As soon as autumn comes, most homeowners start preparing for the new heating season and the question about furnace maintenance and new furnace installs pops up. As a homeowner, you surely want to be certain that you have a furnace that will keep you and your family warm throughout the entire season. That’s why you should know when you actually need to invest money in a new furnace.
Things to have in mind before considering a new furnace
If your energy bills are too high, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong with your furnace and it’s only natural that you will consider getting a new heating system. However, you need to be sure that the new furnace will be installed properly; Otherwise, you may end up paying twice the price you initially expected for heating purposes.
Therefore, if your primary focus is improving energy efficiency and lowering energy bills, it’s best to hire professionals and let them install the new furnace for you.
Of course, there are some situations when it’s not absolutely necessary to upgrade your heating system. So, make sure you have the following things in mind before making a decision regarding the heating in your home:
- Check your room air balance, as it can be the reason for various issues. In normal conditions, when the doors and windows are closed, the air pressure in every room should be identical. The efficiency of the energy can easily spiral out of control if warm air is forced in the room and can’t get out as soon as new heated air is produced. Hence, you should check this and make sure that the room air balance is maintained properly.
- The heat exchanger can be quite a problem. Usually, it is not a component of the furnace that you can easily access and clean, like the filter. The heat exchanger is hidden behind metal and can cause trouble if it starts working harder and longer than usual. This is normal for heating systems which are more than 10 years old. So, if you can’t remember when you purchased your heating system, it’s best to hire a professional service in order to have the heat exchanger cleaned.
- Some furnaces have filters that you can regularly clean by yourself. However, there are also filters that can be only cleaned by the furnace contractor. Remember, it is crucial to maintain your filter on a regular basis, so that you can get the heating you want without spending a fortune on bills.
- Older heating systems can often experience problems with air leakage. In such a case, the duct system should be checked and sealed if necessary. This is one of the most cost-effective and successful ways to save energy and lower energy costs.
New furnace installs are wallet-friendly in the long run
If you’ve had your current furnace for more than 10 years, now would be a great time to consider installing a new one. You may think that new furnace installs are very expensive, but it’s actually an investment that will pay off in the long run, since you won’t have to worry about high energy bills for years to come. Besides, a new heating system won’t cause you headaches by breaking down every now and then.
How often have you scheduled repairs for your old furnace in the last 4 years? If it’s more than once per year (maintenance excluded), calculate how much money you have spent on every repair. Constant breakdowns are a sign that the life cycle of your furnace is coming to an end, so you should replace it right away.
How to choose a good heating contractor for your new furnace
The moment you decide that it’s better to invest money in a new furnace than repair the old one, you will surely want nothing but the best heating system on the market. So, what follows are a few things you should consider when picking a heating contractor.
Even though saving money is never a bad thing, you shouldn’t “automatically” choose the cheapest contractor. Usually, if a company’s prices are ridiculously low, the services are bad and the technicians are not properly trained.
Choose a company that offers a detailed work plan and follows strict rules, so that you don’t come across any unpleasant situations. The total cost of the service should also be written down, hence protecting you from additional (hidden) expenses.
Do some research online, check what Google has to say about the contractor of your interest and ask your friends for their opinion. Learn which contractor has the best reputation and the best reviews online. Since you will be making a big investment, you should carefully evaluate every heating contractor and see which one deserves your trust the most.
Bear in mind that the majority of heating contractors will offer to replace your old heating unit, instead of installing a new one from scratch. What makes new furnace installs better is that they increase energy efficiency to a great extent.
What are the signs your home is ready for a new furnace?
If your furnace is getting up there in age (it’s more than 10 years old), you should be prepared for the possibility that you may want to upgrade your furnace in the next few years. In this blog, we’ll run through the signs that your old furnace might need to be replaced with a new furnace this winter.
King offers free in-home estimates here in Chicagoland, including Joliet, Oak Forest, Orland Park, and beyond. To schedule yours, give us a call.
Your older system just isn’t heating your home
As furnaces age, their heating output often becomes more limited. The furnace, in effect, is putting less warm air into your home’s air ducts. The result is that the system isn’t able to completely distribute hot air to all areas of your home, resulting in a patchwork of hot and cold spots.
For homeowners, this can be infuriating. You and your family may be enjoying the temperature of the kitchen, but you step into the living room to watch a movie and you feel like a cold front just came in through the door.
