If you’re stressing about having to deal with a furnace replacement (let alone figuring out how that furnace replacement cost will affect your budget), there’s good news—a little research goes a long way toward getting the best bang for your buck. So let’s get started, and get you the information you need.
When should I replace my furnace?
Aside from furnace failures being beyond repair, you might consider investing in a new furnace for two reasons: Old age and low efficiency.
- Old Age: How long does a furnace last? Furnaces usually run for 8 – 12 years before they stop working or become less efficient, which could mean higher heating bills as they age.
- Low Efficiency: If you notice your heating bills increasing while your usage remains the same, chances are your furnace is no longer running as efficiently as it used to. Some possible causes for this include clogged or blocked vents and ductwork, old furnace filters, and poor or damaged machinery; but the end result is that your furnace has to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature for you, with potentially budget-busting results.
If your furnace is currently working, the best way to determine if you need a furnace repair or a furnace replacement is to schedule a professional tune-up with an efficiency evaluation.
- A furnace tune-up will determine what part or parts are nearing the end of their life expectancy, and whether it’s more cost effective to repair or replace.
- A furnace efficiency evaluation will also review all of your ductwork and venting to check for leaks, and provide you with an efficiency rating. An efficiency rating of less than 90% is bad, both for your furnace and for your budget.
The best time to replace your furnace is in the fall, when it’s cool enough to effectively test your heating system, but before the temperatures drop below freezing. A furnace replacement is likely to take a full day, so it’s best to avoid doing it during freezing temperatures due to an increased risk for frozen pipes and other expensive, cold weather-related issues.
How much is a new furnace?
As a homeowner on a budget, one of your primary concerns may be furnace replacement cost. As with any major home system, you have several things to consider.
- Efficiency: There are mid-efficiency furnaces (between $1,500-$2,500 with an efficiency of 80-89 percent) and high efficiency furnaces (between $3,000 and $5,000 with an efficiency between 90-97 percent). A higher efficiency makes the most sense when you live in a naturally colder climate, though there may be some legal efficiency requirements in your area as well. Keep in mind, however, that the extremely high-efficiency models (98%+) are likely to have more expensive parts to replace over time. ENERGY STAR certified units are likely to save you money, and may even help you earn an energy or tax rebate.
- What size furnace do I need: The heating needs for your home are calculated in British Thermal Units (BTU) per square foot. But rather than trying to calculate out a bunch of tiny details, go ahead and enjoy this handy Heating BTU Calculator! All you need to know is where you live and how many square feet your home is, and it will calculate how many BTUs you need, so you can find the right furnace for your home’s size.
- Other considerations: An electric furnace costs less than a gas furnace up front, but a gas furnace costs less in heating bills over the long haul. Depending on the inspection results, your ductwork may also require partial or full replacement to work with the new system, and you may need to replace your vents as well, depending on their material. Lastly, when you’re seeking out a company to install your new furnace, be sure to verify whether they also remove your old one at no additional cost.
Many HVAC and heating companies offer free in-home estimates and consultations to determine what will work best for you, however research is going to be your best friend in choosing the best option.
Feel like you’ve jumped out of the furnace and into the fire? Maybe, but a little extra research can save you a lot of money. Here are some things to look at:
- Your existing unit: Check online to see if your current furnace has any existing warranties, recalls, common problems, or even government codes or permits required for your area.
- Your technician: The installation of your furnace accounts for about 60% of the overall cost, so you definitely want to make sure it’s done right! Ensure you hire a licensed and experienced professional with the right certifications to do the task, and definitely call around for referrals! You’ll also want to make sure you hire someone who stands behind their work by including a 1-year warranty (minimum) for parts or repairs.
- HVAC or heating company reviews: Take third-party furnace company reviews with a grain of salt. Most people don’t think about their furnace unless something goes wrong, so folks are far more likely to review a negative experience than a positive one. On top of that, because these reviews are on third-party sites, there’s no way to verify if the reviewers even purchased a unit from that particular company. It’s important to take a moment and consider if the reviewer’s post sounds sensible and reasonable.
Financing your furnace replacement
Did you know you don’t have to pay in full up front for a furnace replacement? Many furnace companies offer financing over several years, as well as product rebates. Sometimes just asking for a deal or a bundle can save you—well, a bundle! And don’t forget to check for possible energy company rebates and tax rebates.
For those who don’t have the best credit, another possibility is rent-to-own. Keeping in mind that this may result in a higher overall cost, a rent-to-own furnace allows you to pay less up front, potentially without a credit check.
Protect your investment
Now that you’ve got a beautiful new furnace installed, make sure to protect your investment with regular maintenance. There are many things you can do on your own, like changing filters, but be sure to schedule a regular professional tune-up at least once a year to keep it running at its most efficient.
Another thing you can do is have America’s Preferred Home Warranty (APHW) at your back, with 24/7/365 award-winning customer service and coverage for your furnace and many other home systems and appliances when they fail due to normal wear and tear. Call 888.351.3681 today for more information!
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