Purchasing a new furnace may not be a priority in the immediate future. But it’s wise to know the things that will likely influence your selection when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to consider when it’s time for furnace replacement in Girard.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To run at maximum efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be properly sized for your home. When it comes to furnaces, bigger is definitely not better. We often get requests from customers to install a big furnace in the mistaken belief that a larger furnace is either more reliable or will offer better comfort.
The reverse is true. Large furnaces will short cycle, or continuously turn on and off. This leaves you uncomfortable, with more expensive energy bills and a furnace that could wear out much sooner.
This is why it’s important to work with the right company when purchasing a new furnace. Even if it’s the correct size but installed wrong, the U.S. Department of Energy says you could forfeit as much as 30% of your energy efficiency.
Another key component of installation is ductwork. If yours is old or improperly designed, you might have problems with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s linked to.
At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re knowledgeable about repairing and installing various types of home comfort systems. In addition to technical skill, our technicians are also trained in treating you ethically. We also stand behind our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee for a year.*
2. Energy Efficiency
Furnaces are ranked by a term known as AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency. Like miles per gallon on cars, this rates the annual gas consumption of a furnace. The greater the number, the less gas is spent during the heating process.
If your current furnace is 15 years old, it’s likely ranked well below 80 AFUE. As an example, if your HVAC system is 70 AFUE, you’re throwing away up to 30 cents of each dollar you spend on heating.
Here’s how AFUE ratings work today:
- 80 AFUE—minimum efficiency rating in the U.S. and Canada.
- 90 AFUE—ENERGY STAR® rating for furnaces in the U.S. South.
- 95 AFUE—ENERGY STAR® rating for furnaces in the U.S. North and Canada.
- 98 AFUE—highest efficiency rating available.
3. Blower Motor Technology
As you evaluate new furnaces there is one more important consideration: blower technology. This part moves air throughout your home. And it also consumes a lot of electricity, so it’s essential to be familiar with your options.
There are three kinds of blowers available on furnaces nowadays. They include:
- Standard blower motor. Furnaces that aren’t ENERGY STAR rated have a traditional blower motor that’s been mostly unchanged for the past 30 years. This motor is the least expensive and also the least energy efficient.
- Constant torque motor. This technology strikes a balance between price and energy efficiency. It provides an electrical efficiency boost over a standard motor design.
- Variable-speed motor. The most energy-efficient furnaces can operate at different speeds. Instead of running at full blast 24/7, they will quietly operate at a low or medium speed at times. This helps improve your comfort while keeping energy costs down, both in the winter and summer. And it also keeps indoor humidity in check.
4. Sound Reduction Technology
Sound has become a very significant consideration with furnace installation, so another dramatic improvement has been keeping noise under control. Some of these features include:
- Sealed and insulated cabinets
- Variable-speed blower technology
- Nearly silent gas burners
With this technology, you might not even notice that your furnace is running.
5. Smart Thermostat
You probably use a programmable thermostat, but it's quite possible you probably aren’t maximizing your energy savings. These thermostats can be complicated to program, especially if your schedule changes from day to day.
A smart thermostat eliminates all the guessing about energy efficiency. Many models can learn from your temperature preferences and then produce an energy-saving schedule to match. They also recognize when you’re home or away and will adjust your heating and cooling as needed.
As an extra perk, you’ll also be able to keep tabs on and change your settings from just about anyplace on your phone. Some models can even notify you if they detect a problem with your furnace or remind you when it’s time to replace your air filter.
There’s a major difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any big purchase, we think it’s wisest to go with a major brand name. With a top brand like Lennox® or Goodman®, you’ll have more confidence in the technology and that the manufacturer will stand by its product warranty over the long term.
Furnaces typically have two primary warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the center of the furnace and the costliest component to replace. This part typically has a 20-year limited warranty or lifetime limited warranty, but this can vary based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
- Main parts. This involves the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other key parts. Warranties can vary from as little as a one-year limited warranty to as long as a 10-year limited warranty.
When going over warranty coverage, it’s important to know it's limited. So, you should make sure you understand the limitations. For instance, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only include the cost of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a replacing heat exchanger could get very expensive.
Once your new furnace is installed, make sure you finish the product registration right away. Many manufacturers may limit the warranty term if the product registration is not done. This step is simple and usually only takes a few minutes.
How much does all this cost anyhow? It could range from $1,700 for a basic furnace, or $5,500 or more for a high-efficiency model.
As you consider these costs and the affect on your budget, keep in mind that unlike nearly every other appliance you may need to purchase, your new furnace may help pay for itself from the monthly energy savings it provides.
A couple of additional ways to save include:
- Replacing your air conditioner at the same time.
- Buying at the right time, such as in early fall, mid-winter and early spring. You may be able to get extra discounts and rebates during this slower season.
- Reap the benefits of rebates from the federal and state government, as well as from your local utility company. We can help you figure out this process.
- Finance your new furnace or sign up for our exclusive HVAC Advantage Program™. For just one low monthly fee, you’ll get a new furnace with repairs and maintenance included.*
How Do I Know When to Replace My Furnace?
Now that you know what to look for in a new furnace, when should you replace your outdated one? Here are a few ideas from our Experts that will help you decide.
Heating systems usually last 15–20 years. How long yours will keep going depends on whether you’ve kept up with furnace maintenance, where you live and your temperature preferences. If you’re in a place with harsh winters, your furnace will operate more often, potentially making it wear out faster. The same goes if you like to keep your home at a warmer temperature.
Repair Frequency and Cost
Just like any appliance, as furnaces get older, the potential for frequent furnace repair goes up. If your system is more than 15 years old, those repairs can be particularly costly. Common and expensive repairs on an older furnace include:
- Blower motor failures
- Ignition control failures
- Heat exchanger failures
If repairs are more than the half the cost of a new furnace, it’s generally recommended to replace it.
Furnaces older than 15 years can be very inefficient. You could be throwing away as much as 30% of the money you spend to heat your home. High energy costs and the desire to decrease energy consumption are also strong reasons to think about replacing your furnace. In fact, an independent study by Decision Analyst shows nearly 20% of homeowners who recently replaced their furnace specifically did so to lower their utility bills.
Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts
It can feel intimidating trying to investigate furnace features on your own. Or recognize exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning Experts are here to make the process much smoother. Call us at 330-269-7235 or schedule an appointment online to book your free home comfort assessment now.
*For HVAC Service Memberships, certain warranty exclusions and limitations apply. See your signed agreement for full terms and conditions. For the Advantage Program™, please see your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. Lease with approved credit; visit ServiceExperts.com for details.