Furnace Replacement - Frequently Asked Questions

One of the inevitable facts about owning a furnace is that it will one day have to be replaced. Luckily, these machines, when they come from a good brand a reputable installer, can last quite a long time when taken care of properly, but regardless, eventually, the lifespan of your Austin heating unit will be out. Many people experience a good amount of stress and frustration when it comes time to replace your furnace. Typically this has much to do with the fact that people have a lot of questions and it can be hard to find readily available answers to these questions.

That’s what this tip of the day aims to help with. We’re going to go over some of the most frequently asked questions asked by homeowners who are in the market for a new furnace. Hopefully, this will allow you to be better informed and what the process of buying and installing a new furnace is like and what to expect when it comes to pricing, when and where, and how to shop for a furnace. Read on to learn about some of the ins and outs of replacing your furnace and installing a new one.

When is it Time to Replace My Furnace?

You’ll be able to find a range of numbers if you look for the answer to the question of how long a furnace will last before it needs to be replaced. That’s because there are a lot of factors involved and even when comparing two identical models there’s no guarantee about how long each will last. There are averages though and typically furnaces live an average of 18 to 20 years, depending on if you had it professionally maintained or not. Age isn’t everything, though. The cost to keep the furnace running will give you more concrete reasons to replace it or not.

In other words, even if your furnace is still running it might be time to replace it if it has lost a significant amount of energy-efficient, therefore has become expensive to run or if it has started to need repairing on a regular basis just to stay afloat. Either way, it may seem hard to rationalize spending a large sum on a new furnace now if your current one is working but it can very well save you money in the long run if you replace your furnace before it just gives out completely.

So now let’s talk about some of the biggest signs you may use as a yardstick to decide whether it is time to replace your furnace. The first and most obvious is age. Any furnace over the age of 10 should be considered up for consideration. The next two biggest signs are what was mentioned before, high energy bills indicated a significant drop in energy efficiency and the need for frequent repairs. Both of these problems are good signs that your furnace has outlasted its most useful years and now is on its way out.

Other signs include a yellow or flickering pilot flame instead of the healthy blue one, frequent cycling, in other words, the furnace turns on and off more often than usual, strange smells or sounds emanating from the furnace, or uneven temperatures throughout the house. All of these routine signs of problems with your furnace should indicate to you that perhaps it is time to consider a replacement if your furnace has reached the age when this is a consideration.

How Much Will a New Furnace Cost

There are usually the most commonly asked questions people thinking about replacing their furnace will ask and for good reasons. The cost of your next furnace is going to be a major factor in both when you can get it installed and which model you eventually decide upon. We’ll get into specifics in a moment but first, let’s look at a ballpark average to get you a quick idea of what you’ll be looking at cost-wise. Nationally, the average cost of furnace installation is $4,000. Many factors affect the cost, including duct installation or repairs.

To get a more accurate and specific idea of what the cost maybe let’s go into some of the factors that you’ll have to decide upon when choosing a furnace. The first thing you'll need to consider is the type of furnace to install. Since most furnaces last between 15 and 20 years, chances are the choices now available didn't exist when your original unit was purchased. Meaning one big plus of upgrading your furnace is that you’re going to see a significant reduction in your energy bills under most circumstances. The most common residential furnace is powered by natural gas. According to Bluebook International, which publishes residential repair and replacement costs, the cost of a standard efficiency natural gas furnace ranges from $2,250 to $3,800. You may incur higher costs, depending on the complexity of the install or if you choose a higher efficiency unit.

Oil furnaces preceded gas and are still available in some states, but these furnaces tend to be less efficient. According to Bluebook International, they cost $2,200 to $2,500 to install, possibly more if existing ductwork needs to be adapted. But that’s not the whole story. Factors such as hard-to-reach ductwork, a complex floorplan, or a larger, more energy-efficient unit can push the price as high as $10,000.

You can also choose to install electric heat, which comes from small registers located around the border of each room. Although the cost of installation averages between $1,800 and $2,700, according to Bluebook International, this type of heat source isn't a good idea for heating large spaces and comes with high energy costs. One newer option gaining popularity is a heat pump, which pulls in heat from the air or ground using refrigerant coils. These furnaces can be used as air conditioning units in summer, but many can't operate in extremely cold climates, limiting their efficacy.

The cost of the heating unit itself isn’t the whole picture though. Installing a furnace also comes with labor costs. The price of labor isn't fixed, but many companies charge approximately $75 per hour for a licensed installer and $50 for a helper. For an 8-hour install, this comes to $1,000 for labor alone. Install costs may run higher if extensive ductwork repair or modification is necessary, or if a new furnace is significantly smaller or larger than an existing unit.

Two warranties govern furnace installs and function. The first is the manufacturer's warranty, which comes with the furnace and protects against defects in the furnace itself, such as inoperable fans or pilot lights that won't stay lit. A contractor's warranty covers the labor involved to make repairs if the furnace doesn't work properly and is often good for a period of 5 to 10 years. Some contractors charge more for extended warranties.

When is the Best Time to Replace My Furnace

Furnaces replacement and installation can be done at any time of the year but that doesn’t mean that some times aren’t better than others. Obviously, if your furnace has broken down and it is the fall or winter then you’ll want to schedule a new furnace installation as soon as possible so you don’t have to be without heat and left out in the cold.

But if you want to replace your furnace and that isn’t your situation then your best bet is the spring or fall. These are periods where contractors working with cooling and heating in Austin are generally not as busy. You’ll have more flexibility in scheduling the job and may be able to take advantage of pre and post-season deals.

What Should I Look For in a New Furnace

This is a question that doesn’t have a rigid answer because in part it depends a lot on what your needs are and what your budget is. Certainly, though one thing you want to look for in a new furnace is high energy efficiency. Gas furnaces, the most common heating unit type, come with a host of choices that can affect their price. The first is heat output, measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs); an "average" home is well served by a 60,000 BTU furnace. Units with higher BTU ratings aren't necessarily better for smaller homes, since they'll cost more and hit ideal temperatures too quickly, then shut off, resulting in an inconsistent comfort level.

Furnace efficiency is the next consideration. Older-model furnaces were often rated 80 percent efficient or less, which means 20 percent of the heat generated was lost to waste. Many new models are rated 90 percent or better, with some in the 94 to 95 percent range. This small jump in efficiency translates to a decrease in utility costs.

It's also important to determine how effectively a gas furnace can heat your home, in large part determined by its "staging." Older furnaces were one stage, meaning they always ran at full power. Many newer furnaces are two-stage, capable of running at 65 percent when first starting up to conserve fuel, and then ramping up to 95 percent as needed. More expensive three-stage models also exist, which can run anywhere from 33 to 90 percent power in 1 percent increments. So you’ll have to decide whether you want a one or multi-stage furnace when you’re shopping.

You’ll also want to take a closer look at other aspects of the furnaces you’re considering such as the warranties they have, the BBB ratings, and what kind of reviews they’re getting online.

Furnace Installation, Replacement, and Heating Repair in Austin

Buying a new furnace can seem like a daunting task at first but it doesn’t have to be. With a careful and calculated approach, you can smoothly traverse the heater market and find your new furnace without any issues. Just keep in mind some of the things you want to look for in a furnace, what fuel source makes sense for you, the energy efficiency, and ask for help when you need it. Any Austin heater repair company worth their salt will be able to advise you when it comes time to picking out a model and getting it installed.

AC Express is one such Austin heating service. We operate all throughout the Austin area from Buda and Kyle to Pflugerville and Round Rock. If you need a new furnace installed it is important you contact a contractor you can trust. For heater repair in Austin or heater replacement, call AC Express!