HVAC FORCED AIR FURNACES HEATERS – Ottawa’s most common home heating solution
Furnace and HVAC shopping was so easy just 20 years ago… but today homeowners are overwhelmed with too many HVAC furnace brands, too many options to chose from, too many features that most homeowners never actually use because they don’t know how, too many HVAC contractors to chose from, too much… well, everything!
In addition there are other Furnace Brands available but they are less known in Ottawa such as: Olsen, Clare, Frigidaire, Comfortmaker, Maytag, Ruud, Armstrong Air, Gibson, Payne, Tempstar, Janitrol, Arcoaire, Weatherking, Duncane, Burnham just to name a few.
At Francis Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning we understand your frustration – we too know what it is like to be overwhelmed by too many choices so we have created a Free Furnace Buyers Guide to help you understand the differences and to be able to make more informed buying decisions.
So what is the real difference between forced air furnaces?
Did you know that many of today’s furnaces are manufactured by the SAME companies? (only 6 companies make 26 different brands!)
- Lennox makes: Ducane, Aire-Flow, Armstrong and Lennox
- Johnson Controls makes: York, ClimateCare, Coleman, Luxaire
- Trane makes: GE, American Standard and Trane
- ICP (international comfort products) makes: Carrier, Bryant, Keeprite, Comfort Maker, Heil, Tempstar, ArcoAir, Kenmore, Day & Night
- Rheem makes: Rudd and Rheem
- Daikin makes: Goodman, Amana, Janitrol and Daikin
This means that many of the same parts are used in the construction of your new furnace making them very similar in too many ways!
All furnaces are similar in that they create heat while the fan blows the heat through the duct work – it sounds so simple but it isn’t. Many things are considered when comparing HVAC units such as:
Quality of the furnace installation – this is the biggest difference when people ask “why does that model furnace work perfectly for my friend but my furnace which is the same model gives me problems?” odds are it has more to do with your installation than it does with the model you picked out.
WARNING: Installations are NOT the same – this is the most common cause of problems down the road when customers go with the cheapest HVAC contractor installers who really don’t understand the technology they are installing and thus either size the unit improperly or the installation was never designed to operate the way it was installed. When shopping around go with a licensed certified expert who guarantees their work and has been in business long enough to be there when you call if there are ever problems. (More detailed information can be found in our free document: Homeowner Guide to Buying a Furnace in Ontario)
Quality of the furnace maintenance – like your car the better you care for it the better it runs and the longer it lasts – the same is true for furnaces. If you take care of it you have fewer headaches & save money too on your gas/electric bill. These new furnaces are not the same machines that were made even just a few years ago – they all have computer components now to minimize the fuel that is used and to operate more effectively. Taking care of these units through annual maintenance is vital to keep them operating both efficiently and properly. The last thing you need is for the heat to fail in the dead of winter.
Furnace Efficiency levels – usually the higher the efficiency the more costly the furnace unit and the more complicated the computer components that make it run at such a high efficiency which means more experienced service technicians are required to maintain these furnace units. While the higher efficiency furnaces will save you money in fuel costs (gas, propane, oil or electric) just how much money it will save will vary. There is a point where the additional costs to buy the higher efficiency models doesn’t save you enough to warrant the extra expense. Knowing what units will fit your home best and which efficiencies will serve your needs without costing you more in the long run is something a HVAC service expert can help you with. (We offer free no obligation consultations and quotes if you would like assistance.)
Furnace & HVAC Warranties – many warranties are not worth the paper they are written on, so you really do have to read the fine print if you want something you know will be covered against product failure. As more and more materials are purchased overseas it is not uncommon for parts to get damaged in the shipping so the furnace warranty can be the only thing that protects the end buyer from getting something that doesn’t work as promised. But it isn’t just the manufacturers warranty – you also need a furnace installers warranty. You need to make sure that the furnace contractor you hire provides you a written guaranty (and gives you a copy of this in writing) that covers the labour charges if there are ever issues with the unit. Again – read the fine print to make sure that if there are ever issues you aren’t stuck paying out of pocket for expenses that you thought were covered in the warranties. Don’t forget to ask about extended warranties – although no needed on smaller inexpensive items for the home these extended warranties are essential to big ticket items such as furnaces, boilers and air conditioners. We can’t emphasize this enough – read the fine print. It’s the only way to protect yourself!
Furnace Material quality used in the manufacturing – as we all know from buying even a simple pocket watch the quality of the materials ranges drastically from electroplated stainless to surgical stainless steel to more costly metals which affect the longevity and accuracy of the product – the same is true for furnaces. Furnaces can have different exterior finishes, different hardware, different components… all of them can be different and will affect the longevity and operation of your furnace.
How Quiet is your furnace? Some furnaces can keep you up at night as they whistle and hum or bang loudly when they first start up – the quietness of your furnace is an important factor in making a decision and can mean the difference between a good nights sleep and a restless night sleep.
