For a warm and comfortable home in Northern Colorado, there’s nothing more important than the furnace. But when your furnace starts to have issues and leads you to needing furnace replacement in Longmont, the hunt for a new furnace can feel overwhelming. Buying a new furnace is a major purchase, but it doesn’t have to be stressful.
Here are five tips for buying a new furnace for your home.
Start with the Energy Source
Your first consideration when looking for a new furnace should be the energy source that will power it. Deciding from the beginning to go with a gas or electric furnace will cut down your options and put you on the right path. In many cases, the decision will be made for you based on what types of energy are available at your home.
Gas furnaces use natural gas and tend to be the most economical way to heat the home. They are the most popular type of furnace because of their cost and efficiency. However, the availability of gas furnaces depends on if gas lines are available in your area. If your home doesn’t have a gas line, it likely isn’t worth the cost of installing one just to have a gas-powered furnace. Gas furnaces tend to be slightly more expensive to purchase and install, but they typically have a lower monthly cost because natural gas is less expensive than electricity. If you use a gas furnace, you also need a carbon monoxide monitor in your home to ensure the low levels of C02 that are produced by the furnace don’t become dangerous.
The other main option is an electric furnace. Electric furnaces are run on electricity, which means there aren’t limits to the houses in which they can be installed. If the home has electricity, it can power an electric furnace. These furnaces tend to be less expensive and simpler to install, but they also typically have higher energy costs over time. Electric furnaces tend to be quieter and more durable than gas furnaces.
Before you start shopping for furnaces, check the availability of natural gas and electricity in your area.
Consider the Size of Your Home
Your next consideration should be the size of the furnace. Getting the right size furnace maximizes your money while still keeping your house comfortable. A furnace that is too small won’t be able to heat your house properly, and a furnace that is too big could lead to energy bills that are higher than necessary. The size of the furnace and the power of the system depend on the size of your house and other factors.
Furnace sizes are measured in BTU, or British Thermal Unit, which is the unit used to measure the amount of heat output from a heating system. Furnaces with larger BTUs are typically for larger houses.
To discover your necessary furnace size, consider the square footage of your home and the climate zone in which you live. Areas with warmer climates usually don’t need to run their furnace as much or in very cold temperatures, compared to areas with colder climates that require furnaces to run through frigid temperatures for months at a time. You can also consider the floorplan of your home, as open floorplans tend to need more powerful furnaces. The orientation of the home and construction can also have an impact because of the amount of sunlight they allow and the quality of the insulation.
When in doubt, talk to an HVAC professional for an expert recommendation on furnace size.
Invest in High Efficiency
Not all furnaces are created equally. Each furnace has an efficiency score called the AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency rating. The number tells you what percentage of energy is used to produce heat and what percentage is lost. A furnace with an AFUE of 85 means that 85% of energy creates heat and 15% of energy is lost. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace. Furnaces with higher efficiency scores don’t waste energy by letting hot air escape, which means they can actually lower your utility costs over time. High-efficiency furnaces are also much better for the environment because they don’t waste energy.
Over the years, furnaces have become much more energy-efficient. A high-efficiency furnace often costs more initially but can lead to lower energy costs each month for savings in the long run. As a bonus, high-efficiency furnaces often come with rebates to lower the up-front cost and make the investment more enticing. Rebates vary by where you live, so be sure the check for available rebates before you make a purchase.
When buying a new furnace, run the numbers for furnaces with various AFUE scores to see the difference in cost over time, including differences in the initial cost and then estimates of how different furnaces would affect your monthly utility bill. There isn’t a set amount of money you can save with a high-efficiency furnace because energy usage depends on the climate, fuel source, and temperature of your home.
Look at Extra Features
Shopping for a new furnace is a good time to evaluate if there are any extra features that would be useful in your home. Extra features tend to increase the price but can also help the furnace run more efficiently and make your life easier.
Zone heating allows you to control the heat to different areas of your home instead of heating the entire house to the same temperature. Zone heating can lower energy bills because you can target heat towards the most-used areas of the house. Most new furnaces can accommodate zone heating, but you may need to have your ductwork adjusted to differentiate between the zones.
Another extra feature is a variable speed blower, which changes the speed of the air as it moves hot air through the home. Variable speed blowers tend to create a more comfortable home and run quietly, but they can increase the furnace price.
Some furnaces include features like a diagnostic control board for fast and easy troubleshooting and internet connectivity for remote programming.
Buy The Right Filters
An often-overlooked aspect of furnaces is the air filter. When a furnace isn’t working properly, the air filter is the first thing to check because it has a direct impact on the unit’s efficiency and output. Planning and budgeting for high-quality filters can extend the life of your new furnace and make the warm air safer and easier to breathe.
The highest-quality air filter is an electrostatic filter, which traps dust and dirt particles with an electrical charge. A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate-arresting) filter can also be very effective. At the very least, look for filters with a higher MERV or MPR score. Air filters should be changed every one to two months, so it can be helpful to purchase a few or set up a subscription when you purchase the furnace to ensure you always have clean filters on hand.
Budget For Regular Maintenance
Another cost to consider when looking for a new furnace is regular maintenance. A brand-new furnace may not seem like it needs tune-ups, but furnaces are complex machines that work hard all winter long. It doesn’t take much for even the best furnace to experience a drop in output or efficiency. For best results, plan on an annual tune-up before the weather gets cold and the furnace will be in constant use. During a tune-up, an HVAC professional will examine every aspect of the furnace, clean the pieces, and ensure everything is properly connected and working as it should.
Regular maintenance can alert you to potential issues before they become bigger problems. Buying a new furnace is an investment, and regular maintenance is what protects that investment and keeps your new furnace running smoothly for years to come. Talk to your furnace provider about recommended maintenance and if they have a maintenance plan available.
Look At The Entire System
The furnace is crucial to keeping the house warm and comfortable, but it is just one piece of a complicated HVAC system. A great furnace won’t be very effective if the other parts of the system are faulty. As you purchase and install a new furnace, be sure to check the other components, including the thermostat, insulation, and ductwork. It only takes a small leak in the ductwork for large amounts of warm air to escape.
A new furnace may also require changes in other parts of the system. If you are changing the size or upgrading the furnace, you may also need to install larger air ducts so the air can flow correctly without any issues. Similarly, a new furnace may also require an updated thermostat with updated features. Your HVAC professional should examine the entire system as they install the new furnace, but make sure everything is cohesive and works well together before the project is complete.
Consider More Than Price
It can be tempting to automatically go with the least expensive furnace, but take your time to consider more than just the price. Get quotes from multiple HVAC companies and consider the efficiency and quality of the unit, as well as the installation costs, warranty, and maintenance plans. It could be worth paying a little bit more for a higher quality furnace or one with extra features that will make your home more comfortable or add value in the long run. Take the time to look at the overall cost of the furnace over its lifetime and not just the initial cost. Remember that the furnace is one of the most important parts of your home and crucial for keeping your family comfortable and safe. You don’t need to blow your budget on a quality furnace, but you also might not want to automatically choose the cheapest option either.
These eight tips for buying a new furnace can help you find the best unit for your home to keep it warm all winter long. If you need furnace replacement in Longmont, consider these tips for a great shopping experience. A warm and comfortable home is within reach with an updated furnace.