Your furnace should provide a comfortable climate for you and your family, so what if it doesn’t seem to be working quite right? An HVAC expert explains how to decide if you need a new furnace and how to understand the energy efficiency ratings for your system.
Can’t view the video? Here’s the transcript:
Becky Schooley had to replace her 10-year-old unit after it went out earlier this year.
Becky Schooley, homeowner: “The company that installed the existing unit had put in one that was too large for this home and so I think that might have caused the early demise of the unit or may have contributed to that.”
Experts tell Angie’s List there are warning signs your furnace may need replacing. Are your utility bills going up? Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they get older. Is your furnace breaking down more often, resulting in costly repairs? Are you always adjusting the thermostat to make your home more comfortable? Can the system keep up?
Kris Conover, Aaron York’s Quality Air: “The average life of a heating and cooling system is somewhere between 12 to 18 years so obviously as you get older things start to break down in your body, the same thing happens with heating and cooling equipment.”
If it’s time to replace your furnace, there are some things you should consider before buying. Remember, bigger is not always better. Your unit should be correctly sized to operate properly and efficiently. And how much do you want to spend? As the efficiency rating goes up, so does the cost.
Conover: “Every system has an evaluation of how efficient it is. AFUE is Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. So if a furnace is rated on that. So, for instance a 95 percent, or 95 percent AFUE furnace, it’s using 95 BTUs per hundred BTUs put in. To put it in another term, if you’re spending a dollar on heating, it’s providing you 95 cents of output.”
Angie Hicks, Angie’s List founder: “Buying a new furnace is a large investment in your home. It’s an appliance that is going to last for many, many years so you want to be sure you find a company that is going to stand behind their installation. You should expect them to come out and give you an assessment of your furnace on site. Also, they’ll check your ductwork as well to make sure it’s adequate.”
Ask prospective companies what specific manufacturers or equipment brands they carry. Contractors should hold training certifications with the manufacturers of the equipment they carry.
Hicks: “Even if you have a brand new furnace, you want to be sure you are doing your regular maintenance. A great idea is to check your furnace filter once a month. An easy way to do that is check in when you paying your utilities bills each month. A clean air filter is going to help your furnace run more efficiently and help you air quality.”
If your air conditioner is showing its age, it may be a good idea to replace both your furnace and A/C at the same time. You could see some savings because the installation crew is already on site. Some manufacturers may also offer total system rebates when you replace both your air and furnace.
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