When the furnace goes out, what do you do?
Needing to make a major purchase, like a new furnace, on short-notice is stressful, not only because you probably are nearing desperation (it’s getting colder in your house), but also because most of us know nothing about furnaces or how much is too much/too little to spend. Who should be trusted to help you make this major financial commitment? What we need to know is how to buy a furnace fast!
Ideally you have a relationship with an HVAC company who you’ve had service your unit or you’ve spoken with in the past about your system. That is a good place to start. Call them and have them make a visit to your home. Here are some important questions to ask:
Is my system worth fixing?
Given the cost of some items on your furnace it’s important to determine if it’s worth fixing (if so, how many more years of life can you expect from your furnace) or if you’re better off investing in a new system. Remember that making a repair to add a few more years to an already older furnace (15-years+) isn’t always the best option. By installing a newer, high-efficiency model now, you can save some money through lower energy costs and need less maintenance in the near future.
Are you NATE certified?
NATE-certified technicians are recognized as meeting the highest industry standards for knowledgeable installation and services of HVAC equipment and systems. Because of the rigorous certification process NATE-certified technicians conquer, it is more likely that they will install and service systems right the first time. This means better customer service, fewer callbacks and better word of mouth.
What brands do you install and service?
Have they been loyal to these brands, like Carrier, so you know they can stand behind their installation with excellent customer service? If you have the time, consider consulting Consumer Reports Buying Guide to see their reviews of furnaces by brand, durability, number of repairs, cost, etc. This will give you some guidelines for what brands you want to consider/stay away from.
What would you do if you were me?
You will want to discuss your needs with them, concerns, and the pros and cons for different brands and models based on your needs and budget. You will need to trust their assessment for their recommended size of the furnace – so that it’s neither too big or too small.
Can I get your bid in writing?
You don’t want to have any surprises when dealing with a major purchase such as a furnace. Get the warranty information as well.
Can you reduce the costs?
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your dealer what specials and rebates they are currently running on the brand you are considering. Also, check for any utility company rebates available.
As tempting as it may be, and as desperate as you may be getting, don’t settle and make a decision after having just one bid. Get a second opinion – check with friends or family as to who they use for their furnace maintenance or installation and have that dealer make a visit to your home and go through the process again. It’s important to make an informed decision, so getting a few bids from different companies is ideal.
This purchase will be with you for a long time – it is reasonable to expect a lower-tier furnace to have a life-span of around 15 years and 20+ years for a brand-name furnace like Carrier, so don’t take this process lightly. By doing a little research, talking to a few qualified dealers and getting solid bids, you’ll end up with a warm home and a new relationship with a company you can count on for years to come.
For home maintenance and comfort tips, visit StayComfyMinnesota.com! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.