Buying a new furnace may not be a priority 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 it’s time for furnace replacement in Waukegan.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To run at peak efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be correctly sized for your home. When it involves furnaces, bigger is definitely not better. We often get requests from customers to purchase a big furnace in the mistaken belief that a larger furnace is either more reliable or will provide better comfort.
The reverse is true. Large furnaces will short cycle, or constantly turn on and off. This leaves you uncomfortable, with more expensive energy bills and a furnace that could wear out much sooner.
This is why it’s crucial to work with the right company when purchasing a new furnace. Even if it’s the correct size but improperly installed, 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 designed wrong, you might have issues with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s attached to.
At Robinson 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 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 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 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 research new furnaces there is one more important consideration: blower technology. This part circulates air throughout your home. And it also consumes 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 relatively the same for the past 30 years. This motor is the least expensive and also the least energy efficient.
- Constant torque motor. This technology strikes a balance between price and energy efficiency. It delivers an electrical efficiency boost over a standard motor design.
- Variable-speed motor. The most energy-efficient furnaces can run 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 enhance 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 significant 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 maximizing your energy savings. These thermostats can be difficult to program, particularly if your schedule changes from day to day.
A smart thermostat removes all the guessing 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 a bonus, 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 wisest 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 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 typically has a 20-year limited warranty or lifetime limited warranty, but this can vary based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
- Main parts. 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 understand 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 very expensive.
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 done. This step is easy and usually 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 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 buy, 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 simultaneously.
- 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 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 get 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 typically 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 in a place with harsh winters, your furnace will operate 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 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 recommended 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. 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 utility bills.
Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts
It can feel intimidating trying to investigate furnace features on your own. Or know exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Robinson Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Contact us at 847-306-8730 or schedule an appointment online to request 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.