A higher efficiency furnace costs more than a standard furnace. Manufacturers realized there was a simple way to make a relatively ordinary furnace high efficiency and add a few bucks to the price. The idea is simple and straight forward. A gas furnace sucks in air and burns it with the gas, the air and the carbon monoxide go out through the flue pipe (white PVC) and are expelled. This system uses already heated air from inside the house and expels through the flue pipe wasting already heated air. The upgrade adds a second PVC pipe with one end attached to the furnace and the other end outside. So that all the air used to burn with the gas is brought in from outside. This means that no heated air from inside the house is been expelled when the furnace operates. Unfortunately every week we see furnaces like the one in the photo with the air intake pipe terminated above the furnace, sucking air in from the house, costing more to operate and wasting the money spent for higher efficiency. That second is what we describe as an “incomplete installation” if you look at your furnace and find this problem your installer did nothing unsafe but it’s a not what the manufacturer intended.
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