Buying a new furnace may not be a priority right away. But it’s wise to know the things that will likely impact your choice when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to think about when it’s time for furnace replacement in Roanoke.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To operate at peak 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 purchase a big furnace in the mistaken belief that a larger furnace is either more reliable or will offer better comfort.
The reverse is true. Oversized furnaces will short cycle, or constantly 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 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 improperly designed, you might have problems with noise or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s linked to.
At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re skilled in 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 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 spent 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 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 compare new furnaces there is one more important thing to consider: blower technology. This part circulates air throughout your home. And it also uses a lot of electricity, so it’s essential to know about 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 unchanged 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 delivers an electrical efficiency boost over a traditional 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 operate 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 significant 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
- Nearly silent gas burners
With this technology, you might not even be aware that your furnace is running.
5. Smart Thermostat
You probably use a programmable thermostat, but chances are you probably aren’t making the most of your energy savings. These thermostats can be challenging to program, particularly if your schedule varies 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 a bonus, you’ll also be able to monitor and adjust 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 change your air filter.
There’s a major difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any large 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 haul.
Furnaces usually have two main warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the heart of the furnace and the most expensive component to replace. This part typically 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 important parts. Warranties can range from as little as a one-year limited warranty to as long as a 10-year limited warranty.
When going over 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 cover 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 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 anyway? 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 provides.
A couple of additional ways to save include:
- Getting a new air conditioner at the same time.
- 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 slower 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 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 outdated one? Here are a few ideas from our Experts that will help you decide.
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 run more frequently, potentially making it wear out sooner. The same goes if you like to keep your home at a warmer 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 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 very 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 reduce energy use are also strong reasons to consider 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 lower their energy bills.
Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts
It can feel intimidating trying to investigate furnace features on your own. Or know exactly when you should replace your furnace. Our Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning Experts are here to make the process much easier. Call us at 540-302-8645 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.