7 Things to Know Before Buying a Furnace in Canada
Purchasing a new furnace may not be a priority right away. But it’s smart to learn the things that will likely influence your selection when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to think about when it’s time for furnace replacement in Canada.
1. Size and Installation Quality
To operate at peak efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be correctly sized for your home. When it comes to furnaces, bigger is definitely not better. We often get requests from customers to install a big furnace in the misguided belief that a larger furnace is either more reliable or will offer better comfort.
The opposite is true. Oversized furnaces will short cycle, or continuously turn on and off. This leaves you cold, with higher energy bills and a furnace that could wear out much sooner.
This is why it’s crucial to work with the right company when purchasing a new furnace. Even if it’s the right size but improperly installed, 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 problems with noise or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s linked to.
At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re knowledgeable about repairing and installing various kinds of home comfort systems. Besides technical skill, our technicians are also trained in treating you ethically. We also support our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee for a year.*
2. Energy Efficiency
Furnaces are ranked by a term known as 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 present furnace is 15 years old, it’s likely ranked well below 80 AFUE. As an example, if your HVAC system is 70 AFUE, you’re throwing away 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—highest efficiency rating available.
3. Blower Motor Technology
As you research new furnaces there is one more important consideration: blower technology. This part moves air throughout your home. And it also uses a lot of electricity, so it’s important to be familiar with your options.
There are three types of blowers available on furnaces nowadays. They include:
- Standard blower motor. Furnaces that aren’t ENERGY STAR rated have a standard blower motor that’s been relatively unchanged for the past 30 years. This motor is the least costly and also the least energy efficient.
- Constant torque motor. This technology finds a balance between price and energy efficiency. It delivers an electrical efficiency boost over a standard motor design.
- Variable-speed motor. The most energy-efficient furnaces can operate at different speeds. Instead of operating at full blast 24/7, they will quietly operate at a low or medium speed at times. This helps enhance your comfort while keeping energy costs low, both in the winter and summer. And it also keeps indoor humidity under control.
4. Sound Reduction Technology
Sound has become a very significant consideration with furnace installation, so another dramatic 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 it's quite possible you probably aren’t maximizing your energy savings. These thermostats can be complicated to program, particularly if your schedule varies from day to day.
A smart thermostat removes all the guesswork about energy efficiency. Many models can learn from your temperature preferences and then create 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 change your settings from just about anywhere on your phone. Some models can even alert you if they find a problem with your furnace or remind you when it’s time to change your air filter.
There’s a significant difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any big purchase, we believe it’s best to go with a major brand name. With a leading brand like Lennox® or Goodman®, you’ll have more assurance in the technology and that the manufacturer will stand by its product warranty over the long term.
Furnaces usually have two primary warranty coverage areas:
- Heat exchanger. This is the center of the furnace and the most expensive component to replace. This part typically has a 20-year limited warranty or lifetime limited warranty, but this can vary based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
- Main components. This includes the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other important parts. Warranties can range from as little as a one-year limited warranty to as much 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 limitations. For instance, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only include the price of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a new heat exchanger could get costly.
Once your new furnace is installed, make sure you complete the product registration immediately. Many manufacturers may limit the warranty term if the product registration is not completed. This step is easy and typically only takes a few minutes.
How much does all this cost anyway? 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, remember 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 provides.
A couple of additional ways to save include:
- Replacing your air conditioner at the same time.
- Purchasing at the right 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 company. We can help you navigate this process.
- Finance your new furnace or enroll in our exclusive HVAC Advantage Program™. For just one low monthly fee, you’ll get a new furnace with repairs and maintenance included.*
How Do I Know When to Replace My Furnace?
Now that you know what to search for in a new furnace, when should you replace your old one? Here are a few tips from our Experts that will help you decide.
Heating systems typically last 15–20 years. How long yours will keep going depends on whether you’ve done furnace maintenance, where you live and your desired temperature. If you’re in a place with harsh winters, your furnace will run more often, potentially making it wear out faster. The same applies if you like to keep your home at a warmer temperature.
Repair Frequency and Cost
Just like any appliance, as furnaces get older, the likelihood for frequent furnace repair goes up. If your system is more than 15 years old, those repairs can be particularly expensive. Common and costly repairs on an older furnace include:
- Blower motor failures
- Ignition control failures
- Heat exchanger failures
If repairs are more than the half the cost of a new furnace, it’s generally best to replace it.
Furnaces older than 15 years can be extremely inefficient. You could be wasting as much as 30% of the money you spend to keep your home warm. High energy costs and the desire to reduce energy use are also strong reasons to think about replacing your furnace. In fact, an independent study by Decision Analyst shows nearly 20% of homeowners who recently replaced their furnace specifically did so to reduce their utility bills.
Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts
It can feel intimidating trying to research furnace features on your own. Or recognize exactly when you should get a new furnace. Our Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning Experts are here to make the process much simpler. Call us at 866-397-3787 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.