Things To Know Before You Replace Your Furnace

Furnace on the fritz? Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate the process of finding a new furnace.

Can the furnace be fixed?

A furnace may last 15-20 years or more depending on the brand and how well it’s been maintained. A rule of thumb to follow is that a furnace should be replaced if it’s beyond three-quarters of its life expectancy and/or the repairs would cost more than a third of the cost to replace it.

Efficiency is important

Heating efficiency is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The higher the AFUE number, the more efficient the furnace. A standard furnace is 80% efficient although high efficiency models can be over 98% efficient.

Consider size and fuel

Don’t automatically assume your new furnace will be the same size and use the same fuel as the old one. Furnaces are often oversized, so you might be able to purchase a smaller model. Furnace size should not only take square footage into account, but also insulation, orientation, window types, etc. (called a Manual J load calculation). A smaller but more efficient model may heat your home just as well as a model that is larger and older.

Prices of fossil fuel tend to fluctuate, so it’s possible that the fuel that was most economical when your old furnace was purchased won’t still be economical. Additionally, efficiency has changed a lot too, so even a more expensive type of furnace might end up saving you money in the future.

Check your ductwork

Ductwork, the system that moves the air throughout your home, is an important aspect of a furnace installation. A good install will take ductwork into account to ensure its properly sized and sealed, and has the right amount of return and openings. Improper ductwork will reduce air flow in your home, generate hot/cold spots, be noisy, and make your equipment work harder than necessary.

Insulation counts for a lot

A new, efficient furnace won’t have the impact it should if your house is poorly insulated. Adding insulation to your home can have dramatic results on your bills, reducing your costs by 5-25%, depending on the current levels of insulation.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!