With proper maintenance, it's not uncommon for a residential furnace to last anywhere from 20 to 30 years. If your furnace is nearing the end of its life expectancy, then it may be time to start looking into new models. The good news is that any reputable HVAC company can come out to your home and provide you with a free estimate for furnace installation. It's not a bad idea to request quotes from a few different companies; as you review each quote, there are a few things to look for or ask the installer about.

Sizing Methods

Begin by looking for the size of the furnace, and don't hesitate to ask the HVAC contractor what method they used to determine the proper size/capacity for your home. Ideally, they should be using what's known as a manual J-load calculation, which is the industry standard and takes a variety of factors into consideration, including:

  • the square footage of your home
  • your home's building materials
  • the number of people living in your home
  • the number of windows in your home

If an HVAC contractor is basing the size/capacity of your new unit on the size of the existing one without running these calculations, it may be time to look elsewhere for your furnace installation needs.

Blower Type

Take a look at the type of blower that will be installed with your new system, too. Ideally, you'll want a variable-speed blower, which will run at different speeds based on how cold or warm it is outside. During times of very cold temperatures, the blower will operate at full capacity to keep your home warm and comfortable. On more mild days, however, it may run at partial capacity to help cut down on energy costs.

Speaking of energy costs, you'll also want to take a look at the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating on your new unit, which will help you determine how efficient it will be. The higher the percentage, the better.

Ductwork Needs

Will your new furnace be installed without making any changes to your home's existing ductwork? If any retrofitting needs done, you'll want to ask for a breakdown of the costs associated with this work. The need for retrofitting is not uncommon, especially if you have an older home with a furnace that is more than a decade or two old.

Shopping around for a new furnace may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but taking the time to look at each quote in detail will ultimately help you make the right choice.