4 Things to Know When Buying a Replacement Furnace

It’s the time of year when family and friends start to gather together under the same roof. Homes are made ready for guests from across the country and decadent dinner recipes are planned. However, any holiday cheer you might look forward to could quickly hit a bump in the road if your furnace stops working. 

Wisdom tells you that the best time to shop for a replacement furnace in Kansas City is before your old one breathes its last breath. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to make an informed decision. Your new furnace is an investment for the future, so a bit of research is a smart idea. To ensure you make the right choice on your next furnace, you should know at least four things before deciding how to buy a furnace:

1. The Age of Your Current Furnace

The average lifespan of a furnace is between 16 and 20 years. Modern models tend to last far longer than older types, and proper maintenance and repairs can prolong the life of older models. If your furnace is fairly new, you might simply need a repair and not a replacement. It’s a delicate balance of finances and knowledge to know when to replace a furnace. To find the age of your current furnace, try the following:

  • If available, use the original owner’s manual to check the year on your furnace.
  • Consider calling the furnace manufacturer, usually listed somewhere on the unit.
  • Search your unit for a label listing the model number and then do a Google search of that number for more information. You might be able to pinpoint the exact year.
  • Talk to your local comfort advisor to discover the age of your current unit. 

If your current furnace is more than 10 to 15 years old, it likely has antiquated technology that costs you money on your energy bills each month. Consider replacing it instead of repairing it. A replacement model will be a better return on investment and will save you extra money on repairs in the long run.


2. The Difference Between Standard- and High-Efficiency Units

Within the past ten years, the Department of Energy has updated efficiency requirements for heating and cooling appliances. Energy Star ratings now apply to appliances, windows and furnaces. While they clearly show the ratings of the materials, you still need to know how to buy a furnace to get the best deal. It is worth talking to a professional before the big project to get an idea of what you should be looking for. Some models may depend on the structure of your home.

The difference between standard- and high-efficiency furnaces now depends on the amount of energy each unit converts into actual heat. For instance, standard units convert approximately 80 percent of fuel energy into heat for your home.

High-efficiency (HE) units, on the other hand, may convert up to 97 percent of fuel energy into heat. Most high-efficiency units convert somewhere between 90-97 percent of fuel energy into heat, depending on the model. Thus, high-efficiency units use the same amount of fuel to create more heat. You’ll see the savings on your fuel bill almost immediately this Kansas City winter season when you install an high-efficiency furnace. Do you need more reason than that?

A few of the benefits of a high-efficiency unit are:

  • High-efficiency units produce more heat for fuel input.
  • High-efficiency units are more environmentally friendly.
  • High-efficiency units reduce monthly utility costs.
  • High-efficiency units often make less noise.

The initial price of one of these units is higher than standard-efficiency models, but certain tax credits, rebates, and local incentives may help to lower the expense. Also, it will save you money in the long run. Check local and federal regulations during tax season and the promotions page on our website for various incentives.


3. The Cost of Fuel in Your Area

Just like any other commodity, the cost of fuel varies over time and between areas. To get an idea of average costs for your home, take a look at the past year’s average monthly cost. Contact your local utility provider to access past records and bills. They may be able to predict what this year’s trends will bring, or they may be able to help you with a payment plan for the season.

The type of fuel you use makes a difference, too. The four common types of furnace fuel are:

  • Gas
  • Oil
  • Propane
  • Electricity 

Some fuel types excel in certain climates while others work equally as well depending on your home’s size, the weather, and the type of unit you have. It is important to know the most efficient type of fuel for your climate before deciding when to replace a furnace.


4. Your Home’s Heating Load

Homes vary in square footage as well as in design. The amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home is the heating load. It often affects energy costs more than your fuel or even furnace type.

While an energy-efficient heating unit helps, ensuring that your home is energy efficient remains important, too. To ensure that both your new furnace and home work together for optimal energy savings, consult with your local comfort advisor at United to learn more about how to purchase a furnace.