7 Things to Be Aware of Before Purchasing a Furnace in San Antonio

Purchasing a new furnace may not be a priority in the immediate future. But it’s smart to learn the things that will likely impact your selection when you’re ready to buy. Here are seven things you’ll want to consider when it’s time for furnace replacement in San Antonio.

1. Size and Installation Quality

To run at peak efficiency and comfort, your furnace must be properly 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 mistaken belief that a larger furnace is either more dependable or will provide better comfort.

The opposite is true. Large furnaces will short cycle, or continuously turn on and off. This leaves you uncomfortable, with more expensive energy bills and a furnace that could wear out much sooner.

This is why it’s important 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 forfeit as much as 30% of your energy efficiency.

Another key component of installation is ductwork. If yours is old or improperly designed, you might have issues with sound or comfort. A furnace is only as good as the duct system it’s attached to.

At Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air, our Expert HVAC technicians are ACE certified, which means they’re knowledgeable about repairing and installing various kinds of home comfort systems. In addition to technical skill, our technicians are also trained in treating you fairly. We also stand behind our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee for a year.*

2. Energy Efficiency

Furnaces are rated by a term called 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 wasted during the heating process.

If your present furnace is 15 years old, it’s likely rated well below 80 AFUE. As an example, if your HVAC system is 70 AFUE, you’re wasting up to 30 cents of each dollar you spend on heating.

Here’s how AFUE ratings work today:

  • 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 thing to consider: blower technology. This part circulates air throughout your home. And it also consumes a lot of electricity, so it’s important to be familiar with your options.

There are three kinds of blowers available on furnaces today. 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 cost and energy efficiency. It delivers an electrical efficiency boost over a traditional motor design.
  • Variable-speed motor. The most energy-efficient furnaces can run at different speeds. Instead of operating at full speed 24/7, they will quietly run at a low or medium speed at times. This helps improve your comfort while keeping energy costs low, both in the winter and summer. And it also keeps indoor humidity in check.

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 notice that your furnace is on.

5. Smart Thermostat

You probably use a programmable thermostat, but chances are you probably aren’t making the most of your energy savings. These thermostats can be difficult to program, especially if your schedule changes from day to day.

A smart thermostat eliminates all the guessing about energy efficiency. Many models can learn from your temperature preferences and then create an energy-saving schedule to match. They also recognize when you’re home or away and will adjust your heating and cooling as necessary.

As a bonus, you’ll also be able to monitor and change your settings from just about anyplace on your phone. Some models can even notify you if they find a problem with your furnace or remind you when it’s time to change your air filter.

6. Warranty

There’s a significant difference in furnace quality and reliability. Like any big purchase, we believe it’s wisest to go with a major brand name. With a top 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 typically have two main warranty coverage areas:

  • Heat exchanger. This is the heart of the furnace and the costliest component to replace. This part usually has a 20-year limited warranty or lifetime limited warranty, but this can differ based on the manufacturer and furnace model.
  • Main components. This includes the blower motor, electronic controls, ignitors and other key parts. Warranties can vary from as short as a one-year limited warranty to as long as a 10-year limited warranty.

When going over warranty coverage, it’s essential to know it's limited. So, you should make sure you get the limitations. For instance, nearly all standard manufacturer warranties only cover the price of the replacement part, not labor. And labor on a replacing heat exchanger could get very expensive.

Once your new furnace is running, make sure you finish the product registration right away. Many manufacturers may reduce the warranty term if the product registration is not completed. This step is easy and typically only takes a few minutes.

7. Cost

How much does all this cost anyhow? It could range from $1,700 for a basic furnace, or $5,500 or more for a high-efficiency system.

As you think about these costs and the impact to your budget, keep in mind 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 offers.

A couple of additional ways to save include:

  • Getting a new air conditioner simultaneously.
  • Purchasing at the ideal time, such as in early fall, mid-winter and early spring. You may be able to get extra discounts and rebates during this slower season.
  • Take advantage of rebates from the federal and state government, as well as from your local utility company. We can help you figure out this process.
  • Finance your new furnace or sign up for our exclusive HVAC Advantage Program™. For just one low monthly fee, you’ll receive 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 outdated one? Here are a few tips from our Experts that will help you decide.

Age

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 temperature preferences. If you’re somewhere with harsh winters, your furnace will operate more frequently, potentially making it wear out faster. The same goes 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 especially costly. Common and costly repairs on an older furnace include:

  • Blower motor failures
  • Ignition control failures
  • Heat exchanger failures

If repairs are greater than the half the cost of a new furnace, it’s generally recommended to replace it.

Energy Efficiency

Furnaces older than 15 years can be very inefficient. You could be throwing away as much as 30% of the money you spend to keep your home warm. Excessive energy costs and the desire to reduce energy use are also strong reasons to consider replacing your furnace. In fact, an independent study by Decision Analyst reveals nearly 20% of homeowners who recently replaced their furnace specifically did so to reduce their energy bills.

Trust Your Furnace Replacement to the Experts

It can feel overwhelming trying to investigate furnace features on your own. Or recognize exactly when you should replace your furnace. Our Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air Experts are here to make the process much more convenient. Call us at 210-404-4233 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.

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