There’s a few things you can do to try to improve this situation. First, if your furnace is getting up there in age, it might be time for a new one. However, you can also call King for air duct cleaning. It’s possible that your distribution of heat is being negatively impacted by dirty or partially clogged air ducts. This also has a negative impact on your indoor air quality.
Your energy-efficiency has taken a big dip
If your energy bills are spiraling out-of-control this fall and winter, it could be a sign that your older furnace is no longer able to generate heat as efficiently as it once did. There are two solutions to this problem: first, have King perform a heating tune-up on your system. This will help to ensure that your system—no matter how old—is at least working at its optimal condition.
However, in the long run, you should probably consider replacing your older furnace. Here’s why: over time, those energy bills can cascade and add up to big costs. If you’re paying $50-$100 extra per-bill throughout the winter months, you’re quickly looking at $1000 extra dollars if you delay upgrading by two years.
Of course, that’s only one aspect where you might be paying more than you should…
You’re needing more repairs than before
If you’ve been needing to get your furnace repaired one or two times per-season, it might be a good idea to make the switch to a new furnace. Multiple, sequential repairs can quickly meet or exceed the cost of a new furnace, and you’re not getting the benefits of the boosted energy-efficiency or manufacturer’s warranty.
When in doubt, you need to speak with a King technician. Our NATE-certified technicians can help you determine what the future of your HVAC system should be, and what steps you can take to replace your older system.
What are the differences between gas and electric furnaces?
In this article, we review gas and electric furnaces, how each type of furnace works, and some of the key differences between them. If you need a new furnace in your home and you’re trying to decide between natural gas and electric models, call our team for a free in-home estimate today.
Gas furnaces generate heat for your home by combusting fuel (natural gas) in a combustion chamber and then transferring that heat to air through a heat exchanger.
Understanding gas furnace efficiency
When it comes to energy efficiency, gas furnaces are relatively efficient at generating heat for your home. The efficiency of a gas furnace is measured by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) score. AFUE is the measure of how much heat a furnace can pull from the gas as it combusts it. A gas furnace with 80% AFUE converts 80% of its fuel into heat, with 20% being lost in the exhaust. In other words, the higher the AFUE, the more efficient a furnace is, as it will use less gas to produce more heat.
Today’s furnaces have an efficiency floor of 78% AFUE, but many high-efficiency models are nearing 100% AFUE. For example, the Carrier Infinity® 98 Gas Furnace boasts a 98.5% AFUE score, making it one of the most efficient furnaces on the market today.
An important note before we move on: AFUE is less useful when comparing different types of systems. As we’ll review below, electric furnaces have 100% AFUE, but that doesn’t make them less expensive to run. The same thing goes for propane or oil.
A system for all seasons
Because they draw heating energy from natural gas and not electricity, many gas furnaces do not need excessive amounts of electricity to operate. This makes them ideal during power outages caused by storms since they can be run off of a backup generator in your home.
Electric furnaces work like a super-sized hair dryer or toaster. Electric current is run through heating elements, heating them up to high temperatures. Cold air is then forced through those elements, rapidly heating the air before it is pushed out through your air ducts to the living spaces of your home. This process continues until the air temperature in your home matches what your thermostat is set to.
More efficient, but costs more to run
On the surface, this feels like a paradox, right? How can an electric furnace with 100% AFUE cost more to run than a gas furnace with 93% AFUE? While electric furnaces are far more efficient at converting their energy source (electricity) into heat than other types of furnaces, this efficiency is counterbalanced by the market prices of each energy source. Natural gas is typically far less expensive than just electricity, so even the most efficient electric furnaces may be more expensive to run.
Of course, the exception to this rule applies to homes with electric-generating solar panels. By pairing an electric furnace with rooftop solar, you can defray some of the costs associated with heating your home in the winter.
No need to vent
Unlike their gas-burning cousins, electric furnaces do not need to expel combustion gases from the home via a flue pipe. This means that an electric furnace only needs to be connected to ductwork, allowing it to go in more places in your home.
No gas combustion also means that electric furnaces do not have a flame sensor, a heat exchanger, or other components found in a gas furnace. There’s no risk of a gas leak or a carbon monoxide leak, although such events are relatively rare in a gas furnace, as well.
Other types of furnaces
There are also furnaces fueled by propane and oil. While these furnaces—like electric furnaces—are often more efficient than gas furnaces, their fuel types are more expensive. If you’re considering either of these types of furnaces, be sure to talk to your local HVAC company about energy costs in your area and what you can expect to pay to heat your home in the winter.
