Purchasing a new furnace may not be a priority right away. But it’s wise to know the things that will likely influence your choice when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to think about when you're due for furnace replacement in Edmonton.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To operate at maximum efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be correctly 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 reliable or will provide better comfort.
The opposite is true. Large furnaces will short cycle, or continuously turn on and off. This leaves you cold, 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 buying a new furnace. Even if it’s the right size but installed wrong, 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 improperly designed, you might have problems with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s attached to.
At McKinley Heating Service Experts, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re skilled in repairing and installing various kinds 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 measures the annual gas consumption of a furnace. The greater 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 moves air throughout your home. And it also uses a lot of electricity, so it’s important 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 standard blower motor that’s been mostly 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 price 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 blast 24/7, they will quietly run 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 great improvement has been noise management. 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 on.
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 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 needed.
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 significant difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any large purchase, we believe 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 stand by its product warranty over the long haul.
Furnaces typically have two main warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the center 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 vary 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 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 get the restrictions. For example, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only cover the cost of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a replacing heat exchanger could get costly.
Once your new furnace is running, 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 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 model.
As you think about these costs and the affect on your budget, remember that unlike nearly every other appliance you may need to purchase, 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 at the same time.
- 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 less busy season.
- Take advantage 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 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 old one? Here are a few ideas 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 kept up with furnace maintenance, where you live and your desired temperature. If you’re in a place with harsh winters, your furnace will run more frequently, potentially making it wear out faster. 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 particularly expensive. Common and costly repairs on an older furnace include:
- Blower motor failures
- Ignition control failures
- Heat exchanger failures
If repairs are greater 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 reveals nearly 20% of homeowners who recently replaced their furnace specifically did so to reduce their energy bills.
Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts
It can feel intimidating trying to investigate furnace features on your own. Or recognize exactly when you should replace your furnace. Our McKinley Heating Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much easier. Call us at 780-800-7092 or schedule an appointment online to request 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.