Can I Replace My Furnace Without Replacing My Air Conditioner?

Can I replace my furnace without replacing my air conditioner?

When it comes time to replace your furnace, people may think they have to replace their air conditioning unit and furnace at the same time.  To receive some of the great rebates that are out there, yes, you would need to get the whole kit and kaboodle at the same time.  But for all practical reasons, no, that isn’t necessary, and there are some benefits to doing it this way.  I’ll explain why.

While it’s always a good idea to replace the two parts of the AC at the same time, the furnace, the third part, only has one unit that needs to be replaced.

Imagine the three main parts of your central air conditioning system.  In the heating season, you have a gas flame that typically that heats up a metal box.  Inside that same unit is a blower motor that sends air across the hot metal box which emits warm air into your rooms. And that’s how you get heat.

In the air conditioning season, that firebox is still there physically; it’s just not being heated up.  No flame is on at all, actually.  But you will notice the outdoor AC kick on.  That outdoor AC coil is connected to another coil on the inside of the house where your HVAC system is.  The outdoor unit has the hot coil which is removing heat front the house while the indoor coil is the cold coil.  The blower sends air past the cold coil and on to the rest of your home.

Back to the question “can I just replace my furnace?”  Now that you know there are three individual units, the furnace, the indoor coil, and the outdoor coil, you should know that any of those components can be changed out one at a time.  But before you change it, see if there is anything you can do to understand why your furnace may be blowing cold air.  It may still be repairable!

You may have a house where the AC system is newer than the indoor furnace.  When it comes time for that furnace to be replaced, you may not be ready to change out the AC components.  That’s fine.  Just remember, if you’re looking for rebates through your local utility company, they may want you to replace all three components.  Here’s a breakdown of SMUD’s Heating and Cooling Rebates for those here in Sacramento County.  They want to see a “matching” system that has a blower motor specifically designed for the other parts of the system.  They want the manufacturer of all three components to be the same.

One advantage of replacing just your furnace is the ability to save money.  Whereas an entire system will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, replacing just the heater becomes only a fraction of that.  Financing $6,000 becomes a lot easier for those looking for a break in tight times.

Another advantage of replacing the furnace is that today’s furnaces all come with ECM motors. They are more efficient to run than the older PSC style motors that use a capacitor to help regulate its voltage.  Those capacitors are also just another repair part that can fail often.  So, no more of that $300 expense every few years.

In California, all of our furnaces have low NOx standards, which reduce nitrous oxides that escape into that atmosphere causing acidic rain, smog, and other nasty side effects with our environment.  Replacing your furnace will actually doing a big favor to not only you but others around you in this world.  Check out this blog I wrote on the topic of Low NOx Furnace Requirements. You know, it’s your money and your budget.  Some companies will tell you this is not possible.  If you want an honest opinion about what you can and cannot do with your HVAC system concerns, give us a call at tel://1-916-877-1577 or contact us here.

FAQs about Replacing HVAC Systems

FAQs about replacing HVAC systems

How long should it take to decide which system or contractor I want?

If it’s an emergency you may decide still to think about it. Some people even go as far as nursing it with one of these mobile floor AC units. But when it’s 100 plus degrees outside and 92 inside, anything helps right? Absolutely!  Let’s review some FAQs about replacing HVAC systems and what you might consider.

Seriously though, you will need to pony up at some point for the sake of your health and comfort, and your family’s health and comfort. Contractors in California are required to give you a “3-day right to cancel.” It’s a little paragraph on the contract you sign acknowledging this right. Then the equipment can start to be installed on the fourth day after you sign the contract. You can waive that “Right to Cancel” if it’s an emergency and the system needs to be replaced right away for something like an elderly person or infant’s health. Whatever it is, the State says in order to waive the right to cancel, it has to be for an urgent reason. Can you imagine coming home from the hospital with your newborn and your compressor blew on your 20-year-old AC?