Learn more about gas and electric furnaces
If you’re deciding between gas and electric furnaces, calling us is actually a good place to start. At King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we offer free in-home estimates on new systems. Our technicians can meet with you to review your home’s heating needs, and then help you find the right system for your house and your family. Contact us today to schedule your free in-home estimate.
Fall is the perfect time for a furnace upgrade
It’s fall here in Chicago’s South Side, and the leaves are beginning to change. Soon, they’ll fall, and winter will officially be here. If you’re relying on an aging furnace to get you through the coldest months of the year, you might be in for a cold awakening when it stops working. If your furnace is between 10-20 years old, fall might be a good time to think about a furnace upgrade.
In this blog post, we’ll review how a new furnace from King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing will help you save money on energy, reduce the likelihood of a breakdown, and increase your long-term savings. To get started on your furnace installation, call King at (708) 315-2168 or get in contact with us today.
Get the best possible energy savings
With an emphasis on energy-efficient design, the furnaces manufactured by Carrier today use far less energy than their predecessors 10-20 years ago. Part of this trend is driven by consumers: as energy prices have increased, the demand for furnaces (and air conditioners) that use less electricity or gas has skyrocketed. Thanks to the gains made in the past two decades, a furnace upgrade today could lead to significant savings on your winter energy bills.
Unfortunately, older furnaces hurt your energy efficiency on two fronts. In addition to not having the technology that modern heating systems do, furnaces also become less efficient as they age, due to worn parts and the general wear of decades of near-constant use for entire seasons. If you have an aging system and you’ve noticed that your energy bills have been spiking out of control, it might be time to give King a call about a furnace upgrade.
Head into winter with a reliable system
No one wants their furnace failing in the middle of a Chicago snowstorm, or a chilly, windy night. You, your home, and your family relies on your furnace for your winter safety and home comfort. If your furnace is older than 10 years old, you should consider replacing it. If it’s between 15 and 20 years old, you’re running the risk that it could breakdown this winter, or die altogether.
Reliable heating isn’t just an issue of comfort. It’s also an issue of costs. If you have to have your furnace regularly repaired, those costs can add up over time. This means that every winter you delay replacing your heating system with a furnace upgrade from King, you’re throwing money at a system that might not be around the following season.
Many people don’t think about the ways in which an older furnace—although already something you own—can cost them money. If you’ve been debating getting a new furnace upgrade, you should take spending more on energy and repairs with an older heating system into account.
Save even more
Your furnace upgrade will save you on energy costs and may keep you from paying for heating repairs this winter, but it can also save you in other ways. At King, we regularly offer seasonal specials on our furnace upgrade and installation service. If you don’t see a special here, be sure to check back.
Upgrading from a low-efficiency system to a high-efficiency furnace may qualify you for several state, federal, and utility rebates through Carrier. You can use this system to search by zip code for rebates available in your area. If you have questions about whether you qualify for a rebate or how to redeem one, give King a call. Our team would love to help you out.
One final way to save? Your new Carrier furnace may come with a new, 10-year manufacturer’s warranty that offers forms of coverage for parts and the functions of the system. This warranty protects you in the event of a furnace breakdown, and is—in effect—a great way to save money. Your aging furnace likely had a warranty that has long since expired, so a furnace upgrade from King can provide you with this incomparable peace of mind.
Call King for your free furnace upgrade estimate
King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing offers free estimates on advanced, energy-efficient Carrier furnaces. Our NATE-certified technicians will measure your home and your family’s energy needs to help you find the right furnace; a system that is too big or too small will burn energy faster while producing less heating. Once we’ve completed this work, we’ll provide you with a free, upfront estimate on how much the new furnace will cost.
If you’re ready for more reliable heating this Chicago winter, give us a call at (708) 315-2168 or contact us online. We’ll get you started with a free furnace estimate.
We're the heating contractor you’re looking for
We, at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, can meet your expectations regarding furnaces of all makes and models. You can rely on us because we have over 50 years of professional experience. We’ve won multiple awards which serve as proof that we are the preferred choice of homeowners in Illinois.
You can always turn to us for expert advice. Our technicians will immediately come to your place and perform a thorough inspection. They will talk to you about your energy-efficiency goals and determine the right solution for your heating needs. The pricing is calculated upfront, so you won’t be surprised by any additional costs.