Purchasing a new furnace may not be a priority right away. But it’s wise 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 the Wasatch Front region.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To operate at peak efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be properly sized for your home. When it comes to furnaces, bigger is definitely 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 opposite is true. Oversized furnaces will short cycle, or continuously turn on and off. This leaves you uncomfortable, with higher energy bills and a furnace that could wear out much sooner.
This is why it’s crucial to work with the right company when purchasing 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 key component of installation is ductwork. If yours is old or designed wrong, you might have issues with noise or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s attached to.
At Barlow 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 fairly. 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 greater the number, the less gas is wasted during the heating process.
If your current furnace is 15 years old, it’s likely rated well below 80 AFUE. As an example, if your HVAC system is 70 AFUE, you’re wasting 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 consumes a lot of electricity, so it’s important to be familiar with 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 relatively the same for the past 30 years. This motor is the least costly and also the least energy efficient.
- Constant torque motor. This technology finds 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 run at different speeds. Instead of operating at full speed 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 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
- 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 it's quite possible you probably aren’t maximizing your energy savings. These thermostats can be challenging to program, particularly if your schedule varies from day to day.
A smart thermostat removes all the guessing about energy efficiency. Many models can pick up on 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 necessary.
As a bonus, you’ll also be able to monitor 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 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 assurance in the technology and that the manufacturer will stand by its product warranty over the long term.
Furnaces usually 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 range from as little as a one-year limited warranty to as much as a 10-year limited warranty.
When reviewing warranty coverage, it’s essential to know it's limited. So, you should make sure you understand 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 reduce the warranty term if the product registration is not done. This step is simple and typically 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 think about these costs and the impact to your budget, keep in mind 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 provides.
A couple of other ways to save include:
- Replacing your air conditioner simultaneously.
- 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.
- Take advantage 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 get a new furnace with repairs and maintenance included.*
How Do I Know When to Replace My Furnace?
Now that you know what to search for in a new furnace, when should you replace your old one? Here are a few ideas 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 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 frequently, potentially making it wear out sooner. 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 likelihood for frequent furnace repair increases. 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 price of a new furnace, it’s generally best 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. 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 reveals 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 seem intimidating trying to research furnace features on your own. Or know exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Barlow Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Call us at 801-436-8985 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.