Do your research before replacing an HVAC system

If it’s not really an emergency you can take your time and really file through the right type of equipment for you and which contractor you want to hire. Systems come in all ranges. From the lower grade systems to the notable and trustworthy HVAC systems. Do your research and know what you really want in a system. You’re only going to have to make this purchase once or twice in your lifetime, so it’s not something most people really think about on an average day. HVAC contractors do think about this every day, but don’t believe everything you hear from these guys because it can be smoke and mirrors. You want to know the equipment model number and maybe do some research on the equipment. You can literally type in the model number in the search bar and find great information. Search about Trane, American Standard, Ruud, Rheem, Lennox, Carrier, Goodman, York, DayNight, Bryant, Payne, etc. Every brand out there is going to say they have the best home comfort system in the world, but can they prove it. Consumer Reports Magazine still puts out ratings for each brand every year. Consistently, Trane and American Standard are the brands at the top of the list.

HVAC system costs

Equipment alone can range anywhere from $6500 to $20,000. Depending on who you buy from and which SEER rating and technology you are looking for. We offer four different levels of systems. Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. This translates to 14, 16, 18, and 20 SEER systems. Basically, for a little more money you’re getting a more efficient system. Think of it like MPG on a car. The more efficient they are on the gas mileage, the more desirable they are. The higher the SEER rating, the higher efficiency they have to operate it, translating to lower utility bills.

The technology is unbelievable right now. We are seeing equipment that can hold the temperature of your house within a ½ degree all day long no matter the temperature outside. With these high-end variable speed systems, with Wi-Fi technology for your cell phone accessibility and communicating thermostats with the furnace and AC is really just amazing right now!

Fox Family Heating and Air Systems

Most people see our four options for systems and pick something in the middle. They see 14, 16, 18, and 20 SEER systems and typically pick the 16 or 18 SEER systems. Very rarely, do I see people choosing the 14 SEER system.

If you have the opportunity and it’s not a major emergency, take your time with these kinds of purchases. Find the right contractor for you, with good warranties, good thermostats, and other safety features for the system. For instance, a condensate safety switch, a compressor start kit, and a compressor sound blanket. This is a value purchase you’re not going to want to skimp on. If you have any questions about your new HVAC system please feel free to call me, Greg Fox at Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning. I promise to give you great value for your next HVAC project.

How Long Should My Furnace Last?

furnace replacement

How long do furnaces last?

Most people don’t know that 95% of furnaces out there are not going to last much more than 20 years. Anything past 20 years and your furnace are likely operating on borrowed time. The warranties from the builder of those furnaces were made with 5-year parts warranties, so even they were only thinking 10, 15, maybe 20 years. I get asked that question a lot. How long should my furnace last? I tell them most furnaces last about 20 years.

Can furnaces last longer than that?

It is true that we run across service calls on systems that have safely made 35-40 years.  So, it can happen! As long as the parts are still available to make repairs that allow the machine to operate at or above original factory specifications. Also, if the system is still safe to operate, meaning the fire box or heat exchanger is NOT cracked, potentially releasing carbon monoxide through the supply registers in your rooms, it’s safe to operate. Fox Family techs take a special class every year to ensure we are capable of inspecting any heat exchanger to ensure the safety of your family.

Maintain your furnace

If the furnace is maintained properly over the years, like mine, the furnace can easily last 20 years. Sure, some things may break along the way, but a properly trained HVAC technician can get your furnace up and going again. Some other major parts that can break on a furnace are the inducer motor, blower motor, gas valve, and control board. Some of the minor repairs are the pressure switch, capacitors, ignitors, roll-out and high limit switches.

How do I know my furnace is not working?

Inducer Motor

An inducer motor that doesn’t work is going to cause the flame and its exhaust not to shoot into the furnace the proper way. This can cause a serious safety issue in the home. Fortunately, there are safety switches all along the firing up sequence to make sure this doesn’t happen. The control board knows what should work and when it should be working. It’s a very intelligent furnace that has been made over the last 20 years.

