7 Things to Be Aware of Before Buying a Furnace in Houston
Purchasing a new furnace may not be a concern right away. But it’s smart to learn the things that will likely influence 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 Houston.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To operate at maximum efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be properly sized for your home. When it comes to 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 dependable or will provide better comfort.
The reverse is true. Oversized furnaces will short cycle, or continuously turn on and off. This leaves you cold, with higher energy bills and a furnace that could need replacing much sooner.
This is why it’s important to work with the right company when purchasing a new furnace. Even if it’s the right size but improperly installed, the U.S. Department of Energy says you could lose as much as 30% of your energy efficiency.
Another key component of the installation is ductwork. If yours is old or designed wrong, you might have problems with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s linked to.
At Church Services, 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 ethically. We also support 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 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 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 evaluate 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 types 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 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 is a balance between cost and energy efficiency. It delivers an electrical efficiency boost over a traditional motor design.
- Variable-speed motor. The most energy-efficient furnaces can operate at different speeds. Instead of running at full blast 24/7, they will quietly operate at a low or medium speed at times. This helps improve your comfort while keeping energy costs down, both in the winter and summer. And it also keeps indoor humidity in check.
4. Sound Reduction Technology
Sound has become a very significant consideration with furnace installation, so another dramatic 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 notice that your furnace is running.
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 varies from day to day.
A smart thermostat removes all the guesswork 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 needed.
As an extra perk, you’ll also be able to monitor and change your settings from just about anyplace 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 change your air filter.
There’s a major difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any large purchase, we believe 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 stand by its product warranty over the long term.
Furnaces usually have two main warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the center of the furnace and the most expensive 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 important parts. Warranties can range 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 include the cost of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a replacing heat exchanger could get very expensive.
Once your new furnace is running, make sure you finish the product registration immediately. 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 model.
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 purchase, your new furnace may help pay for itself from the monthly energy savings it provides.
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 extra discounts and rebates during this slower season.
- Reap the benefits of rebates from the federal and state government, as well as from your local utility provider. We can help you figure out 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 search for in a new furnace, when should you replace your old one? Here are a few ideas from our Experts that will help you decide.
Heating systems typically last 15–20 years. How long yours will last depends on whether you’ve kept up with furnace maintenance, where you live, and your desired temperature. If you’re in a place with harsh winters, your furnace will operate more often, potentially making it wear out sooner. 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 goes up. If your system is more than 15 years old, those repairs can be particularly expensive. 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 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. High energy costs and the desire to decrease energy use 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 research furnace features on your own. Or recognize exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Church Services Experts are here to make the process much more convenient. Contact us at 713-396-3760 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.