Purchasing a new furnace may not be a priority in the immediate future. But it’s wise to learn the things that will likely influence your selection when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to consider when you're due for furnace replacement in Hillsborough.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To run at peak efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be properly sized for your home. When it involves furnaces, bigger is certainly not better. We frequently get requests from customers to purchase a big furnace in the mistaken belief that a larger furnace is either more reliable or will provide better comfort.
The reverse is true. Large furnaces will short cycle, or constantly turn on and off. This leaves you uncomfortable, with higher energy bills and a furnace that could need replacing much sooner.
This is why it’s crucial to work with the right company when buying a new furnace. Even if it’s the correct size but installed wrong, the U.S. Department of Energy says you could lose as much as 30% of your energy efficiency.
Another key component of installation is ductwork. If yours is old or designed wrong, you might have problems with noise or comfort. A furnace is only as effective as the duct system it’s linked to.
At Fras-Air/General Service Experts, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re knowledgeable about repairing and installing various kinds of home comfort systems. In addition to technical skill, our technicians are also trained in treating you ethically. We also support our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee for a year.*
2. Energy Efficiency
Furnaces are rated by a term called AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency. Like miles per gallon on cars, this measures the annual gas consumption of a furnace. The higher the number, the less gas is spent during the heating process.
If your present 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 now:
- 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—best efficiency rating available.
3. Blower Motor Technology
As you research new furnaces there is one more important thing to consider: blower technology. This part moves air throughout your home. And it also uses a lot of electricity, so it’s essential to know about your options.
There are three types 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 relatively 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 cost and energy efficiency. It provides an electrical efficiency boost over a traditional 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 run at a low or medium speed at times. This helps improve your comfort while keeping energy costs low, both in the winter and summer. And it also keeps indoor humidity under control.
4. Sound Reduction Technology
Sound has become a very important consideration with furnace installation, so another great 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 have a programmable thermostat, but chances are you probably aren’t making the most of your energy savings. These thermostats can be difficult to program, particularly 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 create 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 a bonus, you’ll also be able to monitor and adjust your settings from just about anywhere on your phone. Some models can even notify you if they find a problem with your furnace or remind you when it’s time to replace your air filter.
There’s a significant difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any large purchase, we believe it’s best to go with a major brand name. With a leading brand like Lennox® or Goodman®, you’ll have more confidence in the technology and that the manufacturer will uphold its product warranty over the long term.
Furnaces typically have two primary warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the heart of the furnace and the most expensive component to replace. This part usually has a 20-year limited warranty or lifetime limited warranty, but this can vary based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
- Main components. This involves the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other important parts. Warranties can vary from as little as a one-year limited warranty to as much as a 10-year limited warranty.
When going over warranty coverage, it’s essential to know it's limited. So, you should make sure you get the limitations. For example, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only include the price of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a new heat exchanger could get costly.
Once your new furnace is running, make sure you complete the product registration right away. Many manufacturers may reduce the warranty term if the product registration is not done. This step is easy and usually only takes a few minutes.
How much does all this cost anyway? It could vary 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, remember 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 offers.
A couple of additional ways to save include:
- Replacing your air conditioner at the same time.
- Buying at the ideal 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 provider. We can help you figure out this process.
- Finance your new furnace or enroll in 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 old one? Here are a few ideas from our Experts that will help you make that decision.
Heating systems typically 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 desired temperature. If you’re somewhere with harsh winters, your furnace will run more frequently, potentially making it wear out sooner. The same goes if you like to keep your home at a hotter temperature.
Repair Frequency and Cost
Just like any appliance, as furnaces age, the potential for frequent furnace repair increases. If your system is more than 15 years old, those repairs can be especially expensive. Common and costly repairs on an older furnace include:
- Blower motor failures
- Ignition control failures
- Heat exchanger failures
If repairs are greater than the half the price of a new furnace, it’s generally recommended to replace it.
Furnaces older than 15 years can be extremely 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 reduce energy consumption are also strong reasons to consider replacing your furnace. In fact, an independent study by Decision Analyst reveals nearly 20% of homeowners who recently replaced their furnace specifically did so to reduce their energy bills.
Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts
It can feel intimidating trying to research furnace features on your own. Or know exactly when you should replace your furnace. Our Fras-Air/General Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Call us at 908-448-2154 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.