|Steps to take before investing in
a new furnace
When buying a new furnace, it's critical that its heating capacity
is appropriate for your home. Unfortunately, most furnaces in American
homes are substantially oversized. That's why you should not simply
have someone come out to your home, eyeball your old unit and then
install a new furnace with the same specifications.
In addition to conducting a proper load calculation,
the existing ductwork should also be evaluated thoroughly by the
HVAC contractor. "A poor duct system, even with the most efficient
furnace, can hinder potential savings and at the very least affect
comfort," says Novak. "So, it's critical that your contractor
conducts a complete heat-loss analysis or load calculation for your
home to size your new heating equipment properly. If he doesn't,
it might be a good idea to deal with someone else."
Other factors to consider
Consumers also need to know how much comfort and convenience the
new heating system will ultimately offer. Will it come with a basic
manual thermostat or will it come with an electronic setback thermostat?
Will it come with a rudimentary washable air filter or will it use
pleated filters or an electrostatic filter? (Ask the heating contractor
which one is best.) Will it have internal and external temperature-and-humidity
sensors so that it can better adjust to your weather conditions?
These questions should be completely answered before the heating
system is purchased.
Finally, it's important to pay attention to product
warranties and the reputation of the local dealer with whom you
wind up doing business. Most manufacturers offer very comprehensive
(if not lifetime) protection policies for such key components as
heat-exchangers, but you need to find out how well the dealer or
installer will back up those warranties and what sort of service
But will you get a good return on your investment?
See how much you can save on fuel bills in the sidebar, "Return
on a new furnace investment."