When you think of furnace buying, you may be overwhelmed by the choices. It may seem like you are swimming with sharks. But, if you are properly prepared, you can save lots of money. This guide will help you to know what to look for in a contractor as well as how to know that the job has been done in a quality manner.
The first step is being prepared by learning some basics. This will help you to decide on what efficiency and added features are right for you.
**HOT TIP** If you do not do your homework, it is easy to get talked into buying all the latest bells and whistles. This will cost you a lot of money!
Then, you will be able to select a brand with the features you want and still stay within your budget. A dealer is going to try to sell you their big brand name. If you are not prepared, you will end up spending big money just for the brand name.
1. Provide a written all inclusive purchase agreement. Make sure it states that it " includes all parts, labor, taxes, etc. to install". If it does not, you could end up with some nasty surprises.
2. Provide a written copy of the warranty forms and fill out any registration forms required by the manufacturer. Many brands require registration to validate the warranty.
3. Perform a computerized load calculation. If the dealer does not, they will be guessing at the right size. **HOT TIP** You do not want someone guessing at the size of furnace you need. That is a sign of an amateur.
4. Require full payment only after the job is complete including an inspection by you.
The final step in furnace buying (and before you write that check) is to inspect the job to ensure that it is done properly.
FOR AN ELECTRIC FURNACE:
1. The air filter should be easily accessible.
2. All duct connections at the furnace should be sealed to prevent air leaks. Duct tape SHOULD NOT be used for this.
3. The unit should be sitting on rubber isolation pads to minimize noise during operation.
4. If the unit is located in a basement, the unit should be on blocks and at least four inches above the floor.
5. There should be an electrical disconnect device within three feet of the furnace.
6. There should not be any scraps or trash left laying around. You want someone who pays attention to details when they are installing your furnace.
7. A new digital thermostat should have been installed. Installing a new high efficiency furnace with an old mechanical thermostat is a sure sign of an amateur.
8. Run the system through a normal cycle to ensure that it works properly. Listen for popping noise from the ducts when the fan starts and stops. That is not normal and is a sure sign of problems to come.
FOR A GAS OR OIL FURNACE:
1. Check all the above for an electric furnace and also the following.
2. The vent pipes should be supported as necessary to prevent sagging, but at least every eight feet. **HOT TIP** A high efficiency furnace should have two vent pipes (an intake and exhaust). Some less reputable dealers will install them with only an exhaust.
3. The vent pipes should be sloped back to the furnace at a rate of 1/4 inch in four feet.
4. The vent pipes should be as short as practical.
5. There should be a shutoff valve for the gas or oil next to the furnace. It should not require you to remove any access panel to get to the valve.
Ask the dealer/installer to walk around the job with you to check these things. A good installer would be happy to show off the job.
You can now perform your furnace buying with confidence! You are prepared to get both quality and value.