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Holland Furnace

Jim Katen

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It was prior to 1958, ala the lack of zip code.  Also, I have inspected many of these and they were about 33 1/3% efficient and lasted forever.  Made in Holland Michigan down by the lake and Howard Miller clock company.   Chad is correct about the use of chrome.  The company got started as a furnace manufacturer and morphed into a furnace cleaning company using giant vacuum trucks.


there are dozens of stories about the company and most are about how the company influenced commerce and fraudulent business stuff.  


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10 hours ago, Les said:

It was prior to 1958, ala the lack of zip code.

I generally agree with you & Chad, but here's my thought process: 

Zip codes started in 1963, and postal zones (one or two digit codes) go back to 1943. This one has neither, but it certainly doesn't pre-date 1943, so the absence of a code doesn't necessarily date it. (I've found the presence of a zip code or postal zone to be good at dating a furnace, but the absence of one doesn't mean much. It could be that they didn't feel the need to add a zip code (or postal zone) since they weren't mailing it. . . )

I agree about the chrome and the likelihood of it being from the '50s, but the sticking point is that this was a gas furnace from the get-go - it wasn't converted from oil, and there's only a small chance that this house had gas service in the '50s. Portland didn't have any natural gas until 1956, and even then, it was quite rare until the '60s. (We had manufactured gas much earlier, but that was long gone by the '50s.) So the '50s is possible, but unlikely. 

The data plate states 66% efficiency (90/135), which is probably what it gets when everything is perfectly balanced, it gets a rolling start, and it has a tailwind behind it. One of my partners used to do combustion analysis on these things and he said that, once tuned up properly (which wasn't particularly difficult), they could deliver about 65% efficiency pretty reliably. 

I was able to get a good view of the burner and the outside of the drum-style heat exchanger, both of which looked great. In the report I observed that the furnace is old and inefficient, but paid for and that it would probably outlast several 

If anyone's interested, I included this paragraph in the report: 


The ancient Holland furnace is working fine today. Modern furnaces are anywhere from 80% efficient (for a cheap one) to 96% efficient. This one is probably in the 60-66% range of efficiency (on a good day). That said, it’s paid for and if you take care of it, it’ll probably outlast several very expensive modern furnaces. Despite its inefficiency, its overall cost of ownership just might be less than the series of new furnaces that might otherwise replace it.






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12 minutes ago, Tom Raymond said:

Then I'm in good company. I've told several clients to keep their old equipment because it will outlast anything they might replace it with. 

On a side note, how many stamps does it take to mail a furnace?

depends on what ZIP code. 


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