Important Questions to Ask When Replacing a Furnace
Furnaces last about 15 or 20 years, and the longest with routine maintenance and repairs. You get your money’s worth out of the appliance. But even with the best care, your furnace will eventually need to be replaced. If you’re wondering if it’s time to consider getting a new unit, here are some signs and considerations.
What Type of Furnace Should I Get?
Heating homes in the Phoenix Arizona area is done in several ways, depending on your home’s setup.
Natural gas furnaces are common and can be the most energy efficient. They use a hot surface igniter to light the gas inside, which then fuels the burners to heat your home. These style furnaces come in either 80% efficiency or 90%+ meaning that 80-90+ cents on the dollar that you spend on your gas bill are utilized for heat.
Electric furnaces are not as common but are in use in some areas. But instead of burning fuel, they use electrical heat strips (kind of like a toaster). these types of heaters use a tremendous amount of electricity and are very costly to operate.
Although Heat pumps are not furnaces, they are also a very common way to heat homes in our area and can be very efficient. This efficiency is a result of the low demand for Heat pumps in the winter months and the fact that 100% of the energy used to operate the system is used for heating the home. The way a heat pump is able to heat your home is through utilizing a reversing valve, or "switch-over" valve, to reverse the flow of refrigerant during the cooler months to allow your A/C system to absorb heat from the outdoor air and deliver it to the home (even in below freezing temperatures in modern equipment).
The most efficient type of heating that you can find anywhere, and is becoming more popular in AZ is a "dual fuel" HVAC system. This type of system uses both a high-efficiency furnace and a high-efficiency Heat pump to deliver the best of both worlds for your indoor comfort. When programmed properly, a dual fuel system will determine the best way to heat your home based on; indoor temperature, outdoor temperature, set temperature, run time, and the cost of natural gas vs. electricity.
Can I Install a New Furnace on My Own?
It may seem simple, but furnace installation isn’t a task you should do on your own unless you have HVAC experience. It’s dangerous and you could create problems that cause a headache down the road. It’s always best to work with a professional HVAC technician to ensure your furnace is installed correctly and safely.
How Do I Know It’s Time to Replace a Furnace?
Here are some signs it’s time to replace your furnace:
- You have high energy bills: If your energy bills are going up with no obvious cause, it could indicate that your furnace isn’t running as it should. Some things, such as having extra people in your home or having unusually cold winters, could increase your energy bills temporarily, but you shouldn’t see excessive increases over long periods.
- Your furnace is getting old: Furnacesaren’tdesigned to last more than 20 years or so. If it’s getting older, it may be best to upgrade. There’s only so much maintenance that can extend its lifespan before you deal with poor efficiency and repairs.
- You’re paying for constant repairs: An older furnace will have repairs from time to time. But if you have constant repairs or breakdowns, the most cost-effective option is to upgrade to a new furnace with better efficiency.
- You have cold rooms: If your furnace can no longer heat your entire home effectively, you’ll not only have an uncomfortable environment, but your unit will have to work harder to try to heat your home. This means more wear and tear and high energy bills.
When is the Best Time of Year to Replace a Furnace?
Furnaces can be installed at any time of year. But if you want to ensure you have a functional furnace for the winter, it’s best to consider upgrading in the fall or spring. This is the best time to buy a new furnace and schedule a professional repair for an HVAC technician since the demand is lower and they’re less busy overall. Winter is fine if the installation can’t wait, but it’s the busy season for HVAC professionals.
How Big Will My New Furnace Be?
Furnaces come in a range of sizes and efficiency ratings. The right furnace size for your home depends on different factors, including the home's insulation quality, square footage, climate, and size of your A/C. A comfort consultant can perform a heating load calculation test, which checks the circulation and air quality to determine the ideal furnace size.
If you’ve made changes to your home, such as getting new windows and doors or replacing old insulation, that could affect the furnace and A/C size you need.
How Much Does a New Furnace Cost?
Furnaces can be a range of prices according to type, size, and efficiency. If you need supporting work like ventilation or ductwork, that will likely raise the cost. You will also pay more if you’re getting two furnaces for a larger home.
Should I Replace My Furnace and AC at the Same Time?
Absolutely! However, in some instances, it may be ok. For example, you just purchased the home, and the previous homeowner only replaced the A/C portion of your system. Or, your system is relatively new, but the furnace has significant damage to it where complete replacement is in your best interests. There are drawbacks, however. Both units rely on the same internal components, so having an old air conditioner with a new furnace will add unnecessary wear and tear to both systems. When it's time to replace either your Furnace or A/C, it is no light undertaking. To get the most out of your investment a properly installed AHRI-matched HVAC system ensures that you will get the most efficiency and reliability from your purchase that is backed by the manufacturer's 10-year parts warranty.
How Long Does It Take to Install a New Furnace?
Furnace installation takes up to a day to finish. If you need equipment like ventilation or ductwork, it could add a few days to the installation process.
Will My New Furnace Be Energy Efficient?
In short, yes. There have been many advances in the HVAC industry to increase energy efficiency across the board. To get the most out of your New HVAC system, and If possible, choose a Dual Fuel or high-efficiency model for your new HVAC system. You may pay more upfront, but it will be more cost-effective in reducing energy bills over time. The annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, measures the efficiency. High-efficiency units have an AFUE of 90 or higher.
Looking for furnace repairs or installation? Call the pros at ProSkill Services to schedule an appointment!