Blower Motor

Another component that the furnace can tell is not working is when the blower motor stops working. The blower motor pulls the air from the room and pushes that air through the hot furnace and into your rooms. It’s supposed to be running at a very specific speed. If the blower is running too slow, or not at all, the furnace will overheat. This lets one of the safety devices in the furnace to sense the high heat and shut the system down.

Gas Valve

The gas valve is another major component that must be checked on a regular basis. It’s responsible for emitting the proper amount of gas to the burner assembly which shoots the flame into your heat exchanger. The gas valve is capable of getting stuck in the open position too. Sometimes we get calls where the homeowner is smelling gas in the house, or near the furnace. We have come in to diagnose the system and found that the valve is actually stuck in the open position, albeit ever so slightly. This is obviously a dangerous situation to have. An odorant is added to natural gas and propane gas to help homeowners/customers sniff out leaks. If you smell gas, and no stove burners were left on, evacuate the house and call 9-1-1. Then, call your natural gas provider (your utility).

Control Board

Finally, the control board is one of the major components of your furnace that can go out. If it does, the system just won’t know what to do and when to do it. The control board is the brains of the system. The symptom I see the most on controls boards that have failed is when the solder connections on the back of the board have started to fracture. They started out as complete solder points relaying signals to other parts of the board. But these fractures make it difficult to send the electronic signal. This causes a slow and sometimes very annoying failure of the system because sometimes the system works and sometimes it does not. Maybe in the mornings, it will work but in the afternoon it does not. This usually indicates something is wrong with the furnace control board. Not always, but in my experience has been a good place to start.

Make sure you are getting the proper maintenance done on your HVAC system so it can last up to 20 years. If you don’t, chances are you will be replacing your furnace sooner, because of neglect, just like your car. Let Fox Family come out and get your furnace tuned up for the season every year. My system is so perfectly clean and functional year after year because I clean it and check all the components every year. My system is 19 years old this year too!

Furnace Repair in Sacramento

furnace repair

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As 2018 progresses through February, it seems more and more people are still needing furnace repair in Sacramento. A lot of our calls coming right now are ones where customers are saying their furnace is just blowing cold air. Nobody wants that right? You go to turn on the furnace and it sounds like the system is working but it really is just not blowing warm air.

About Your Furnace

The furnace has a sequence of operation that it goes through every time you call for the furnace to come on. The thermostat tells the control board at the furnace to turn the inducer motor on. The inducer motor pulls the exhaust out of your furnace and sends it through the flue pipe and out of the house. When the inducer motor comes on, the pressure switches will verify the inducer motor is working by sensing a negative pressure the manufacturer has preset to a specific setting.

As long the pressure switch pulls in and tells the control board it’s working the ignition sequence begins. An ignitor will perform a controlled spark or hot surface ignition. If that happens correctly, the control board tells the gas valve it can now open and pour gas across the spark or hot surface ignitor. This will cause the flames to ignite in a controlled fashion specifically the way the manufacturer wants it done.

After the flames ignite a flame sensor stands in the middle of the flame and senses that the flame is indeed on and sends a signal back to the control board that the ignition has started up safely and according to the engineer’s specifications. Once the flame is on, the blower motor will push your room temperature air across the heat exchanger, heating it up anywhere from 30-60 degrees. That will end up being the warm air that comes out of your registers in your rooms!

Is Your Furnace Failing?

If at any point in the sequence of operation for your furnace, any of these steps fail, the furnace will go into safety mode automatically and shut the flame down. Most of the time it will shut down and try again three times. After the third time, it will just start blowing room temperature air. Eventually the homeowner will notice the furnace is not working right because it’s just blowing cold air. This is what alerts the homeowner to call for a furnace repair service in Sacramento. Nobody wants cold air blowing in their house when it’s 32 degrees outside and this is the reason people need a good furnace repair service in Sacramento.

