Purchasing a new furnace may not be a priority in the immediate future. But it’s smart to learn the things that will likely impact your choice when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to consider when you're due for furnace replacement in Albany.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To run at maximum 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 install a big furnace in the mistaken belief that a larger furnace is either more dependable 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 need replacing 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 improperly installed, the U.S. Department of Energy says you could lose 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 noise or comfort. A furnace is only as effective as the duct system it’s attached to.
At D.A. Bennett Service Experts, 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 fairly. 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 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—best efficiency rating available.
3. Blower Motor Technology
As you research new furnaces there is one more important consideration: blower technology. This part circulates air throughout your home. And it also consumes a lot of electricity, so it’s important to know about your options.
There are three types of blowers available on furnaces today. They include:
- Standard blower motor. Furnaces that aren’t ENERGY STAR rated have a standard blower motor that’s been mostly unchanged for the past 30 years. This motor is the least costly 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 run at different speeds. Instead of operating at full blast 24/7, they will quietly run at a low or medium speed at times. This helps enhance 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 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 running.
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 eliminates all the guessing about energy efficiency. Many models can pick up on your temperature preferences and then create 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 keep tabs on and change your settings from just about anywhere 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 change your air filter.
There’s a significant difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any large purchase, we think it’s wisest 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 differ based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
- Main components. This includes the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other key parts. Warranties can vary from as short 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 instance, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only include the cost of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a new heat exchanger could get very expensive.
Once your new furnace is running, make sure you complete the product registration right away. Many manufacturers may limit the warranty term if the product registration is not completed. This step is simple and typically 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 model.
As you consider these costs and the impact to 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 simultaneously.
- Purchasing at the ideal time, such as in early fall, mid-winter and early spring. You may be able to get additional discounts and rebates during this less busy season.
- Take advantage 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 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 outdated one? Here are a few tips from our Experts that will help you decide.
Heating systems typically last 15–20 years. How long yours will last depends on whether you’ve done furnace maintenance, where you live and your temperature preferences. If you’re somewhere with harsh winters, your furnace will operate more frequently, potentially making it wear out faster. The same applies if you like to keep your home at a warmer 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 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 best 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 use are also strong reasons to think about 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 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 D.A. Bennett Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Call us at 518-205-3324 or schedule an appointment online to request 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.