When your furnace fails, it may seem like the obvious solution is to go ahead and fork over a large amount of money to have it replaced immediately. Certainly, if the furnace “dies” right in the middle of the winter in Vancouver, it can be very inconvenient. It is quite possible that delaying furnace installation is actually the better option, but that decision largely depends on a few factors.
Delaying May Have Advantages
If there is any possibility of delaying until the weather warms up a little in early spring there are distinct advantages that many don’t immediately consider, particularly if they are trying to deal with a cold house. The cost difference between installing a new furnace in early spring compared to in the middle of winter, are significant.
One reason for this, says Burke Mountain Plumbing, is that Vancouver HVAC companies are dealing with high numbers of call outs and therefore their employees are in high demand and will often be called upon to work overtime to service all the calls. Another advantage of waiting is that prices usually drop after the demand during winter drops in the spring so not only can you buy the furnace itself at a lower price but you can also get it installed for less during warmer months.
How to Cope While Waiting for Warmer Weather
You can’t arbitrarily decide to delay installation of a new furnace until spring without having a backup plan for keeping warm in the meantime. Space heaters are the usual solution to alternative methods of keeping warm, but you need to consider whether you want to be dragging it from room to room. At the very least you will need an extension cord that has the correct load-bearing capacity.
Other things such as the possibility that your pipes may be subject to freezing and bursting need to be taken into consideration and proper preventative measures taken. This may mean shutting off the water and finding somewhere else to stay for a night or two if temperatures drop really low.
Alternative Furnace Systems
Now that you are facing replacing your furnace it is a good time to consider what type of furnace you want to install. For those who are environmentally conscious, this may be the perfect time to consider a “green” alternative to the standard furnace that just failed. While the cost of a “green” furnace is typically higher than that of a standard, there are advantages beyond just doing your part to help protect the planet.
A gas furnace (95 or higher Annual Fuel Usage Efficiency Rating) may run you anywhere between $2k and $4k more, with an air-source system (heat pump) costing as much as $3k to $6k more. For those who want to truly go the way of state-of-the-art renewable heating systems such as photovoltaic energy systems and geothermal heat pumps could be looking at paying as much as between $10k and $20k more than for a standard furnace.
While some of these systems do offer tax breaks, they are not significant enough to prevent the added cost of one of these compared to the cost of a standard furnace. All that being said, however, waiting until the weather warms up to install your new energy efficient furnace, get the tax credits and reap the benefit of lower utility bills, recouping the outlay can be done within a few years instead of the usual 10 to 20 years. The demand for these new “green” alternative heating methods is steadily growing in Vancouver.
Hire a Professional HVAC Contractor
While deciding to delay the replacement of your current, failing furnace may be daunting and facing the last few weeks of winter without a furnace a test of your stamina, it is very rare that this decision is made without first having a professional assess the state of your furnace. If they agree that it is past the point of repair and that replacement is the only option he or she can then advise you regarding how well your home will withstand the remaining weeks of winter without the supply of heat normally provided by the furnace.
Being honest with your Vancouver HVAC contractor is wise. Explain to them that you want to wait until the weather warms up so you can take advantage of lower costs. This is also a good time to ask him or her about the furnace systems you are considering and get a recommendation from them based on your particular heating needs. He or she may be able to recommend someone to install your new system or may be able to do the work for you themselves.