Like any complex system, your furnace has a finite lifespan and it tends to fail at the worst possible times. Replacing a furnace can be an expensive proposition, but it is possible to mitigate the costs and get good deals at any time of the year. In this article, we will explore this issue in more detail to help you make some informed choices.
Do I Need a New Furnace?
This is a valid question. It may seem strange, but some homeowners replace a furnace that still has some good years of service to offer. This is especially true if the furnace has been regularly serviced. Most furnaces tend to have a useful lifespan in the 12-15 years range, but well maintained equipment will be at the upper end of the estimate. It’s hard to make the decision to change the furnace without advice from your local HVAC specialist. But, as a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to look at the cost and frequency of the repairs. If you are spending a lot of money to keep the furnace running and the energy bills are rising, it’s time to get a new unit. If you get your furnace maintained regularly, the technician will be able to give you a pretty good estimate on how long it will last. This can be useful, you can set aside some money to pay for the inevitable replacement later. When you budget in this way, it can soften the blow when you need to buy and install your new furnace.
Taking the First Step to Your New Furnace
Although it may seem daunting to get a new furnace, it could be a blessing in disguise. The heating and cooling industry moves quickly and new innovations are added all the time. This is especially true when you consider the energy efficiency of modern furnaces when compared to units only a few years old. Of course, a new furnace is a major purchase and you need to consider your options before you make a final decision. The first step is to get a quote on a furnace that meets your needs. The furnace needs to be correctly sized for your home and this may require a complex load calculation. Take some time to look for a good deal and there may be rebates to offset the costs.
Do Your Research in Advance
If you know that your furnace is going to fail in advance, you will have more time to research a replacement unit. The best deals are offered by local licensed and certified HVAC contractors that have a well established track record in your neighborhood. Ask your friends, family and work colleagues about experiences they have had with HVAC installations. Check the online reviews of local heating and cooling companies and ask them for a quote. When you have a few quotes, it’s tempting to choose the least expensive, but that may not be the best option. In many aspects of life, it’s usually a good idea to choose a contractor that carries out good work at a fair price. That is typically the quote in the middle, but this is not a hard and fast rule.
Always Choose an HVAC Professional
Although it’s tempting to “save money” by hiring a local handyman or another unqualified person, this is a bad decision. A furnace installation should only be carried out by a licensed and certified HVAC technician with plenty of relevant experience. A poor installation is dangerous, it could cause a gas leak or even a house fire. Aside from these safety concerns, a poorly installed furnace may not perform at optimal efficiency. Ultimately you may lose money and you may need to hire a professional HVAC company to fix the problems anyway. Always choose a professional to protect your investment and get the job done right the first time.
Another advantage to choosing a professional contractor is that they can make recommendations. After checking out your existing furnace and making a load calculator they can help you to select a furnace that should meet your needs. They can answer any questions that you have about prices, performance, the warranty, rebates, energy efficiency, and much more.
Great Deals and Potential Rebates
It may be possible to get some kind of incentive to install a high-efficiency furnace from your local or state utility provider. There may be other deals available and in many cases, they stack, which can result in some substantial savings. Check with both your local and state utility company for any promotions they are running now. If you’re lucky, this may offset a lot of the furnace replacement costs and you get a modern furnace at a fraction of the price. But, be aware that these offers are typically restricted to expensive models that have improved energy efficiency benefits. If your budget will only stretch to a less expensive model, you may not qualify. If a high-efficiency furnace is just out of reach, it may be worth considering financing to make the most of a good deal.
HVAC Contractor Estimates
Most HVAC contractors will contact you via phone or email to send you their estimate for the new furnace installation. This will include information, such as the furnace model, the square footage of your home, the number of registers required, useful photos, video footage, and more. This may seem overwhelming and it’s usually better to get the contractor to visit you at home for a more accurate quote. This is when the HVAC contractor will look at the existing furnace taking note of the make, model, and serial number. At this stage, the contractor may look at the ductwork, registers, and thermostat to get all the information they need to supply you with a detailed quote. Always ask for a written quote to ensure that there is no confusion about the amount or hidden charges.
Installing the Furnace
Fall is the best time for an installation before the weather turns colder. Many contractors are busy in winter dealing with failing furnaces and essential repairs. Unless a total failure has occurred, you may need to wait 2-3 weeks to get a technician to visit your home. If you have downtime, use it wisely to work out your budget and research the type of furnace that you want. This will speed up the process and limit the time with no furnace if an urgent replacement is needed.
If your furnace needs a service, repair or replacement, contact your local HVAC contractor today.