Purchasing a new furnace may not be a concern in the immediate future. 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 you're due for furnace replacement in Philadelphia.
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 certainly not better. We often get requests from customers to purchase a big furnace in the misguided belief that a larger furnace is either more dependable or will provide better comfort.
The reverse 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 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 crucial 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 Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning, 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 support our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee for a year.*
2. Energy Efficiency
Furnaces are ranked 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 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 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 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 important to know about your options.
There are three kinds of blowers available on furnaces today. They include:
- Standard blower motor. Furnaces that aren’t ENERGY STAR rated have a traditional blower motor that’s been mostly the same for the past 30 years. This motor is the least expensive and also the least energy efficient.
- Constant torque motor. This technology finds 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 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 significant 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 be aware 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 complicated to program, particularly if your schedule changes 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 create 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 change 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 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 typically have two primary warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the center 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 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 long 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 cover the price of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a new heat exchanger could get costly.
Once your new furnace is running, make sure you complete the product registration right away. 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 anyway? It could vary 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 impact to your budget, keep in mind 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 other ways to save include:
- Replacing your air conditioner simultaneously.
- 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.
- 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 enroll in 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 decide.
Heating systems usually last 15–20 years. How long yours will keep going depends on whether you’ve done furnace maintenance, where you live and your temperature preferences. If you’re somewhere with harsh winters, your furnace will operate more often, potentially making it wear out faster. The same goes if you like to keep your home at a hotter temperature.
Repair Frequency and Cost
Just like any appliance, as furnaces age, the potential for frequent furnace repair goes up. 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 greater than the half the cost 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 keep your home warm. High 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 seem intimidating trying to research furnace features on your own. Or recognize exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning Experts are here to make the process much easier. Call us at 215-278-9690 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.