The word shopping is usually something associated with relaxation and a day out with friends at the mall or some sporting goods store. Unfortunately, it may not always be the case when your furnace is fighting its final battle and you are in a race against Old Man Winter. And while furnace shopping isn’t exactly the kind of vacation that you might need, it is something that definitely needs your full attention.
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When shopping for a furnace, there is always the need for a careful planning to ensure that you get the best out of your buck and be stress-free from delivery, installation, and regular maintenance. Here’s a quick guide for your furnace shopping.
Do a Personal Evaluation
Before you jump into the world of technical terms about heating, cooling, or energy ratings, it is important to start with personal assessment of your current unit. Does your unit require a repair or a replacement? Will you be staying in your home in the future or will you be out on a long vacation? Can you hold off the replacement until your air conditioner also breaks down so you can replace both heating and cooling units with one complete system? All these questions play an important role in an important decision you are about to make. Of course there won’t be a need for any of these questions in the event that your furnace has already kicked the bucket or your home has been recently completed and that you are in need of a furnace.
Learn the Abbreviations
Unfortunately, furnace shopping involves a list of abbreviations related to HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems that you should be familiar with. Your first encounter with a salesperson might lead you to believe that they speak hieroglyphics once they start talking about AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), BTU (British Thermal Unit), SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating), and all the other HVAC abbreviations. Never use HPT (higher price tag) as a selling point for a furnace.
Be Familiar with Energy Ratings
Every homeowner who is on the hunt for a furnace should consider if the energy rating of the desired unit is worth the extra price tag. A high efficiency furnace is best recommended for people who live in areas with brutal winters. Although the price tag for more efficient units will be higher, you should be able to recoup the amount from the lower utility bills you get. However, if you are in a climate where your furnace can run sparingly during the winter season, the amount your pay for getting a high-efficiency furnace (90% or above) will not be as worth it.
Find Out Incentives or Tax Breaks that Go with a High-Efficient Unit Purchase
If you are familiar with energy ratings, you will also find out that the local government offers tax breaks or incentives for high-efficient units purchased. Get acquainted with these kinds of deals and never miss out on a $350 worth of rewards simply because you choose to not spend an additional $50 for the purchase of a higher rated system.
Never decide on the first unit you see unless you have made the effort to look at other models and do a comparison. Check on the added features as many units have similar energy ratings. Make a list of the units and the features that go along with each of the unit so you can decide on which one is perfect for your home. This step ensures that not only are you looking for the best furnace but you are also paying a fair market price for the unit of your choice.
I must say that furnace shopping isn’t exactly a trip to Bloomingdale’s, but when you’re prepared and you have your shopping trip carefully planned, it won’t be as bad as you think.