You can keep your furnace going for as long as possible with annual maintenance and keeping the filter changed, but eventually it will need to be replaced due to old age. If you've had your furnace for many years, buying a new one will allow you to have one that is more energy efficient and perhaps save money on your power bills. Here are some things to talk to your contractor about when you're planning on furnace replacement.
If you have a large house or a second level, then zoned heating might be a good idea. This allows you to shut off or turn down the heat in rooms that are not in use. By only heating the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom, you can save on your energy bills, yet you'll still be able to heat other bedrooms comfortably when you have guests or when your kids come home from college.
Two-stage heating can make your home more comfortable. This type of furnace runs at high capacity when it first kicks on so the room is warmed up fast, but then it runs at a lower capacity to maintain the temperature in your desired range. This can eliminate temperature swings, and it can make your furnace run more efficiently when it is bitterly cold as well as when the temperatures are milder. A two-stage heating system is also quieter than a traditional furnace that only operates at a steady high capacity.
If you're going to invest in a new furnace, you'll probably want one that is as energy efficient as possible. But you also want to match it to your climate. This is where you can use some guidance from a local contractor. People living in areas where the temperature drops well below freezing for several days in a row have different needs than someone living in an area where the temperatures drop below freezing on an occasional basis. Knowing your climate helps you buy a furnace that is powerful enough to be effective and efficient, and it also helps you avoid overspending on a furnace that is more than you need.
The thermostat is a very important accessory for your furnace. They have many options now. You can have a thermostat installed that can be operated remotely so you can turn up the heat when you're driving home from work. A programmable thermostat is almost a necessity since this keeps your furnace from running all day when the house is empty. You can set it for lower temperatures during the day and at night while you sleep and for higher temperatures when you get up in the mornings and when you get home in the evenings.
Other accessories to consider are air purification and humidification attachments. You might want an air purifier added if you have trouble with allergies. A humidifier can keep your home from being too dry in the winter. There are several things to consider when you need to buy a new furnace, and although price is one of them, it shouldn't be the deciding factor. You want a furnace that will keep you comfortable and give you many years of reliable service.