Category Archives: HVAC

New Furnace Cost – Gas Furnace Replacement vs. Repair – Furnace Buying Guide 2017-2018

Furnaces remain the most common way for homeowners in North America to heat their homes. This furnace buying guide has all the research needed to understand your furnace purchase and make a buying decision you’ll be happy with in the next 15-20 years. The focus is on gas furnaces, since most furnaces are fueled by natural gas (NG) or, with a simple gas valve change, liquid propane (LP). However, we also briefly discuss oil furnaces.

New Furnace Cost

When efficiency, size and performance are factored into the equation, expect these cost ranges for:

  • Basic furnaces: $750 to $1,475
  • Better furnaces: $1,000 to $2,150
  • Best furnaces: $1,850 to $2,800

Furnace installation costs are based on the complexity of the furnace, sheet metal work required to connect it to the ductwork and how difficult it is to access the installation location such as a crawlspace or attic. Expect estimates for installation in these ranges:

  • Basic furnace installation: $1,400 to $1,900
  • Better furnace installation: $1,750 to $2,200
  • Best furnace installation: $2,000 to $2,400

Reasons to Get a New Furnace

New Gas furnace and Duct Work

via Holliday Heating

If you are in an exploratory mode and wondering if a new furnace is the right move, here are the top seven reasons to buy a new furnace:

  • Repair costs on an existing furnace are 50% or more of the cost of a new furnace (33% for a furnace 12-15 years old; 25% of a furnace that is 15+)
  • You’re staying put – the longer you plan to live in your current home, the more it makes sense to put the money into new equipment (and conversely, if moving soon, repairing the furnace might make more sense)
  • It’s a preemptive move – your furnace is running, but you don’t know for how long due to age and/or past repair issues (worth considering where winters are harsh!)
  • Your gas bills are rising because the furnace is losing efficiency due to age (though you might want to have it cleaned and maintained to see if it significantly improves efficiency before deciding whether to replace it)
  • You want to improve efficiency
  • You want to upgrade climate control
  • You’ve built a home or addition that needs heating

Furnace repair vs. replace:

Some of you may have heard from an HVAC contractor that it is time for a new furnace, and perhaps you think the contractor is trying to sell you something you might not need. Well, skepticism is healthy in the repair vs. replace discussion when it is informed skepticism. Here’s a secret: HVAC contractors often make more money with a both/and approach. Repair it now; replace it later.

Charlie Greer is a seasoned HVAC contractor who owns a website called HVAC Profit Boosters with the motto, “Helping plumbing, HVAC, and electrical contractors become millionaires every day.” That tells you whose side he’s on. Speaking to HVAC contractors, Greer says:

Repair vs. Replace scenarios are tricky, because, once you bring up the topic of replacing the customer’s equipment, you stand the risk of the customer deciding to get bids, meaning that you could wind up getting neither the repair nor the replacement sale. In the long run, you make more money when they (homeowners) opt for the repair anyway. You get one repair now, possibly a few more down the road, then a higher price (due to inflation) when they ultimately replace it in the future.

Greer’s advice might be great for HVAC contractors, but not for homeowners. The bottom line is that if an HVAC contractor recommends replacing your furnace rather than repairing it, the person might be giving you sound advice, especially if the rationale involves some of the reasons from the above list.

Pro Tip: Make sure your HVAC contractor pulls a permit to install the new furnace, and that the job is properly inspected following the installation.

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Beat the Heat: Central Air Conditioning Cost – 2017 Buyer’s Guide

Staying cool during the sweltering heat of summer takes power. A fan helps, but doesn’t quite cut it. Portable air conditioners and window units are decent for single room use.

For a whole home, you’ll want a central system that can maintain steady temperatures in multiple rooms. Central AC delivers on power, yet there are many units to select from in the current market. Our buyer’s guide will walk you though the primary considerations such as appropriate models, installation costs, and other relevant factors to help you make to make the most informed decision.

via DiversePower

Basic Costs

In the current market, you can plan to spend between $3,500 and $7,500 for full installation of a central air conditioning system. The national average cost for a basic installation is just under $5,500.

