Buying a new furnace may not be a concern right away. But it’s smart to know 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 Albany.
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 certainly not better. We often get requests from customers to install a big furnace in the mistaken belief that a larger furnace is either more dependable or will provide better comfort.
The opposite 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 installed wrong, 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 sound or comfort. A furnace is only as effective as the duct system it’s linked to.
At Roland J. Down 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 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 present 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 consideration: blower technology. This part moves air throughout your home. And it also consumes a lot of electricity, so it’s essential 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 price and energy efficiency. It delivers 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 operate 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 in check.
4. Sound Reduction Technology
Sound has become a very important consideration with furnace installation, so another great improvement has been noise management. Some of these features include:
- Sealed and insulated cabinets
- Variable-speed blower technology
- Whisper-quiet gas burners
With this technology, you might not even be aware 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 challenging to program, especially if your schedule varies from day to day.
A smart thermostat removes all the guesswork about energy efficiency. Many models can pick up on 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 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 change your air filter.
There’s a major difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any big 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 haul.
Furnaces usually have two primary warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the heart of the furnace and the costliest 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 parts. This involves the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other important 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 essential to know it's limited. So, you should make sure you understand the limitations. For example, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only cover the price of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a new heat exchanger could get costly.
Once your new furnace is installed, make sure you complete the product registration right away. Many manufacturers may reduce the warranty term if the product registration is not completed. This step is simple and usually only takes a few minutes.
How much does all this cost anyway? It could range 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, 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 additional ways to save include:
- Replacing your air conditioner at the same time.
- Buying 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 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 sign up for 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 search 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 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 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 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 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 keep your home warm. Excessive energy costs and the desire to reduce energy use 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 Roland J. Down Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Contact us at 518-417-2938 or schedule an appointment online to book 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.