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About howardpike

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  1. The Airco/Olsen WBS2 is a naturally-aspirated, downflow gas furnace. It is only approved for an upright installation in the orientation that it is currently working; that is, with the blower at the top. There is no way that it can be mounted horizontally. Besides being contrary to the specifications on the Rating Plate, it would be extremely dangerous. The WBS2 is an old furnace design with no other installation options.
  2. Jim, you are right, of course, but when this model was going through certification, the 12" x 16" x 1" filter was within a few square inches of the requirements for airflow. Because it was a downflow and air conditioning was so sparse up here, the supplied filter was only designed for the heat-only application. The manufacturer at the time could have upgraded the filter to a washable foam variant that on paper showed a greater airflow capacity than the fibreglass filter but was in reality denser and more restrictive. They/we chose to go with the custom-made filter plus the side filter in order
  3. The WBS2-120 is the same design as the WBS2-100/90 which HeatherB asked about. The WBS2-120 has one more burner (total of 4) and so the top filter is wider. The top filter is a 12" x 16" x 1" standard fibreglass filter. The (right hand) side filter is a 15" x 20" x 1" standard fibreglass filter. The WBS2-120 is a good furnace with a reasonable life expectancy... a little longer than the smaller WBS2-100/90. Turn off the power and change the filters regularly (and long before you can't see through them). Vacuum the furnace out now and then, being careful not to suck out the pilot
  4. The WBS2-100/90 is a three burner counterflow/downflow furnace. Its filters are located through the blower compartment at the top of the furnace. Make sure that the furnace power switch or circuit breaker is turned off. Remove the upper door by lifting up and out at the bottom. Remove the screw holding the small panel to the right of the chimney; again, up and out. This gives you full access to the two filters. One filter is a custom-made 10" x 16" x 1" disposable fibreglass filter that lays horizontally on two rails above the blower. It is pushed against the left side of the furnace when
  5. Hey Calab, By the time this furnace was manufactured I had left DMO/Airco and was working for myself. The HBS2-100/90 was a great little workhorse. It was fired at 100 MBTU at sea level, but where you live, near Calgary AB, it came out of the box derated to 90 MBTU. It is a standard efficiency, draft-hooded furnace, rated at 76% steady state efficiency, but only about 55% to 60% over the season (AFUE). The serial number is a nuisance. The letters are the month and year or year and month. I called a friend who worked at the plant in Engineering in those days and he "remembers" that it w
  6. The furnace was indeed built in September of 1967, so it is the original. As you've read in the previous posts, this model of furnace has an excellent life expectancy - 60 years. And, it is trouble-free. The chance of you have a life-ending failure is remote, but if you've got the money and are investing in the future of the house, then it's as good a time as any to upgrade. However, if you are thinking of replacing it because "it's old", or "it's got a crack in it", or "it's very rusty", then get a second opinion. Other than a hole in the heat exchanger or a burner damaged beyo
  7. Basically, yes. From the introduction of the "steel burners" in the early '70's until the last "Airco" was built in 1986 - the Highboys, Counterflows, and Lowboys; the standard and mid -efficiencies - whatever was built to burn natural gas with the steel burners, had the potential for the Airco Howl. The cast iron burners weren't affected.
  8. Airco furnaces that were built from the early 1970's until 1985 used steel ribbon burners fabricated from slotted steel pipe and pressed venturi. They were great for natural gas but never worked well enough for propane. They howled. Gas burns, but not like the flame of a candle. As the gas (actually, the gas-air mixture) blows out of the burner, the flame runs down the gas, consuming as it goes. When everything is balanced, the flame consumes the gas at the same rate that the gas flows from the burner, and the flame appears to sit on top of the burner. However, on Airco's steel burner, the
  9. Thanks for the vote of confidence, John. I've got a new computer and a sick old one. Sort of lost TIJ through the transition.
  10. Man, yours is a challenging problem. In 1958-59, the Airco furnaces were probably using the earliest version of the Robertshaw combination gas valve. If so, then you have a red button that needs to be pushed to get the pilot light lit and held. That old valve has known electrical issues with the contacts for the push button. These repeated nuisance-problems have made replacing these valves the only remedy. But perhaps it's something else. The problem is that there are virtually no mechanical problems that can be fixed by turning the power off then back on. It's got to be an electrical pro
  11. John, two points. First, I know that Victoria had manufactured gas for quite some time, and I think Nanaimo did, as well. Airco was selling their natural gas furnaces, right up until the gas line arrived from the mainland. Second, about the downflow, or "counterflow" furnaces; the Airco "ACF" or "AGCF", where "CF" stands for counterflow. Well, that is a more efficient furnace but not by much. As for longevity; they just don't have it. The coldest house air is blasting on the portion of the heat exchanger that has the coldest flue gases. Condensation occurs every time any furnace starts up
  12. Jim, I agree with you. It's nice to see another westcoaster who recognizes the realities of our mild climate. When Airco brought out their mid-efficiency, it was a tweaked version of that old AGH workhorse. Even at only 23% savings, the payback was excellent IF the old furnace had to be replaced anyways. The new furnace would last long enough for the customer to recover all of their up-front investment and put money in their pockets within 9 years. The high efficiency furnaces would never pay off - their high costs and low life-expectancies would have them being replaced before any paybac
  13. With a modicum of fear that I'll give John all my secrets... The manufacturing date is indeed February 1964. But the AGH is "A"irco "G"as "H"ighboy. It probably has three cast iron burners. It's life expectancy is unknown, for while Terasen will use photos of old Airco's to pitch their replacement programs, there has been NO failure pattern for the Airco Highboys. Sixty years is reasonable. The heat exchangers were amply wide and sufficiently tall to keep the flames well away from the metal. In a normal home, the Airco heat exchanger doesn't rust or crack. The 100-AGH is the smallest input
  14. The Serial Number is probably 1D2-57. The Model Number is too faded to be sure, but it may be 80-2HO (output 80,000 BTU, size 2, Horizontal, Oil). It's before my time at Airco. It certainly is an old machine with what looks like an Aero burner with a cast iron head. With the older pump, it can't be a retention head burner. Even the Rating Plate is ancient. The input is rated at 105,000 BTU with the .75 gph nozzle. The last two numbers of the Serial Number refer to the manufacturing date: 5 is the month, 7 is the year. By 1977, the Rating Plates were a newer design, and the burners the rete
  15. Your AGS 80 was built in June of 1982. That makes it 30 years old, and nearing the end of its effective life. The typical heat exchanger failure for this unit is hairline cracks at the top of the burner compartment in the top plate where it is welded to the clamshells. The crack seems to start at the bottom weld of the clamshell, then grow up and down into the burner compartment. Once in the top plate, they open up enough to allow a little air flow from the house into the heat exchanger when the fan is on. They are hard to spot without removing the burners.
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