How to Buy a New Furnace 
Is 2020 the year you need to buy a new furnace? As you prepare to make this significant investment into your family’s comfort, our heating experts outline what you need to know before you make your purchase. Before you purchase a furnace, keep these points in mind.
When Should I Buy a New Furnace?Timing is everything when you replace your furnace. You don’t want to replace your furnace too early, but you also don’t want to wait too long to buy one and be left without heat after a sudden breakdown. To help you time your furnace purchase just right, look for these signs that tell you it’s time to buy:
- The furnace is more than 15 years old. As mechanical systems age, they experience wear and tear, and their energy efficiency starts to drop. Although a new furnace requires a financial investment, it’s one that will pay you back in lower heating costs.
- Your heating bills keep rising without an appreciable change in the weather or your comfort preferences.
- The furnace starts making strange noises inside the blower compartment. They can signal motor or heat exchanger failure.
- The furnace needs frequent repairs. When the mechanical and electrical parts inside the furnace need to be replaced with some frequency, it’s time to consider central heating and cooling installation in Cincinnati. Not only is the lack of heat uncomfortable while you wait for a repair or the replacement parts, the investment in new parts and labor may not be worth it, especially if your heating bills keep rising.
- It has signs of rust or a cracked heat exchanger. Any sign of rust inside the blower compartment is a red flag that replacement may be imminent. If your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors go off after the furnace starts or shortly after it stops, call your HVAC contractor immediately after turning off the furnace. A cracked heat exchanger may be emitting CO into your air.
- Lack of professional maintenance or running your system with a dirty air filter can crack this vital part. A cracked heat exchanger almost always requires a furnace replacement unless a warranty covers parts and labor for repairs.
Things to Consider Before Replacing a FurnaceThere are 3 critical factors to consider when considering a new furnace:
- Furnace sizing
- Energy efficiency
- Fuel source
SizingChoosing the right size furnace for your home will have short- and long-term consequences for your comfort, energy bills and the lifetime of the system. The HVAC contractor you select should perform a load calculation for your home using Manual J software to find the best fit before buying a new furnace. While your home’s size is part of the equation, there’s more to it, including:
- Your home’s overall energy efficiency
- Cubic footage you want to heat
- Layout of the home
- Heat you create indoors
- Number of family members and their ages
- Temperature preferences
Energy EfficiencyHeating efficiency for combustion heating systems is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE rating), which starts at 80. This reflects the percentage of the fuel the equipment uses to heat your home, as opposed to total usage. A system with an 80 AFUE uses 80 percent of the fuel it uses to heat, as opposed to wasting it up the chimney. When buying a new furnace, you’ll find that systems with a higher AFUE cost more. The most efficient systems available have ratings that reach the high 90s. Since winters can be long and harsh in our area, better efficiency translates to reduced heating bills over the system’s lifetime.
Fuel SourcesFind out what fuels are available in your area and check their costs, as it’s quite possible that the fuel your old furnace used is more expensive than newer alternatives. You may be able to make further savings by choosing the right fuel.
Key Furnace Features to ConsiderA lot has changed since you last bought a new furnace. Technology advances rapidly in the HVAC industry! Today, there are many new features available in a new furnace that improve household comfort and conserve energy. Before you purchase a furnace, consider the following advanced features to look for in a new heating system:
- Variable-speed blower: This feature allows a furnace to deliver air more quietly and slowly than a unit with a single-speed blower. It also helps to ensure a consistent temperature while minimizing drafts. Because it converts AC power to DC, a variable-speed blower uses less electricity. According to engineering studies, these blowers can lower heating costs by as much as 40 percent.
- Variable heat output: This is an option on many furnaces with variable-speed blowers. It automatically adjusts output, depending on heating requirements.
- Ignition system: No more pilot light! Today’s furnaces have intermittent, direct-spark or hot-surface ignitions, thereby eliminating the need for a constant flame. This makes them more energy efficient
- Two-stage gas valve: This energy-saving component is designed to operate in its first stage when heating requirements are moderate. As the outdoor temperature falls, and heating requirements rise, the valve operates in its second stage. The two-stage design offers significant benefits in terms of savings.
- Heat exchanger: Look for a heat exchanger that’s made of stainless steel for corrosion resistance. Stainless steel construction also maximizes strength against thermal fatigue.
- Premium filters: Many high-efficiency furnaces come with electrostatic or HEPA filters, which do a better job of trapping particulates than standard air filters. An electrostatic filter uses an electrical charge to trap particulates. A HEPA filter, meanwhile, is denser than a standard filter.
How Much Does a Furnace Cost?It’s no secret that furnaces don’t come cheap. However, most Cincinnati homeowners feel more comfortable shopping for equipment and obtaining quotes from contractors when they have a rough idea what to expect. When you buy a furnace, the quote you receive from your contractor includes both equipment and installation. You buy the equipment from your contractor, who also takes care of installing it for you. All the factors and features above impact the cost of equipment, and there are some additional factors that impact the cost of installation, such as updates your home needs to ensure the new system operates at its best. When you buy a furnace, keep in mind the following estimates:
- Installation for gas furnaces typically cost between $2,500 and $6,100.
- Installation for electric furnaces typically cost between $1,200 and $5,900.