7 Things to Know Before Purchasing a Furnace in Austin

Purchasing a new furnace may not be a concern right away. But it’s wise to know the things that will likely influence your choice when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to consider when you're due for furnace replacement in Austin.

1. Size and Installation Quality

To run at maximum efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be properly sized for your home. When it comes to furnaces, bigger is certainly not better. We often get requests from customers to install a big furnace in the misguided belief that a larger furnace is either more dependable or will provide better comfort.

The reverse is true. Large furnaces will short cycle, or constantly turn on and off. This leaves you cold, with more expensive energy bills and a furnace that could need replacing much sooner.

This is why it’s important to work with the right company when buying a new furnace. Even if it’s the correct size but installed wrong, the U.S. Department of Energy says you could lose as much as 30% of your energy efficiency.

Another key component of installation is ductwork. If yours is old or designed wrong, you might have issues with noise or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s attached to.

At Strand Brothers Service Experts, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re skilled in repairing and installing various kinds of home comfort systems. Besides technical skill, our technicians are also trained in treating you fairly. We also stand behind 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 measures the annual gas consumption of a furnace. The higher the number, the less gas is spent 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 now:

  • 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—best efficiency rating available.

3. Blower Motor Technology

As you compare 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 be familiar with your options.

There are three kinds of blowers available on furnaces today. They include:

  • Standard blower motor. Furnaces that aren’t ENERGY STAR rated have a traditional blower motor that’s been mostly unchanged for the past 30 years. This motor is the least costly and also the least energy efficient.
  • Constant torque motor. This technology strikes 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 run at different speeds. Instead of operating at full speed 24/7, they will quietly run at a low or medium speed at times. This helps enhance 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 great improvement has been keeping noise under control. 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 chances are you probably aren’t making the most of your energy savings. These thermostats can be difficult to program, particularly if your schedule changes from day to day.

A smart thermostat removes all the guessing about energy efficiency. Many models can learn from 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 needed.

As an extra perk, you’ll also be able to keep tabs on 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.

6. Warranty

There’s a significant difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any large purchase, we believe it’s wisest to go with a major brand name. With a leading brand like Lennox® or Goodman®, you’ll have more confidence in the technology and that the manufacturer will stand by its product warranty over the long haul.

Furnaces typically have two primary warranty coverage areas:

  • Heat exchanger. This is the heart 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 vary based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
  • Main components. This involves the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other key parts. Warranties can vary from as little as a one-year limited warranty to as long as a 10-year limited warranty.

When reviewing warranty coverage, it’s important to know it's limited. So, you should make sure you understand the restrictions. For example, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only include the price of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a replacing heat exchanger could get very expensive.

Once your new furnace is running, make sure you complete the product registration right away. Many manufacturers may limit the warranty term if the product registration is not done. This step is simple and typically only takes a few minutes.

7. Cost

How much does all this cost anyhow? It could vary from $1,700 for a basic furnace, or $5,500 or more for a high-efficiency system.

As you consider these costs and the affect on 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:

  • Getting a new air conditioner at the same time.
  • Buying at the ideal time, such as in early fall, mid-winter and early spring. You may be able to get extra discounts and rebates during this less busy season.
  • Take advantage of rebates from the federal and state government, as well as from your local utility provider. 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 ideas from our Experts that will help you decide.

Age

Heating systems usually last 15–20 years. How long yours will keep going depends on whether you’ve kept up with furnace maintenance, where you live and your temperature preferences. If you’re in a place with harsh winters, your furnace will run more frequently, potentially making it wear out faster. The same goes 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 costly. Common and costly repairs on an older furnace include:

  • Blower motor failures
  • Ignition control failures
  • Heat exchanger failures

If repairs are greater than the half the price of a new furnace, it’s generally recommended to replace it.

Energy Efficiency

Furnaces older than 15 years can be very inefficient. You could be throwing away as much as 30% of the money you spend to keep your home warm. Excessive energy costs and the desire to reduce energy use are also strong reasons to consider 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 overwhelming trying to investigate furnace features on your own. Or recognize exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Strand Brothers Service Experts Experts are here to make the process much smoother. Call us at 512-596-1257 or schedule an appointment online to request 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.

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