If your furnace sputters to a halt during the evening or overnight in the middle of winter, you can bet that the indoor temperature will plummet by morning and everyone will be cold and uncomfortable. It isn’t as bad as outside because you have wind protection and residual heat, but no one in the house will be happy. The key to finding a quick solution to these kinds of scenarios is to align yourself with a reputable, reliable service provider before there is a problem. If you have a local expert in your corner, you can call as soon as something happens and your service disruption will be minimal.
While repair is often the preferred choice, problems like a consistent repeating complication or extra-costly furnace repair parts might start leading you in a different direction. Remember that repair is only the preferred option when the cost of seeking it makes sense! If you’re shelling out for repair every single year, then it might be time to talk to your heating contractor about furnace replacement.
The cost of putting in a new heating system is going to depend on a variety of things. The square footage of your house is a big factor. How’s your home's insulation? What type of system are you planning to buy? Each system has its own hardware and installation variable, so price points will vary. Are you converting to gas or oil? Add in the cost of running gas or oils lines to your house. Are you digging underground or is it all above ground, like solar? What system are you replacing? It’ll have to be removed and disposed of, so the more complicated or elaborate set up you have, the more it will cost to remove or install. Finally, you have to consider contractor fees. Luckily there are a lot of resources available to find quality candidates. To get a real idea of cost you will need to get estimates from contractors and/or full service hardware stores that sell and install systems.
High-efficiency condensing furnaces (90% AFUE and above) are a bit more complex than conventional furnaces. The main differences between a conventional and condensing furnace are the heat exchanger technology used to extract heat from the combustion process and the method used to exhaust the combustion gases. In these ways, the furnaces are very different. The condensing furnace does not have a significantly more efficient combustion process than does a conventional furnace; both use gas burners with electronic ignition. The difference lies in that the condensing furnace has a more efficient heat extraction process after combustion.
In addition to the information below, see these two articles for the general care and maintenance of your air conditioner: Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer and How to Replace Furnace & AC Filters. Most noteworthy, you should replace the filters at least twice a year, before the heating and cooling seasons. For information on furnace problems, please see Furnace Not Working.