We had the HVAC people come today to check our out furnace and gas fireplaces. It turns out that they're all original to the house and so are all thirteen years old. They're all in great shape considering that they appear not to have been maintained since they were installed.
We'd wanted the furnace looked at not just because we the house is new to us but also because the intake air pipe had been cut. It turns out that the furnace exhaust pipe points straight out while the furnace intake pipe points up downwind from the exhaust pipe. So the intake pipe pulls in exhaust air and the furnace doesn't work so well.
So instead of fixing this problem properly when it first appeared, by changing the orientation of the pipes, they just cut the pipe. Fortunately the furnace is rated to have just one pipe instead of the two so the current configuration is ok but it won't work as well as it could have.
I'm not sure how we're going to fix this. The pipes are the old black ABS pipes. If a professional fixes them, we have to have the new white PVC pipes put in because of the new building code (existing pipes are grandfathered in) and that'll cost a lot. Alternatively, we could fix the ABS pipes ourselves by getting some elbow joints and stuff. I'm thinking that it might make sense to have the pipes changed when we get a new furnace, which will be next year or the year after. Our furnace is thirteen years old and is rated for 12-15 years so it's due to be changed anyway.
I'm a little surprised that the owners just cut the pipe instead of fixing it properly. They told us that they hired "professionals" for all of their work but no professional HVAC person would have just cut that pipe: they'd have fixed the problem. Moreover, chances are that the problem showed up during the first year or two the owners lived in the house, long before the PVC pipes had to be put in (I think that came in around 2007) so it would have cost them next to nothing to fix the problem back then.
I guess this is part of the joys of owning a house, right?