These numbers translate to a licensed HVAC contractor installing the most feasible unit for your home. Installers’ expertise draws upon many factors, not the least of which is evaluating your current ductwork strengths and weaknesses, along with how well your home is insulated and will therefore retain the cool energy in your home.

via US Veteran Home Services Inc.

Did you know? When added to an existing forced-air heating system with the existing ductwork in place, a new central air unit for a typical 2,000 sq. ft. home will cost between $3,500 and $5,500 to install. However, if your home needs new ducts fabricated and put in place, then your total installation cost will range between $5,500 to $11,000 depending on the extent of work required to lay out the appropriate ductwork for the new central air conditioning system.

The ROI Factor

Part of what you pay for with most HVAC contractors are warranties. Modern units will typically run well for 7 to 15 years before needing replacement. Great units that are well maintained can operate for up to 18 years.

Generally, the return on investment, or ROI Factor, for central systems is a bit low. Contemporary home buyers have come to expect central air in their new home. At best, you’ll recoup 50% of the value you put into the central system at the time you sell your home. Compared with other home upgrades and improvements, such as updating insulation or installing a new roof, this is low.

With that said, the reliability of the system and how well it is maintained are arguably the most important factors for returning on the initial investment you make. Which is why warranty info matters. A contractor’s warranty will spell out how repairs are handled, in terms of cost, during the warranty period. Additionally, the manufacturer’s warranty covers the hardware and system parts that will be replaced should the need arise.

While extended warranties are tempting, they can add several thousands to the cost. Their value is debatable, as repairs may be actually less outside of these extended versions.

Plus, if you realize 10+ years is actually a good value for your system, a full replacement probably makes more sense than say $2,500 on repairs at that time. Ideally, the manufacturer of the unit includes a lifetime warranty on the original product.

Selecting The System – AKA Familiarizing Yourself With The Technical Nuances

While there are many features in the modern central AC units, some of that is bells and whistles, while others are the basics. The basics include:

  • BTU – this will determine size of the unit
  • EER – standard value noting energy efficiency, more obscure notation for central systems, less obscure for those in hotter climates
  • SEER – popular variable for noting energy efficiency in seasonal climates
  • Single-stage vs. two-stage – single-stage is the historic norm, two-stage offers power saving and noise reduction

Size and energy efficiency are generally the two main factors that govern most consumers when it comes to purchasing a new central AC system. With both BTU and SEER, the higher the number, the better the unit. However, and this can’t be emphasized enough, bigger isn’t always the most appropriate for every home.

Square footage of the rooms to be cooled in a home, will relate to the BTU calculation. So, say there is 1,000 sq. ft. of space to be cooled, then the general rule is that it will require a unit that powers at roughly 20,000 BTU’s per hour. If it were instead 2,000 sq. ft. of space, the number of BTU’s requried would be about 34,000 BTU’s per hour.

Did you know? If you were to take a central AC unit that has a capacity of 34,000 BTU’s, and install it for a smaller, 1,000 sq. ft. space, it would be detrimental and counter-productive to your overall energy efficiency. In fact, the AC unit would cycle on and off frequently, which would ultimately require greater energy than continuous operation, as well as lead to an increased operational wear-and-tear.

SEER is the variable that will drive decision between models as much as BTU’s. In fact, some model names among the top brands are based solely on the SEER factor, such as Goodman’s GSX13 (with up to a 13 SEER capacity).

In today’s world, the SEER range on the market is from 13 to 26 typically. A decade ago and earlier, finding models under SEER 13 was common, but U.S. standards in 2006 have lead the industry to adopt a minimum of 13 SEER for all manufactured products going forward.

Did you know? The bigger the SEER number, the more cost savings you’ll likely see on your energy bills over the course of a year. 😉

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