Purchasing a new furnace may not be a concern in the immediate future. But it’s wise to learn the things that will likely impact 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 La Porte.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To run at peak efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be correctly sized for your home. When it involves furnaces, bigger is definitely not better. We often get requests from customers to install a big furnace in the misguided belief that a larger furnace is either more dependable or will provide better comfort.
The reverse is true. Oversized furnaces will short cycle, or constantly turn on and off. This leaves you cold, with more expensive 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 right size but installed wrong, the U.S. Department of Energy says you could forfeit as much as 30% of your energy efficiency.
Another crucial component of installation is ductwork. If yours is old or improperly designed, you might have issues with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as effective as the duct system it’s linked to.
At Finch Air Conditioning & Heating, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re knowledgeable about repairing and installing various types of home comfort systems. Besides 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 called AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency. Like miles per gallon on cars, this rates the annual gas consumption of a furnace. The higher the number, the less gas is wasted 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 compare new furnaces there is one more important consideration: blower technology. This part circulates air throughout your home. And it also uses a lot of electricity, so it’s important 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 standard blower motor that’s been relatively the same for the past 30 years. This motor is the least expensive and also the least energy efficient.
- Constant torque motor. This technology finds a balance between cost and energy efficiency. It delivers 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 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 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
- Whisper-quiet gas burners
With this technology, you might not even notice that your furnace is on.
5. Smart Thermostat
You probably have a programmable thermostat, but chances are you probably aren’t maximizing your energy savings. These thermostats can be challenging to program, especially if your schedule changes from day to day.
A smart thermostat removes all the guesswork about energy efficiency. Many models can learn from your temperature preferences and then produce an energy-saving schedule to match. They also know when you’re home or away and will adjust your heating and cooling as necessary.
As an extra perk, you’ll also be able to monitor and change your settings from just about anyplace on your phone. Some models can even alert 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 believe 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 usually have two main warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the center 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 differ based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
- Main components. This involves the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other key parts. Warranties can range from as short as a one-year limited warranty to as much as a 10-year limited warranty.
When reviewing warranty coverage, it’s important 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 replacing heat exchanger could get costly.
Once your new furnace is installed, make sure you complete the product registration immediately. Many manufacturers may limit the warranty term if the product registration is not completed. This step is easy and usually only takes a few minutes.
How much does all this cost anyhow? It could vary from $1,700 for a basic furnace, or $5,500 or more for a high-efficiency system.
As you consider these costs and the affect on your budget, remember that unlike nearly every other appliance you may need to buy, your new furnace may help pay for itself from the monthly energy savings it offers.
A couple of additional ways to save include:
- Getting a new air conditioner at the same time.
- Purchasing 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 less busy season.
- Reap the benefits of rebates from the federal and state government, as well as from your local utility company. We can help you navigate this process.
- Finance your new furnace or enroll in our exclusive HVAC Advantage Program™. For just one low monthly fee, you’ll receive 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 tips from our Experts that will help you make that decision.
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 desired temperature. If you’re somewhere with harsh winters, your furnace will operate more often, potentially making it wear out faster. The same applies if you like to keep your home at a hotter temperature.
Repair Frequency and Cost
Just like any appliance, as furnaces get older, 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 more than the half the price of a new furnace, it’s generally best to replace it.
Furnaces older than 15 years can be extremely inefficient. You could be wasting 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 lower their utility bills.
Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts
It can seem overwhelming trying to research furnace features on your own. Or know exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Finch Air Conditioning & Heating Experts are here to make the process much more convenient. Call us at 281-407-9478 or schedule an appointment online to request your free home comfort assessment today.
*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.