Furnace installation in newer buildings is an uncomplicated process. However, if you have a much, much older commercial building, new furnace installation is complicated. One of the things that can make it so complicated is the ground or flooring where the furnace will go. Before you get your HVAC contractor in to do a furnace installation, get a basement and/or foundation expert to check out the floor area first. Here are a few things worth knowing about this process.
Sunken or Sinking Foundation Needs to Be Leveled
Furnaces, being the boxy-shaped things that they are, need a level floor underneath them. An assessment of the concrete floor by a mason or concrete contractor will help determine if your floor is level enough for the new furnace. If it is not, and the unevenness of the concrete floor is really bad, you may need to focus on creating a level surface first. This can be accomplished by either ripping up the current concrete floor and making a new one, or by pouring wet concrete to level out the floor.
If the building is so old that it only has a dirt floor, the dirt floor has to be raked smooth and made level. Since this is the first step toward pouring a concrete floor, a concrete contractor could do this for you. Then if you decide you want a concrete floor to cover the dirt one, your contractor is right there and can do the job.
Concrete Floors Need to Be Thick Enough for Bolting
Most furnaces are bolted to the floor to stabilize them. During the assessment phase to see if the flooring is level enough, the contractor may also assess the floor for thickness. It does have to be reasonably thick in the areas where the furnace will sit because the bolts could crack the concrete severely if the concrete is too thin.
If the concrete is level but too thin, the contractor can add layers to strengthen the floor. He or she may also add a layer of rebar to the floor to reinforce it and reinforce it against earthquakes, if that is a regular problem in your area. Then when the HVAC contractor bolts the furnace in place, the concrete floor is protected.
Platforms for Furnaces
You could also build a concrete platform for your furnace. This eliminates the more labor-intensive work orders for leveling the floor and making it thick enough. However, you do have to have enough head clearance in the basement of the building for this particular solution.
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