7 Things to Know Before Buying a Furnace in Atlanta
Purchasing a new furnace may not be a concern right away. But it’s smart to learn 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 the U.S..
1. Size and Installation Quality
To operate at peak efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be properly sized for your home. When it comes to furnaces, bigger is definitely not better. We frequently get requests from customers to purchase a big furnace in the mistaken belief that a larger furnace is either more dependable or will offer better comfort.
The reverse is true. Large 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 right size but improperly installed, the U.S. Department of Energy says you could forfeit 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 issues with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s attached to.
At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re skilled in repairing and installing various types of home comfort systems. In addition to 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 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 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 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 essential 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 relatively the same for the past 30 years. This motor is the least costly and also the least energy efficient.
- Constant torque motor. This technology strikes a balance between cost and energy efficiency. It delivers an electrical efficiency boost over a standard motor design.
- Variable-speed motor. The most energy-efficient furnaces can operate 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 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 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 difficult to program, especially if your schedule changes from day to day.
A smart thermostat eliminates 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 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 keep tabs on and change 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 replace your air filter.
There’s a significant difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any large purchase, we think it’s best to go with a major brand name. With a leading 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 usually have two primary warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the center of the furnace and the costliest component to replace. This part typically 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 key parts. Warranties can range from as short 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 example, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only include the price 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 complete the product registration right away. Many manufacturers may limit 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 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 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 provides.
A couple of additional 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 less busy season.
- Reap the benefits of rebates from the federal and state government, as well as from your local utility company. 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 look for in a new furnace, when should you replace your old 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 done 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 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 age, the likelihood for frequent furnace repair goes up. If your system is more than 15 years old, those repairs can be particularly 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 extremely inefficient. You could be wasting as much as 30% of the money you spend to heat your home. Excessive energy costs and the desire to decrease energy consumption 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 lower their energy bills.
Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts
It can feel overwhelming trying to investigate furnace features on your own. Or recognize exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Experts are here to make the process much easier. Contact us at 866-397-3787 or schedule an appointment online to book your free home comfort assessment today.
*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.
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