Is your furnace set up with different zones so that you can keep your main living space warmer while in use while letting the rest of the house that is unused stay at cooler temperatures which saves you wasted money. Zones in heating means you spend less each month on utilities while maintaining the comfort of your family. And since your home heating costs account for 63% of your total energy use each year it pays to know how to save.
Heating and Cooling Thermostat used in operating your furnace. Did you know that not all thermostats will work with your specific make and model of furnace or HVAC unit? There are traditional furnace thermostats and then there are the newer smart thermostats that give you more control over your home comfort – some even have apps that will allow you to adjust your temperature from anywhere in the world on your cell phone to maximize your comfort while minimizing your utility bills. There is also the kind of smart thermostat that gives hydro Ottawa more control over your usage (if they get too big a demand they can lower or raise your temperature temporarily without your knowledge to reduce overall city usage – they have been giving these smart thermostats away for free for a few years now as a way to get homeowners to give the hydro company more control).
So many options – it makes it hard to know which thermostat will fit what your furnace needs best.
HVAC and Furnace Add on Features (indoor air quality I.A.Q.) extras you can add to your furnace to improve home comfort.Add on indoor air quality features can include:
Clean Air Quality in your home is directly related to the quality of your furnace, filters and the duct work configuration in your home. Pollutants are everywhere and are typically 2 to 5 times more prevalent than in outdoor air. Upgrading to better filter systems can drastically change the quality of the air in your home (air quality upgrades for your furnace including hepa filters, Merv 11 filters, etc.)
Dry Air cases all kinds of health issues including electric shock, itchy and cracked skin, and can actually age how your face appears. Humidifiers eliminate dry air problems and can make breathing easier but only if installed correctly and maintained or they end up being a breeding ground for even more bacteria, molds and spores.
UV lights to kill off bacteria in your duct work for those who have sever allergies or other breathing related health issues.
It seems like new HVAC features are being added every year to tap into home comfort since we are stuck indoors for such a long time over the winters especially in Ottawa.
Some of these furnace features are nice to have, others are essential while others are not worth the investment. Knowing the difference can again be complicated – this is why we have a Francis service expert available to you to provide you with a free no obligation quote and consultation.
As you can see furnace & HVAC equipment, installations and warranties vary drastically not to mention the qualify of the HVAC contractor so comparing work based on price alone could end up being the homeowner’s worst nightmare.
At Francis Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning we provide you with a written quote upfront (no hidden surprises) and discuss all the details you need to make an informed decision based on facts in writing not just verbal promises.
Already got a quote from someone else and want to know if what you are getting is going to fit your home and personal comfort needs?
Give us a call, we will gladly review their quote with you and give you an honest assessment of what they are offering you and if we can’t beat their quote we will give you a gift certificate for your time and recommend you to go ahead with the other company’s quote.
We know that may seem like a bad way to do business giving it to the other company but our goal has always been customers’ needs first! We want what is BEST FOR YOU our neighbour regardless of who provides the service. Serving our community has always been our number one goal in business for over 80 years!
Our honesty and integrity has made us well known in Ottawa which is why many homeowners trust us to care for their heating and air conditioning needs personally.
Click here to learn more about Furnace Makes and Furnace Models
NO CUSTOMER LEFT COLD POLICY
When it comes to HVAC Francis Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning understand that we can’t wait for heat in the winter and that is why we are proud to offer our “No customer left cold” winter policy – if we can’t repair or replace your equipment right away we will provide you with temporary heaters so that you don’t have to worry about your home freezing or your family going cold. This policy applies to all our regular customers. In addition our maintenance plan WeCare customers also get priority service on top of our no customer left cold policy.
We take care of you – not just your HVAC heating equipment.
REPAIR VS REPLACE YOUR FURNACE:
Here are some simple tips to help you decide when it is time to repair your furnace vs when it is time to replace your furnace:
- The unit is less than 10 years old
- The cost of the repair is less than 1/3rd the price to replace the unit
- The furnace unit is still under warranty
- Here are some simple tips to help you decide when it is time to replace your furnace instead of repairing it:
- The repairs are close to 50% of the cost of replacment
- The furnace requires frequent repairs
- The efficiencies are dropping
- High dust and low air quality problems
- Your warranties have expired & the unit needs repairs
If you unit is over 12 years old you may want to see if a new furnace will save you money on the improved efficiencies – we can help you with that assessment
MAINTENANCE & SERVICE PLANS
Looking for an annual maintenance plan that covers your annual cleaning & safety inspection that breaks down the cost into small monthly payments so you don’t have to think about it – we can help you with our “We Care” maintenance plan.
Looking for a maintenance plan that is more than just the annual cleaning & safety inspection which would include parts and labour for the year* broken down into manageable monthly payments? – Ask about our “We Care PLUS” plan.
Have questions or would like a quote?
Give us a call 613-224-0041
We are here when you need us – 24 hour emergency service available
Got a question about furnaces? We would love to hear from you!