Furnaces – The Benefits of “Buying Smart”
November 22, 2014
Why you don’t want to pay $2800 for a furnace and installation. One of the biggest frustrations for the entire HVAC industry is how to combat companies who cut corners to provide their customers with low cost furnace installations. We know there is little appetite for doing the research into how / what to buy when you’re buying a furnace but we thought we would offer you some food for thought on why “buying cheap” may not be “buying smart”. Listed below are some things that the average furnace installation customer likely knows nothing about. If you’re not careful, you could end up making a decision that could cost many more thousands of dollars in the long run.
The number one thing that should be researched is the brand of furnace and its reliability. We know that there are lots of furnace brands out there that can be bought very cheaply. We will not lie, we have even explored selling some of these over time. Without fail, we have come back to furnaces that are more expensive. Why? Reliability. This is not to say that all inexpensive furnaces do not last. Some do, but this is due more to coincidence and maintenance than it is to a better engineered and manufactured product. We know that there is little that is rewarding about researching and buying a heating system. Most of the industry misses the point that people aren’t really interested in paying as little as possible just because they don’t like the process. What most people want is to buy the best value – and that usually comes with a product that doesn’t break down and will last twice as long. Do the math for yourself. How many repairs (at $200 per repair) over the life of the furnace will it take to cover the $700 extra a good brand costs? If you pay $2800 for a furnace but it only lasts 7 years, was it really a good decision when the reliable brand costs only $700 more?
The effectiveness of a heating system has just as much to do with the quality of the installation as it does the brand of the furnace. Unfortunately, industry installation practices have not kept up with furnace quality. Experienced installation teams know the critical items that help the customer get the most out of their systems. This not only takes time but attention to detail. Again, do the math yourself. How much are you really saving by getting “close enough” installation practices when you end up spending an extra 10 per cent on your heating bill? That is easily over $100 per year wasted due to poor installation. It won’t take long to recover your initial costs and enjoy lower heating bills when it’s done right!
The next one might not be as obvious. Are you paying for just the labour and the truck to install your furnace or are you paying for the years of experience and stability from your supplier? It may appear that you’re only interested in the labour it directly takes to install your system. Companies who have been around for a while know the value of documenting and training their staff on proper installation practices. We constantly re-evaluate new processes and equipment to deliver better long term solutions. This takes resources, but wouldn’t you rather know that your furnace is being installed with the best practices of the day with a focus on delivering the best long term value?
Buying from established companies not only gets you the strength of that company, it also buys you the strength of the manufacturer of the unit. These manufacturers are no different than in other industries – they listen more to their biggest customers. You may be able to buy a furnace cheaply from your neighbour who installs them on the side, but what happens when things don’t work as designed? Who has the resources to make things right? Who will represent your interests the best – a company who has installed thousands of furnaces over the years and knows what is or isn’t a manufacturing problem, or a guy that is running his business out of the back of a van?
Finally, do it for the best reason of all – safety. Your family deserves a safe environment to live in. Is it really worth saving a couple of hundred dollars on this huge detail? You may say “But there are industry standards that people are obligated to adhere to.” Who is more likely to ensure their technicians are fully conversant with all regulations; a trusted HVAC company with a long-running service record or someone trying to make a quick buck? Burning natural gas can be very effective to heat your house, but the system has to be vented properly to ensure your family is not exposed to carbon monoxide.
I’m not trying to say that $700 or more isn’t a lot of money. What I am saying is that you will get it back in performance reliability. Your furnace will break down less, be installed properly, run better and keep your family safer. Sounds like a good deal to me!
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