7 Things to Be Aware of Before Buying a Furnace in Fort Lauderdale
Buying a new furnace may not be a priority right away. But it’s smart to learn the things that will likely influence your choice when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to think about when it’s time for furnace replacement in Fort Lauderdale.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To operate at peak efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be correctly sized for your home. When it involves furnaces, bigger is certainly not better. We frequently 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. Oversized furnaces will short cycle, or continuously turn on and off. This leaves you uncomfortable, with more expensive energy bills and a furnace that could need replacing much sooner.
This is why it’s crucial to work with the right company when buying a new furnace. Even if it’s the right size but installed wrong, 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 problems with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as effective as the duct system it’s attached to.
At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re skilled in repairing and installing various types of home comfort systems. Besides technical skill, our technicians are also trained in treating you ethically. We also support our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee for a year.*
2. Energy Efficiency
Furnaces are rated by a term called AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency. Like miles per gallon on cars, this rates the annual gas consumption of a furnace. The greater the number, the less gas is wasted during the heating process.
If your current 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 today:
- 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—highest efficiency rating available.
3. Blower Motor Technology
As you evaluate new furnaces there is one more important consideration: blower technology. This part circulates air throughout your home. And it also consumes a lot of electricity, so it’s important to know about your options.
There are three kinds of blowers available on furnaces nowadays. They include:
- Standard blower motor. Furnaces that aren’t ENERGY STAR rated have a standard blower motor that’s been relatively unchanged 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 cost 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 down, both in the winter and summer. And it also keeps indoor humidity in check.
4. Sound Reduction Technology
Sound has become a very important consideration with furnace installation, so another dramatic improvement has been noise management. Some of these features include:
- Sealed and insulated cabinets
- Variable-speed blower technology
- Whisper-quiet gas burners
With this technology, you might not even be aware that your furnace is running.
5. Smart Thermostat
You probably use a programmable thermostat, but it's quite possible you probably aren’t maximizing your energy savings. These thermostats can be difficult to program, especially if your schedule changes from day to day.
A smart thermostat removes all the guessing about energy efficiency. Many models can pick up on your temperature preferences and then produce an energy-saving schedule to match. They also know when you’re home or away and will adjust your heating and cooling as necessary.
As a bonus, you’ll also be able to monitor and adjust your settings from just about anyplace on your phone. Some models can even notify you if they detect a problem with your furnace or remind you when it’s time to replace your air filter.
There’s a significant difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any big purchase, we believe it’s best to go with a major brand name. With a leading brand like Lennox® or Goodman®, you’ll have more assurance in the technology and that the manufacturer will uphold its product warranty over the long term.
Furnaces usually have two primary warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the center 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 differ 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 limitations. For example, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only include the cost of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a replacing heat exchanger could get costly.
Once your new furnace is installed, make sure you complete the product registration immediately. Many manufacturers may reduce the warranty term if the product registration is not completed. This step is easy and typically only takes a few minutes.
How much does all this cost anyway? It could range from $1,700 for a basic furnace, or $5,500 or more for a high-efficiency system.
As you think about these costs and the impact to your budget, keep in mind that unlike nearly every other appliance you may need to purchase, your new furnace may help pay for itself from the monthly energy savings it offers.
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 extra discounts and rebates during this slower season.
- Reap the benefits 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 receive 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 tips from our Experts that will help you decide.
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 applies if you like to keep your home at a hotter 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 especially expensive. Common and expensive repairs on an older furnace include:
- Blower motor failures
- Ignition control failures
- Heat exchanger failures
If repairs are greater than the half the cost of a new furnace, it’s generally recommended to replace it.
Furnaces older than 15 years can be very inefficient. You could be wasting as much as 30% of the money you spend to heat your home. 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 reveals 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 seem intimidating trying to research furnace features on your own. Or know exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Call us at 954-736-4314 or schedule an appointment online to book your free home comfort assessment today.
*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.