Let’s Go Furnace Shopping: 5 Big Mistakes to Avoid

Old Thermostat

Even though you’ve probably never dreamed of becoming well-versed in all things “furnace,” that is what is required when you start to shop for this big-ticket appliance.

Choose unwisely and you will spend the next several winters shivering and paying for pricey repairs. Choose well and you can move “buy furnace” to the very bottom of your homeowners maintenance to-do list for the next decade.

Our goal with this post is to help you make a wise furnace choice. Here are five of the most common first-time furnace buyer mistakes we want you to avoid.

Mistake 1: Going Straight for the Lowest New Furnace Bidder

No one likes to hear that the best furnace and the lowest-priced furnace typically aren’t one and the same.

This isn’t to say you have to clean out your bank account to get a decent furnace—not by any means! Just do your research to make sure the retailer you choose has a stable local business with an enforceable warranty and high-quality ratings from other recent customers.

The general rule of thumb is to select a high-quality, highly-rated furnace that comes backed by a reputable manufacturer warranty and a company that performs repairs on the units they sell.

In other words, as too many furnace shoppers discover only too late, the company you purchase your furnace from matters starting the moment there is a problem.

Mistake 2: Not Factoring in Local Energy Costs to Run a New Furnace

Traditional furnace systems run on three basic fuel types: electricity, natural or propane gas, and oil.

Of these three, the gas furnace is the most popular as well as the most efficient, especially in areas where winters are traditionally harsh.

Electric furnaces are typically the cheapest on the front end, a fact that can mask the lower efficiency you get from running them.

Oil furnaces are only a viable choice if your local area offers reliable, affordable oil fuel. Even so, they are still traditionally more expensive to purchase and install than the other two furnace types.

The bottom line here is to make sure to take a look at fuel prices before picking out your new furnace or you risk getting stuck with an affordable furnace that costs a fortune to operate!

Mistake 3: Forgetting About New Furnace Installation Costs

If only the purchase price of the actual furnace unit was all you had to budget for, but there are installation costs to consider. These can vary depending on the type of fuel your new furnace takes as well as the complexity of the unit itself.

All else being equal, you can expect electric furnaces to be the cheapest to install, followed by gas and then oil. The reason electric furnaces are typically cheapest to install is that they do not require any kind of complex set-up to receive their fuel.

The exception is if you are converting from natural gas to propane. This will require its own conversion process that can add to the installation price you pay.

Mistake 4: Not Researching Available Furnace Upgrade Rebates In Advance

It sure isn’t any fun to discover a week after you’ve purchased and installed your new furnace that the government is offering rebates for making a furnace upgrade!

Typically, these rebates require that you take specific steps in advance of your purchase. Also, the contractor you work with matters—you need to select a contractor that is approved to install the furnace in order to qualify for a rebate. In addition, the furnace will typically need to be Energy-Star certified.

You can always bookmark this website to learn about current available furnace upgrade rebates in your area.

Mistake 5: Failing to Match the Size of Your Furnace to Your Home Heating Needs

In decades past, it was common practice in the construction industry to install the most powerful furnace available regardless of whether it was sized for the space to be heated.

Unfortunately, new homeowners saddled with a too-large, too-powerful furnace soon learned their new system cost more to buy, install and run, and then drew more power to do less work.

Today, we know better. You need to pick a furnace with the right capacity to heat the size of your space; this is the pathway to reap full benefit of the new energy-efficient furnaces.

It can be challenging to figure out on your own how much furnace your home or workplace requires. There are two basic ways to calculate what size furnace is the best fit.

One is to match your home’s square footage and climate zone to the furnace. The other is to do something called a load calculation that involves no fewer than 12 separate variables, including number of windows and doors, construction materials, landscaping, orientation and more.

Here, consulting with a licensed, government-approved HVAC contractor can make short work of what is otherwise a challenging and error-prone process to match you up with the right size of furnace that will deliver maximum energy efficiency.

Is Your Furnace Ready to Retire?

According to Energy Star, the typical lifespan for a well-maintained furnace system is 15 years. After this time has elapsed, you are potentially sacrificing up to 15 percent energy efficiency to keep your current system.

Not only does upgrading to a new, high-efficiency furnace system net you that 15 percent savings on monthly fuel costs, but also you stand to make gains in humidity and heat balancing from room to room, quieter operation, reduction in airborne toxins, lower annual maintenance and repair costs, plus peace of mind.

Get in Touch

Do you need assistance in choosing the right size of furnace or finding and applying for government furnace upgrade rebates? We can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at 905-549-4616.

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