Buying a new furnace may not be a priority in the immediate future. But it’s wise to learn 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 Hilton Head Island.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To run at peak efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be properly sized for your home. When it involves furnaces, bigger is certainly not better. We often get requests from customers to purchase a big furnace in the misguided belief that a larger furnace is either more reliable or will offer better comfort.
The reverse is true. Large 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 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 crucial component of installation is ductwork. If yours is old or improperly designed, you might have issues with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s linked to.
At Epperson 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 fairly. We also support our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee for a year.*
2. Energy Efficiency
Furnaces are ranked 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 higher the number, the less gas is spent 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 wasting 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 research new furnaces there is one more important thing to consider: blower technology. This part circulates air throughout your home. And it also uses a lot of electricity, so it’s important to be familiar with 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 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 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 operating at full blast 24/7, they will quietly run at a low or medium speed at times. This helps improve 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 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 on.
5. Smart Thermostat
You probably have a programmable thermostat, but chances are you probably aren’t making the most of 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 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 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 leading 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 haul.
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 parts. This includes the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other important parts. Warranties can range from as short as a one-year limited warranty to as long as a 10-year limited warranty.
When going over warranty coverage, it’s essential to know it's limited. So, you should make sure you get the restrictions. 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 very expensive.
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 usually only takes a few minutes.
How much does all this cost anyhow? It could range from $1,700 for a basic furnace, or $5,500 or more for a high-efficiency system.
As you consider these costs and the impact to your budget, remember 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 provides.
A couple of other ways to save include:
- Replacing your air conditioner simultaneously.
- Buying at the right 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.
- Take advantage of rebates from the federal and state government, as well as from your local utility company. We can help you navigate 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 outdated one? Here are a few ideas from our Experts that will help you make that decision.
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 somewhere with harsh winters, your furnace will run more frequently, potentially making it wear out faster. The same goes 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 costly. Common and expensive repairs on an older furnace include:
- Blower motor failures
- Ignition control failures
- Heat exchanger failures
If repairs are more than the half the cost of a new furnace, it’s generally best to replace it.
Furnaces older than 15 years can be very inefficient. You could be throwing away as much as 30% of the money you spend to keep your home warm. High 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 shows 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 intimidating trying to research furnace features on your own. Or recognize exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Epperson Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much more convenient. Call us at 843-619-3781 or schedule an appointment online to request 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.