Purchasing a new furnace may not be a priority right away. But it’s smart 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 it’s time for furnace replacement in Kitchener.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To run at maximum efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be correctly sized for your home. When it involves furnaces, bigger is definitely not better. We frequently get requests from customers to install a big furnace in the misguided belief that a larger furnace is either more reliable or will provide better comfort.
The opposite 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 important to work with the right company when buying a new furnace. Even if it’s the right 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 designed wrong, you might have problems with noise or comfort. A furnace is only as effective as the duct system it’s attached to.
At Boehmers/Cronin Emery Home Services by Enercare, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re skilled in 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 rated by a term known as AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency. Like miles per gallon on cars, this measures the annual gas consumption of a furnace. The greater 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 evaluate 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 be familiar with your options.
There are three kinds 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 the same 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 standard motor design.
- Variable-speed motor. The most energy-efficient furnaces can operate at different speeds. Instead of running at full speed 24/7, they will quietly run at a low or medium speed at times. This helps enhance your comfort while keeping energy costs down, 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
- 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 difficult to program, especially if your schedule changes from day to day.
A smart thermostat removes 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 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 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 large purchase, we think it’s best to go with a major brand name. With a top brand like Lennox® or Goodman®, you’ll have more assurance in the technology and that the manufacturer will uphold its product warranty over the long haul.
Furnaces usually have two main 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 important parts. Warranties can vary 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 instance, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only include the price 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 immediately. Many manufacturers may limit the warranty term if the product registration is not done. This step is easy 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 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 simultaneously.
- 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 provider. 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 old one? Here are a few tips from our Experts that will help you make that decision.
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 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 goes up. If your system is more than 15 years old, those repairs can be particularly expensive. 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 keep your home warm. Excessive 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 shows nearly 20% of homeowners who recently replaced their furnace specifically did so to reduce their utility 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 Boehmers/Cronin Emery Home Services by Enercare Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Contact us at 519-804-1617 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.