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Question DetailsAsked on 8/13/2016

How do I replace the wooden shelf under my furnace?

My furnace has been leaking and now the wooden shelf at the bottom of the furnace closet has become rotten. The floor to the closet is a couple feet above the floor. Is there a way to remove and replace the rotten wood without having to remove the indoor unit?

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1 Answer


Couple of ways without totally removing the unit, both of which require temporarily disconnecting and possibly removing the supply plenum and gasline - electric cable and thermostat wires might or might not have enough slack but be sure power is turned off in case the wires end up getting pulled by accident.

1) Depending on how the frame for the unit goes and room under it with side or front and back panels removed, you might be able to slip 2x4's or a piece of thick plywood in under to span across the platform (side to side or front to back) to temporary supporting posts or blocking that lift it up just a tad, take out the existing plywood decking and put in new, then gently remove the temporary supports and hook the plenum and gasline back up.

2) again depending on framing (side panels will almost certainly not carry the load without crumpling) run nylon tow straps in under and up around the unit, and lift it up with an engine hoist. Or (being careful about eye bolt load capacity and that they are centered in floor joists above) by putting four eye lag screws into ceiling joists and using cam straps or come-along or chain hoist or such to hoist it up enough to provide clearance. Or shim the unit up with prybar and wood shims or blocking to lift it up 1-2 inches or so (to provide some room for suspension rope stretch), then snugly tie off ropes or chains or such from the ceiling eyes to hold it, remove the shims, then do the rotten board replacement.

Be sure whichever method you use that you have 4-point (or two board) support so it does not turn turtle on you - and note the weight distribution is quite uneven - usually heavily toward the back.

Of course, to prevent a repeat and avoid rust damage to the furnace, you need to get the A/C evaporator coil or dehumidifieer drain pan draining, or humidifier leak that caused the rot fixed too.

If boiler same process - but of course usually quite a bit heavier than a forced air furance, and you have to be careful not to break the pipes, which usually only will have 1/2" or so of upward slack before you start bending them. And of course drain it first.

One other thought - check code height for the platform in your area - usually 18" from floor to ignition source in garages, no minimum height generally in living areas, so I am presuming this utility closet is in the garage. So - if the platform is higher than required byu code, you might be able to hold it up with blocking or straps without lifting it at all, remove the existing deck and replace it a touch lower (just enough to clear for installation) then lower the furnace/boiler a fraction of an inch onto the new decking.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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