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 Champaign.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To operate at maximum efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be correctly 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 provide better comfort.
The reverse is true. Oversized furnaces will short cycle, or continuously 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 crucial to work with the right company when buying 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 key component of installation is ductwork. If yours is old or designed wrong, you might have issues with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as effective as the duct system it’s attached to.
At Chief/Bauer Service Experts, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re knowledgeable about repairing and installing various kinds 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 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 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—best 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 important to be familiar with 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 traditional blower motor that’s been mostly 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 operating 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 under control.
4. Sound Reduction Technology
Sound has become a very important 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 it's quite possible you probably aren’t making the most of your energy savings. These thermostats can be complicated to program, particularly if your schedule changes from day to day.
A smart thermostat removes all the guesswork about energy efficiency. Many models can learn from your temperature preferences and then produce 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 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 large purchase, we think 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 uphold 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 differ based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
- Main parts. This involves the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other important parts. Warranties can vary 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 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 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 impact to 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 right 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 navigate 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 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 make that decision.
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 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 costly. 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 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 reduce 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 utility 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 Chief/Bauer Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much more convenient. Call us at 217-689-2469 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.