5 Tips on How to pay the lowest cost for a furnace.
December 9, 2013
With the increasing focus of all consumers on reducing household costs, furnace buyers are no different. We get calls from potential customers “doing their homework” on purchasing a furnace. Unfortunately, very few of them are focused on the right things.
What are they focused on? How much the furnace costs. What should they be focused on? Reliability, warranty, and operating costs. Why do we say this? Because the difference between furnaces is usually less than $600, and the costs you can pay for breakdowns and inefficiencies over time will exceed thousands of dollars.
1. The first is reliability. If your furnace is less likely to break down, you avoid costly repair bills, even if it’s under warranty (since standard warranty covers only parts). We’ve posted statistics from independent sources (Consumer Reports) on the most reliable brands. See the chart below.
2. As we talked about above, standard warranty is currently 10 years parts, 1 year labour. Although the parts that fail will be covered, the cost to diagnose, remove and replace is not. Ask your sales person how much it would be to purchase 10 year parts and labour warranty. You may find it is included in your price.
3. Why are operating costs so important? The math on this is fairly straight forward. A 92% efficient furnace may cost you $500 less, but even at current natural gas prices, the difference in gas costs for the year is probably around $100. Take that over the 15 year life of the furnace, and you’ve got $1500 – over three times what the increased efficiency costs.
4. Get your furnace tuned up regularly. Annual short visits from trained professionals ensure that your system is operating at peak efficiency and safety. The likelihood that a repair can be avoided increases exponentially with regular visits. Let me do the math for you. How many $45 tune-ups can you do instead of waiting for a $500 repair bill? The answer is over 10 years worth. Said more simply, you can have a decade of tune-ups and it will still be cheaper than your first repair bill.
5. Make sure the size of the furnace is correct. This may appear obvious, but let me explain a little further. When a furnace is undersized, the only time you’re likely to realize it is when it is very cold out (<-2⁰F). At this temperature, even when the furnace runs non stop, it is not able to keep up with the heat escaping your house (through drafts, windows, doors, etc.). Running a furnace this hard contributes to premature failures. What is not as obvious is the harm that can come from an over-sized furnace. True, it will be able to keep up on the coldest days without much problem, but the problems arise from those more moderate days. Because the furnace is more than capable of heating the house, it can produce more heat than is needed fairly quickly. As such, it will satisfy your thermostat very quickly, leading to more frequent, shorter run cycles. The frequent on and off cycles fatigue switches and other moving parts much more aggressively than running longer cycles. Additionally, these short cycles do not give the burner enough time to drive heat into the entire heat exchanger – leading to cracks in the heat exchanger.
If you take the reduced labour repairs,($500-$900), and the reduced gas costs ($1500), you’ve easily justified the extra $600! So, if you’re really interested in paying the lowest cost for a furnace, look past the cost of the equipment, and focus on reliability, warranty, and efficiency. Your wallet will be happy you did.
If you have any questions, concerns or require additional information please feel free to comment below or contact us at any of the sources provided. firstname.lastname@example.org, 519.579.5330, Twitter @HoggMechanical, Facebook Hogg Heating & Air Conditioning
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