Purchasing a new furnace may not be a concern right away. But it’s wise 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 Calgary.
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 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 offer better comfort.
The opposite is true. Oversized 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 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 problems with noise or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s linked to.
At A1 Chesney 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 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 measures 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—highest efficiency rating available.
3. Blower Motor Technology
As you evaluate 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 nowadays. They include:
- Standard blower motor. Furnaces that aren’t ENERGY STAR rated have a traditional blower motor that’s been relatively unchanged 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 traditional motor design.
- Variable-speed motor. The most energy-efficient furnaces can run 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 improve 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 significant 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 on.
5. Smart Thermostat
You probably use a programmable thermostat, but it's quite possible you probably aren’t making the most of your energy savings. These thermostats can be complicated to program, especially if your schedule varies from day to day.
A smart thermostat eliminates 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 recognize 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 monitor and adjust your settings from just about anyplace on your phone. Some models can even alert 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 think it’s best to go with a major brand name. With a top brand like Lennox® or Goodman®, you’ll have more confidence 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 center 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 vary based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
- Main components. This includes the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other important parts. Warranties can vary from as short 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 restrictions. For example, 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 reduce the warranty term if the product registration is not completed. This step is easy and usually 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 system.
As you think about these costs and the affect on 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 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 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 desired temperature. If you’re in a place with harsh winters, your furnace will operate 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 likelihood for frequent furnace repair goes up. 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 greater 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 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 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 A1 Chesney Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Contact us at 587-315-5271 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.