This guide is offered to help you make the best decisions and to think about aspects of the purchase you may have not thought about prior. If you have any questions on this guide or wish to speak to us call us at (920) 734-1436 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome! This guide is designed to walk you though some key points when looking at furnaces and some common techniques to watch out for from contractors.
There are so many brands out there of furnaces, but did you know there are really only a handful of factories that produce them? Most companies produce their products under multiple brand names. Most of the time the difference is merely a sticker, but some do have noticeable differences between brands, like Amana and Goodman.
Brand names really are not as important as they once were. What matters is how they back the product.
All of them aim to have reliable parts, but in the constant battle for keeping their prices as low as possible you can run into a system that could have part failures. This is why you want a company that has a good warranty and reputation for helping customers.
Most furnaces today will come with a standard warranty of 10 Year Parts, 1 Year Labor (when properly registered). Just a decade ago 5 Year Parts, 1 Year Labor was a common standard with furnaces. It's recommended to get 10 Year Parts & Labor. Make sure you work with a company that is available 24/7 for emergency work and responsive. In Wisconsin, we do not have the luxury of time in the dead of winter if your furnace goes out.
Make sure you work with a brand that does their own warranty and doesn't farm it out to another business. When that's done you're essentially working with an Insurance company and we all have been there... Most of these privately ran warranty companies will do anything and everything to get away from helping you (and it's sickening). While it is the contractor's job to process warranty ... if the warranty companies aren't paying them, they're going to be looking to get paid by the customer.
An important component that is overlooked is the type of blower motor used in the furnace. There are three options, PSC, X13, and ECM (Good, Better, Best).
(GOOD) PSC (No longer produced as of late 2019!) is the motor that has been used for years, it is a standard efficiency. It does not have any power saving benefits, it's the plain old simple blower motor and operates at set speeds. These furnaces are not available anymore. They did mass produce PSC equiped furnaces prior to the phase out but the country went through the stock pretty fast.
(BETTER) X13 is a fixed speed energy efficient motor. It operates at a lower power but lacks variable speed controls. This motor was designed to be a cross between the PSC and the ECM motor.
(BEST) ECM is the best blower motor available, and it is a motor we have been strongly recommending for years. It offers variable speed operation allowing a slow low power circulate speed as well as logic to help handle air restriction. This is ideal as it allows you to leave the fan switch on your thermostat to 'on' and it will slowly recirculate air when your heating or cooling system is not running. This allows for a much more even temperature in the home.
There are three types of furnaces in the market.
(GOOD) Single Stage: When your thermostat tells your furnace to turn on, it will run at 100% fire rate until the thermostat tells it to stop.
(BETTER) Two Stage: When the furnace turns on it will start at around 50% fire rate until a condition is met and it will jump to 100% fire rate until the furnace hits temperature. The condition depends on the furnace and how it is was set up, we base it off of a time, some furnaces use algorithms and some have the thermostat decide.
(BEST) Modulating (3+ Stage): The thermostat will start the furnace at a lower fire rate and it will walk up the fire rate until your home hits temperature. Some have the ability to walk down and up the gas fire rate.
The idea for stages is to stretch the time that the furnace runs. If it runs for a longer time that means warm air is blowing around more of the home thus giving a more even heat to the home.
A company you trust is very important. A furnace when installed incorrectly can shorten the life of your furnace and can give you trouble over the years. Here is a check list to help you.
Find a company you trust, look at the blower type, the stages, and warranty. Take your time, and do not fall for "while I am here" pricing to come to a conclusion of which company and what product you want in your home.
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