How To Shop For A Furnace
1. Wait too long.
Too many consumers wait until their furnace fails to have it replaced. In an ideal world you will get two weeks notice before your furnace fails but the world isn’t ideal. Normal work hours make up 23.8% of the entire week which means it is three times more likely that your furnace will fail at night or on the weekend. To further complicate matters, furnaces don’t typically fail in July when they aren’t being used—they fail when they are being stressed. That means they are more likely to fail when it is below zero. When its cold outside you might have to settle for the first dealer who can get to your home and do an emergency replacement. You may not have a choice in the furnace that is used because you have to take what’s available. Finally, you will probably pay more for an emergency installation than you would if you planned ahead.
2. Assume that an ultra high efficiency furnace will solve all of your comfort and energy saving needs. Energy costs go up year after year and we all want to keep them as low as possible.
Your home may or may not be a candidate for a high efficiency furnace, however. The ductwork in your home may not be of sufficient size to enable the ultra high efficiency furnace to work properly. If your installing dealer proposes a slightly lower efficiency level and provides the rationale for that proposal, listen closely.
3. Buy a furnace and only a furnace.
Yes, your furnace may be your immediate need but it is often wise to replace your air conditioner at the same time. If you have an older air conditioning unit you are paying your electrical utility way too much money to keep your home comfortable. Additionally, you will probably same money if you do both units at the same time because the dealer can install them in less time than if they were done separately.
4. Go for the lowest price.
Furnaces, like almost every other product you can purchase for your home, come in various models with features that can enhance comfort, increase resale value, and provide increased operating life. You might be getting a low price because you are dealing with a one person shop. If that person is on vacation when you have a problem to whom do you turn? If the low price is a result of the company not pulling a permit to save money and you have a safety hazard, who will catch it before it is a problem? The low price you pay today may be erased by service maintenance fees, service calls, and increased energy bills.
5. One furnace brand is better than any other.
Virtually every manufacturer makes a variety of products for a number of markets. No manufacturer makes the best product for all situations. As a consumer, your most important job is to find an installing dealer who will recommend the right product for your needs and will stand behind what is installed. When your furnace goes out and it’s below zero outside you will not be calling the manufacturer of your furnace, you will be calling the installing dealer.
6. My relative in Texas had good luck with brand X so I will go with the same.
The great luck your relative had in Texas may or may not be due to the brand. In all likelihood, your relative in Texas had the good fortune to have had an installation done by a quality dealer who made sure everything was done properly. Another concern might be the change in location. A furnace in Texas might operate fewer than 500 hours a year but you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin where that same furnace might have to run well over 2,000 hours in a heating season.
We are very favorably impressed both with the staff of Home Energy Center and the product. From the time of presentation, installation, and follow up we appreciated the competence and helpful manner of the staff.
- Mary and Jerry in Anoka (Heating and air conditioning system)