The average furnace will last for approximately 15-20 years. Once a system has reached this age, it typically becomes less efficient, and your home may not have heat evenly distributed. An inefficient, old furnace may also cost more money on your utility bill. If you’ve noticed that your furnace is requiring more and more repairs, your energy bills are skyrocketing, or your home doesn’t feel as warm as it should in all areas, then it may be time to consider furnace replacement.
The decision to purchase a new furnace is not something to take lightly. It’s an investment for your home and your family’s comfort. To help you understand the furnace replacement process, as well as what to expect when purchasing a new unit, check out these common FAQs.
Q: What types of furnaces are available?
A: You have the option of a natural gas, oil, or electric furnace for your home. Clean-burning, natural gas furnaces are an energy-efficient option. These units make use of a pilot light that ignites the gas running into the system. The gas fuels the burners and heats air to warm your home.
Oil furnaces are not as common as they once were. These heating systems convert oil into heat, and they are a popular option in colder climates, such as the Northeast. Older homes may not have the proper ductwork required for a natural gas or electric heating system.
Electric furnaces are like gas furnaces in that they heat the home using the same internal components, minus the use of a pilot light. These units make use of a blower to draw in and push out air which is heated and sent through the ducts in a home.
Q: How long does it take to replace a furnace?
A: Generally, a standard furnace replacement job should be completed in one day. However, if you are having a different type of furnace installed than what you once had, additional venting or ductwork installation may be required. This could add several days to your furnace replacement job.
Q: How much does a new furnace cost?
A: The cost of your new furnace will depend on several factors, including which type of furnace you’re having installed, how much extra work will be required (adding ductwork, ventilation, etc.), and the size of the heating system you’ve chosen.
Also, keep in mind that some homes have more than one furnace. Consult with your heating professional to determine whether it’s best to replace both units at the same time. If that is what’s suggested, the cost of your replacement job will be higher.
Q: How will I know if it’s time for furnace replacement?
A: If you’ve noticed that there are areas of your home that don’t feel as warm as they should, this could indicate that your heating system is struggling to keep up with the demands of your thermostat. Also, a failing furnace will often require numerous expensive repairs toward the end of its life.
Another warning sign that a new furnace will be in your future is if your monthly energy bills have increased significantly. When your heating system is struggling to keep up, it will likely run more often than it once did, using more energy, and costing you more on your utility bills.
Q: Would I be able to install a new furnace by myself?
A: No, it is not recommended for the average homeowner to try and replace their own furnace. Only trained heating professionals should handle the job. If you don’t know what you are doing, you run the risk of getting hurt or damaging your new furnace.
Q: How will I know if I need to repair my furnace or replace it?
A: If your furnace is over 15 years of age and is experiencing frequent breakdowns, your most cost-effective option will likely be to replace the unit.
Repair costs will continue to add up and the total amount spent on repairing your aging furnace may end up being the same cost of a new one.
Q: When is the best time of year to replace my furnace?
A: Furnace replacement jobs can be performed during any time of the year. However, it may be easiest to get a new unit installed during early spring/fall. This is when many heating and cooling companies aren’t as busy as they usually are the rest of the year.
Q: I have a heating and AC unit combo. I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to replace my air conditioner at the same time I replace my furnace. Is this true?
A: Yes, it is often recommended for homeowners to replace both systems at the same time if the air conditioner is also reaching the end of its life expectancy. If you have an aging cooling system and a new heating system, it may cause some internal equipment to work harder to compensate for the aging parts of the other system. Remember – your cooling system makes use of some of the same equipment as your heater.
Q: How will I be able to determine the energy efficiency of a new furnace?
A: When purchasing a new furnace, you should consider its AFUE. This stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. A high-efficiency replacement furnace will have an AFUE of 90 or more.
Q: What size furnace do I need?
A: A heating professional will be able to help you determine what size furnace you will need for your home’s needs. He or she will perform a heating load calculation test in your home to determine the quality of heated air, and how well the air is being circulated throughout each room and level of your home. The test will help the expert to assist you in purchasing the most efficient furnace to keep your family warm.
Additionally, if you have made improvements to your home since the time your last furnace was installed, such as adding new energy efficient windows, doors, or insulation, this will be considered when helping you choose your replacement.
Those updates could help to make your home more energy efficient with fewer places for air to escape. This means that your new furnace may not need to have as high of an AFUE rate as your old unit.
Still have questions?
Purchasing a new furnace is a big investment for your family. It’s best to talk through your questions and concerns with a trained, experienced heating professional. He or she will be able to help you choose the perfect heating system replacement for your home and spending budget.