The total average cost of buying and installing a new furnace (gas or electric) is over $2,000. If it’s an oil furnace, those costs can easily pass the $5,000 mark. Any way you slice it, putting in a new furnace is a sizable investment. It’s certainly something you want done right, since your family’s comfort and safety are at stake.
The vast majority of homeowners are unqualified to install a furnace. On top of that, DIY installation is illegal in most areas. Working with gas lines is highly dangerous. It requires years of training, special tools, and proper licensing from the state and county in which you live. The installation will often require cutting gas pips, modification to your ducts and vents, and other advanced skills.
In other words, if you’re buying a new furnace, you can safely rule out DIY installation—unless you happen to be a specialist who makes a living at it.
That leaves the question of who to call. A quick search will probably show dozens of HVAC specialists in your area, most of whom will be legally qualified to install your furnace. But that doesn’t mean all installations are created equal. You’ll be looking for someone who does the job right, maximizes your heating efficiency, is friendly and accessible, and comes at a fair price.
Here are some of the main things to look for when researching specialists to install your furnace.
Licensed and Insured
A qualified furnace installation specialist should have trouble demonstrating the state licensing number that authorizes them to perform furnace installations. This is a must. It’s even better then the company is certified by an independent organization such as North American Technician Excellence (NATE). This means a high degree of quality and expertise has been strictly demonstrated. Finally, specialists that are also official dealers or technicians for top HVAC brands, such as Carrier, are often good choices.
No two HVAC systems are exactly alike. The ability to assess a network of ducts, vents and gas lines—and to add a new furnace to that system in a safe and efficient way—is something that comes from years of experience working with all types of furnaces, in all types of homes. Look for companies whose leadership has at least 15 years experience in the business. 30 is even better. The more experienced your technician, the better your chances for a flawless installation experience.
Friendly and knowledgeable
You’re not just paying for the installation itself. You’re paying someone to answer your questions in a friendly and professional way, and to give you advice on how to get the most out of your new appliance. If a company’s administrative team is efficient and cheerful, chances are the business has many satisfied customers. Even better if you’re able to get through directly to a master technician who answers your questions with ease.
Backed with a guarantee
Qualified HVAC specialists perform their work with confidence, and have no problem guaranteeing their labor for up to 10 years. Be sure to clarify exactly what the warranty entails, and where it appears in the contract. That way you’ll know exactly what to do if anything does break down.
Competitive rates and clear pricing
Many HVAC specialists will charge between $40 and $80 per hour for their labor. If there’s more than one person doing the work, that hourly rate can double. Unless you’re careful about checking prices and seeking detailed estimates, you could easily end up paying $500 more for an installation that’s no better (and sometimes not as good) as a lower priced competitor. Look for companies who offer competitive rates, but also make sure the pricing is clear, with no hidden fees or charges.
Use this simple checklist to narrow your search to a handful of HVAC specialists before you make a final selection. Qualified companies will be happy to answer your questions, provide free quotes, and offer advice on which furnace to buy if you haven’t already made your purchase. Getting the job done right the first time around will ensure that your new furnace reaches maximum efficiency and safety for the cold winter months.