Installing a furnace is a critical but often overlooked aspect of a home’s heating system. A malfunctioning furnace can leave a home feeling frigid during winter and uncomfortably hot during the summer. Ensuring that your system is well installed is paramount to a healthy, comfortable living space.
To ensure that your furnace is installed properly and efficiently, consider the following steps:
Step 1: Choose the Right Furnace Model
This may seem obvious, but it is often a missed step. Before getting quotes on furnaces, be sure that the furnace you need is properly sized for your home’s existing ductwork and electrical infrastructure.
Never go with the cheapest model on sale, as replacing it in five years will cost you much more than getting a higher-quality one in the first place. To help decide, compare your needs to the information on your furnace manufacturer’s website.
Step 2: Ductwork Installation
The second step in installing a furnace is ensuring that the right amount of ductwork is installed in a properly arranged series. The furnace should have enough ductwork to heat an entire home. Too much ductwork can cause the air to circulate inefficiently, which leads to improper heating.
On the other hand, too little ductwork will create fluctuations in the temperature and require more repairs within the system. In some instances, furnaces require two to four times more ductwork than the furnace manufacturer recommends.
In most states, an inspector can be requested to review your home’s ductwork and provide an opinion as to its adequacy.
Step 3: Insulation
If you live in a cold climate, insulating the furnace is one of your best bets to increase efficiency, reduce heat loss, and cut down on furnace repair costs. A properly installed insulated steel casing (ICS) can reduce more than 50% energy use. However, this step is entirely irrelevant for those who live in warmer climates and can be counter-productive.
If you intend to install an ICS, you will need an HVAC services contractor with experience dealing with the complexities of this type of insulation. Doing it yourself could lead to ill-fitting ducts or improper sealants, resulting in poor heat efficiency or even a fire.
Step 4: Electrical Hook-Up
The nature of the electrical hook-up needed for a furnace will vary from model to model, so be sure to confirm this with the manufacturer before purchasing or installing your furnace. You will want a dedicated circuit for your heat pump, and if you are replacing an old heating system with electric resistance heat, you may need a dedicated line as well.
Besides that, you will want to ensure that the electric hook-up meets local codes, which is important if you plan on using a gas-powered unit.
Step 5: Gas Line Connection Edit
There are various ways to connect the gas line to a furnace. If you are connecting the furnace to an existing gas line that serves your kitchen or bathrooms, it can be helpful to disconnect the old gas line but still leave it in place as extra insulation.
The price of a gas line installation can vary widely depending on the number of people and companies involved, the distance from your furnace to the gas main, local permitting requirements, and a plethora of other factors. However, you can reduce the cost by restricting the size of your furnace and using a smaller gas line.
Step 6: Testing your Furnace Installation
This step is not as common but still very important. Test your furnace installation by turning it on and off a few times.
You can even take readings with the proper instrumentation to ensure that your new furnace runs at maximum efficiency. If something goes wrong during testing, you will know right away, making it easier to find the problem.
In conclusion, while it is possible to install the furnace yourself, you will most likely benefit from hiring a professional. By observing these steps and taking the time to carefully select your furnace, you can ensure that your new furnace installation works as well as possible from the start.