connected to R terminal on thermostat
usually with a red wire. W terminal on furnace board connected to W terminal on thermostat usually
with a white wire. G terminal on furnace board connected to G terminal on thermostat usually with a
green wire. C terminal on furnace board connected to C terminal on thermostat usually with a blue
wire. There is usually a white wire also connected to the C terminal on the furnace that goes to the
ac unit. Y terminal on furnace board connected to the Y terminal on the thermostat usually with a
yellow wire. There is usually a red wire also connected to the Y terminal on the furnace that goes
to the ac unit. You should verify all wiring with the manufacturer's instructions prior to turning
on the power. Now, you should connect the condensate drain and run a pipe to a drain location
(usually a floor drain). This should be a 3/4 inch pvc pipe.
Furnace Installation, Final Checks
The final step in your furnace installation is to start the unit and run it through a heating
cycle. You should check the outlet air temperature and the temperature rise from the return to
supply and compare to manufacturers recommendations. Check for proper condensate drainage. Also
perform another check for gas leaks.