There are many important furnace replacement considerations when purchasing a new heating unit. Thinking through these can help you benefit from the investment for many years. If your existing unit needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are increasing, here are eight important considerations for furnace replacement.
1. Cost vs. Efficiency
The more efficient a furnace, the higher its upfront cost. A replacement furnace will be more energy efficient just because it’s newer and modern furnaces are designed to run more efficiently. The options range from models meeting minimum efficiency requirements to units up to 98% AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency). If you can’t afford the highest-efficiency furnace available, go with the most efficient one you can afford. It can help recoup some of the costs of furnace replacement over time.
2. Furnace Size
Any reputable furnace contractor will tell you a bigger furnace won’t heat your home faster. Choosing a smaller furnace just to save upfront is also not a good idea. The capacity of every furnace is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs).
The more BTUs it has, the more powerful the furnace. But if the heater is too big for your home, it will cycle more frequently and work harder, which can lead to higher operating costs and more frequent repairs. If you install a furnace that is too small, it won’t adequately heat your home. It will also run more often and increase utility bills.
Therefore, it’s essential to have a licensed contractor evaluate your home and determine the correct sized furnace. Calculations for furnace capacity not only factor square footage but also climate zone.
3. Burner Type
Different burner types impact comfort and furnace efficiency. They include a single-stage burner that runs fully on or off. It is the least efficient. A two-stage burner allows the unit to run on high or low, so you can save energy on milder days. However, a modulating burner can adjust in increments between off and high, allowing a furnace to run at peak efficiency.
4. Blower Type
The blower delivers heated air to rooms in your home. Like a single-stage burner, a single-speed blower is either on or off. However, a multi-speed blower can operate at low, medium, or high speeds, providing more control. Capable of incremental adjustments, a variable-speed blower is the most efficient and helps the system adjust to any level of demand and achieve a more consistent room temperature.
5. Temperature Zoning
Furnace replacement provides the opportunity to create zoning. This allows you to add multiple thermostats to control the temperature of different rooms or areas independently. Two or three zones are sufficient for most homes. However, more can be created if needed.
Zones are often created for living and sleeping areas. Therefore, you can turn off the heat in a bedroom when it’s not in use, saving energy and reducing utility costs.
Be sure to compare warranties when selecting a furnace. A warranty can save you a great deal but can also cost you. When choosing one, verify the coverage is for comparable furnaces; for example, a high-efficiency furnace is more expensive and tends to have a longer warranty.
The equipment manufacturer often provides warranty coverage. But the installer or HVAC company can provide it too (inquire about labor coverage if the standard warranty doesn’t include it). A separate warranty may cover the heat exchanger.
7. Carefully Consider Price/Opportunities to Save
A cheaper furnace or an overpriced system can be a poor match. Your budget is an important consideration, but also consider your heating needs, the purchase price, and the lifetime cost of the furnace. Instead of lower-cost units, look for rebates and incentives from utility companies to save on high-efficiency models. These can make a higher-quality furnace more affordable.
8. Quality of Installation
A successful furnace replacement is possible only with a high-quality installation. For this, you need an experienced, licensed HVAC contractor. A qualified heating contractor will consider all the variables and ensure your furnace is properly installed. They can anticipate any unexpected issues along the way and quickly find solutions. The system will be tested to verify it’s working correctly and efficiently, while a workmanship guarantee will help protect your initial investment.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
Our furnace repair and replacement professionals are available 24/7 to help customers across Portland and The Dalles. When you need furnace replacement, we’ll custom-design a new system that includes the latest, most energy-efficient equipment. To get started, call (503) 744-6401 today.