Purchasing a new furnace may not be a concern right away. 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 think about when you're due for furnace replacement in Indianapolis.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To run at maximum efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be properly 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 offer better comfort.
The opposite is true. Oversized furnaces will short cycle, or continuously turn on and off. This leaves you cold, 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 buying a new furnace. Even if it’s the right size but installed wrong, the U.S. Department of Energy says you could lose 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 problems with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as effective as the duct system it’s attached to.
At Broad Ripple Service Experts, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re skilled in repairing and installing various kinds of home comfort systems. In addition to technical skill, our technicians are also trained in treating you fairly. We also support 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 measures 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 now:
- 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 moves air throughout your home. And it also uses a lot of electricity, so it’s essential to know about 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 the same 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 standard motor design.
- Variable-speed motor. The most energy-efficient furnaces can operate 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 enhance your comfort while keeping energy costs down, 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 noise management. 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 chances are you probably aren’t maximizing your energy savings. These thermostats can be complicated to program, particularly if your schedule varies from day to day.
A smart thermostat eliminates all the guessing about energy efficiency. Many models can pick up on 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 anyplace on your phone. Some models can even alert you if they detect 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 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 heart 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 vary based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
- Main components. This involves the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other key parts. Warranties can range from as little as a one-year limited warranty to as long 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 limitations. For example, 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 finish 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 think about these costs and the affect on 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 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.
- Reap the benefits 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 typically 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 often, potentially making it wear out faster. The same applies if you like to keep your home at a warmer temperature.
Repair Frequency and Cost
Just like any appliance, as furnaces age, the potential for frequent furnace repair increases. If your system is more than 15 years old, those repairs can be particularly costly. 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 wasting as much as 30% of the money you spend to heat your home. Excessive energy costs and the desire to reduce energy use 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 feel overwhelming trying to investigate furnace features on your own. Or know exactly when you should replace your furnace. Our Broad Ripple Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Call us at 317-527-0271 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.