Buying a new furnace is a big deal. It’s not as simple or cheap as replacing a light bulb or switching out your air filter. If you want to make sure that you’re making the right decision, there are some important things that you need to know before proceeding.
Knowing When the Time is Right
In a previous blog post, we covered the issue of knowing when to replace your furnace. To recap, these were the main points:
- The average furnace has a lifespan of between 15 and 30 years. However, you’d be lucky to get 30 years out of a furnace these days.
- Once a furnace hits 15 years, you should begin looking for other signs of deterioration.
- If you’ve had multiple repairs in the last year or two, it may be more cost-effective to replace the furnace.
- Your furnace may not exhibit physical signs of deterioration, but inefficiency could be leading to bill increases each month.
- Uneven heating in the home – hot and cold spots, that is – are signs of a furnace that isn’t doing its job well.
- Excessive noises, buzzes, and rattles from your furnace are potentially signs of impending issues.
- Dust, soot, or rust around your furnace may indicate cracked or broken components.
As you can see, there are numerous warning signs and red flags. If any of these sound familiar, you’re probably going to find yourself in the market for a new furnace, sooner rather than later.
Seven Things to Consider
However, it isn’t as easy as going to your local hardware store, and picking out a furnace. There are numerous things to think about and consider, such as the following:
1. Setting a Budget
The first key is to set a budget. By determining how much you’re willing and able to pay, you can ensure that the rest of the process goes smoothly. Be realistic when setting your budget, though. A low price doesn’t always equal a good deal. In order to get the most value, you may need to increase your allowance.
For example, an extremely energy-efficient furnace may cost you $800 dollars more than a less efficient one. However, that same furnace may save you $400 per year in energy costs. That means that the break-even point is only two years. Over the lifetime of the system, you could save thousands of dollars. If at all possible, you have to think about lifetime value – not upfront cost.
2. Considering SEER
Speaking of efficiency, it’s important that consumers are educated regarding SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings. The higher the SEER rating is, the less that you’ll spend each month to heat or cool your home. The minimum rating is 13, while anything 16 or higher is considered high efficiency. Most homeowners with moderate budgets land somewhere around a 15.
As a side note, if your current system is 10-15 years old, it could very well have a SEER rating of only seven or eight. After upgrading to a 15 or 16, you may see your bill slashed in half. Not bad!
3. Considering Options and Upgrades
Before reaching a final decision, you should consider all of the available furnace options and upgrades. After all, you wouldn’t buy a new car without first considering different trim levels, colors, materials, and warranty packages, would you?
Much like cars, furnaces come with dozens of different options. At first glance, terms like “upgraded air filtration,” “variable-speed blower,” “dual-heat exchanger,” “zoned heating,” and “ignition systems” may sound unfamiliar or foreign, but don’t overlook them. Educate yourself regarding these options so you’re able to make a smart choice.
4. Looking for Rebate Opportunities
It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to offer rebates to offset some of the costs of their systems. And, if you’re looking at high efficiency models with 16-plus SEER ratings, rebates are even more common. For a look at government rebates specific to Oklahoma, check out this list, which is frequently updated. If you time your purchase just right, it’s possible that you could save as much as $1,500 in some instances.
5. Getting Multiple Estimates
Regardless of what kind of service you’re having done on your home, it’s always smart to get multiple estimates. Every company offers different services, prices, and guarantees. When you’re purchasing something as important as a furnace, the difference in the total price – unit and installation – could be thousands of dollars.
Estimates are generally free, so there’s no excuse for not getting at least three of them. Depending on the price and overall level of comfort that you have with the company, you can then make an educated decision in which you’ll be confident.
6. Checking References and Referrals
After you get estimates out of the way, you can really begin to make choices. Ask for references, read online reviews, and talk to your neighbors about their experiences with the different service providers that you’re considering. This’ll sometimes tell you why one estimate is so much lower than other, or vice versa. Checking with referrals also allows you to hear the other side of the story. Were you being smooth-talked, or was the contractor telling you the truth?
7. Asking About Warranties
Furnaces are expensive, so it’s always nice to have a warranty. Not only do you need to think about manufacturer warranties, but also it’s also smart to look into labor warranties. Your contractor should be able to let you know more about both aspects.
Contact Custom Services Inc. Today
At Custom Services, we’ve offered heating and air services for more than three and a half decades. We’re considered one of the premier companies in Oklahoma and proudly service Tulsa and the surrounding areas. We also offer licensed plumbing services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you feel like it may be time to replace your existing furnace with a more efficient alternative, feel free to reach out to us today. We’d be happy to walk you through the process, and answer any questions that you may have. For a no-pressure discussion regarding your home’s furnace, contact us now!