Buying a new furnace may not be a concern in the immediate future. But it’s smart to know the things that will likely impact your choice when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to consider when it’s time for furnace replacement in Livermore.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To run 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 install a big furnace in the mistaken belief that a larger furnace is either more dependable or will offer better comfort.
The opposite is true. Oversized furnaces will short cycle, or constantly turn on and off. This leaves you cold, 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 right size but installed wrong, the U.S. Department of Energy says you could forfeit 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 noise or comfort. A furnace is only as effective as the duct system it’s attached 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 fairly. We also stand behind our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee for a year.*
2. Energy Efficiency
Furnaces are ranked by a term known as AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency. Like miles per gallon on cars, this rates 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 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 compare 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 be familiar with 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 unchanged 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 price and energy efficiency. It provides 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 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 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 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 removes all the guessing about energy efficiency. Many models can learn from 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 an extra perk, you’ll also be able to keep tabs on 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 replace your air filter.
There’s a significant difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any big 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 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 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 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 little as a one-year limited warranty to as much 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 instance, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only include the cost 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 immediately. 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 system.
As you consider these costs and the affect on 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 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 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 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 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 frequently, potentially making it wear out faster. The same applies if you like to keep your home at a hotter 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 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 extremely inefficient. You could be throwing away as much as 30% of the money you spend to heat your home. High energy costs and the desire to decrease energy consumption 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 reduce their energy bills.
Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts
It can seem 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 smoother. Call us at 925-364-5427 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.