Replacing a furnace is a daunting task. A new furnace is a substantial investment, and there’s so much information to review, prices to evaluate, options to explore and companies to compare. Where do you start?
Begin with information. In every furnace replacement, the educated consumer is the most successful. The right facts help you plan ahead, compare on more than just price, and know when you aren’t being cheated or gimmicked. Ultimately, information helps you make the right decision.
To ensure your next furnace replacement goes as smoothly as possible, focus your information-gathering in these five essential areas:
1. Track Your Furnace’s Performance
Your first step is to discern if your furnace actually needs replacing – after all, you don’t want to replace a unit too early and lose a part of your current investment.
The number one factor to consider is your unit’s age. A furnace that’s 12 years or older is very likely to need replacement. Also, another sign your furnace has reached its maximum lifespan is if you’ve had repeated repairs on your system year after year.
Another major performance indicator is efficiency. If you’ve seen increases in your utility bills without increasing your furnace usage, then your system may not be running at peak efficiency anymore. Contact a professional to give you an exact efficiency rating, anything below 90% is a bad sign.
A system that runs longer than usual, needs a higher temperature on your thermostat to keep the room warm, or makes funny rattling or squealing noises is also a candidate for replacement.
Tracking these performance issues is the first key to a successful furnace upgrade, since every diagnostic, repair or replacement quote hinges on what went wrong and when it started.
2. Research The Facts – need to get away from brand.
If your furnace’s performance indicates the need for a replacement, then immediately learn everything you’re able to about your system. Research online about your furnace – Are these typical issues? Are there any outstanding warranties, recalls or other relevant consumer information on your unit? What government codes or permits apply to your furnace in your county or township?
Gathering this information empowers and informs your conversations with industry professionals. It helps you understand their process – and helps you avoid being cheated on your HVAC service. The most reliable HVAC service provider anticipates and answers your questions, walking you through specific issues and government permits.
3. Act Before Winter Hits
The best time to replace your furnace is before you need it most. Plan your furnace replacement for September, October or November so that you’re not caught in the cold waiting for service when your technician is booked full for the next two weeks.
Furnace replacement usually takes a full day, so plan ahead before the first cold day arrives, or you could be stuck in a freezing house all day while the technician completes your upgrade. Planning ahead means you optimize your comfort and stay in control of when your replacement happens.
4. Schedule A Tune-Up
Even if you’re sure your system needs replacement, arrange to have a tune-up first. With a tune-up, a qualified technician looks at every aspect of your system, learning it strengths and weaknesses. While he’s working, he should be able to confirm or dismiss your need for a replacement, and your informed questions guarantee that you get the most out of the tune-up.
Especially schedule a furnace tune-up if your system is past the 12-year mark in case you need it replaced later in the season. A tune-up may be the difference between a system that works a bit longer until replacement and being stuck without a furnace for a week in the middle of winter.
If a system doesn’t need replaced, then you’re optimizing your current investment and postponing your next furnace replacement.
5. Have a Professional Evaluation
You’ve tracked your furnace’s poor performance, researched your system and your early-autumn tune-up confirmed the news: you need a full furnace replacement. Now it’s time for a professional diagnostic evaluation.
A professional home and system analysis educates you on new HVAC technology, what upgrades are available for your home and what system enhancements could benefit you. Get the most out of the session with well-prepared questions so that you are able to determine with the advisor what replacement options are best for you.
During the furnace replacement process, keep the decision-making power in your hands. With the right research, tracking, forethought, proactive maintenance and professional opinions, your furnace replacement runs smoothly, ahead of schedule, and without any surprises – all while keeping you comfortable in your own home.