Call Fox Family Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar

Fox Family technicians are trained to thoroughly evaluate your furnace from head to toe so that you can get your home heating again at the most crucial times of the year. If your furnace needs heating repair, there is no one more that you can trust than the Fox Family Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar technicians here in Sacramento.

We know its honor to be invited into your home to service your furnace and HVAC system. In addition, we promise to try to earn your trust and respect because we know there are so many HVAC companies here in the Sacramento area to choose from. We’re not like the big companies who are just trying to sell you a new furnace! We can actually repair any part on your furnace as long as they make the part still. Some furnaces are so old they just don’t make the parts for them anymore. Usually that is around the 20-year mark for a furnace. So, if you are dealing with a furnace repair in Sacramento, trust Fox Family Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar, Inc. to come out and let you know what is going on with your furnace.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][mk_page_section bg_color=”#ed4622″ full_width=”true” has_top_shape_divider=”true” top_shape_color=”#ffffff” top_shape_bg_color=”#ed4622″ bottom_shape_color=”#ffffff” sidebar=”sidebar-1″][vc_column width=”2/3″][mk_padding_divider][mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h3″ color=”#ed4622″ size=”36″ force_font_size=”true” size_tablet=”20″ size_phone=”15″ line_height=”90″ font_weight=”bold” txt_transform=”capitalize” margin_bottom=”0″ font_family=”Lato” font_type=”google” align=”right” drop_shadow=”true”]Need Service? Call Now: 916-877-1577[/mk_fancy_title][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][mk_padding_divider][mk_button dimension=”flat” size=”large” align=”center” margin_right=”0″ bg_color=”#0066cc” btn_hover_txt_color=”#ed4622″]BOOK NOW[/mk_button][/vc_column][/mk_page_section]

Fox Family and Trane Team Up for 2017-2018 Winter Season

During the summer of 2017, Fox Family Heating and Air decided to switch their primary line of comfort products from Ruud/Rheem to Trane/American Standard. There were a couple of reasons behind the decision that took many, many hours to implement. But one thing that really made our decision easy is that we wanted a product that has been well known for over a hundred years as the leader in innovation, technology, durability, and dependability.

Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning wanted to use a well-known product like Trane to instill confidence in the equipment our customers are purchasing from us.  When we used to Ruud products, we would tell the customer what the name of the product was.  Almost every time we did, they would almost tilt their head on the question.  They had not heard of Ruud.  It wasn’t a game-changer for us, as Fox Family customers trust us and will usually go with any brand we are committed to installing in their home.  People were still saying yes, but it wasn’t enough.  We wanted our customers to buy a furnace that they knew and trusted.  Not just that they trusted, but a furnace that Consumer Reports rates year after year as the best air conditioning system for your home.  

Trane products are tested vigorously.  They push their products to the extreme so when Fox Family installs your Trane furnace and air conditioner we know they are going to stand the test of time.  Speaking of time, when Fox Family installs your new furnace and air conditioning system it will be backed by the best warranties in the Sacramento area.  We offer a 10-year warranty on all parts of the system.  We even offer a 12-year warranty on our upgraded 16 SEER and higher systems.  This beats the competitor’s compressor warranty by 2 years.  We also off a labor warranty ad 2 years off professional maintenance on your system for the first two years.  If you’ll just keep that maintenance going from years 3 through 10 we’ll cover your labor costs as well.  This means if your system breaks within the first ten years, and you’ve been letting us come out and perform the necessary maintenance on your HVAC system, you won’t pay a dime for any repairs for the first ten years.

Trane heating and air conditioning products have been at the forefront of technology and innovation since its inception. Trane comfort products have identified products and technology that stretched the world’s idea of what was possible. With the inspiration of cold Wisconsin winters, James Trane invented a new low-pressure heating system he proudly called the Trane Vapor Heating System. His son, Reuben, was just back from college with a degree in mechanical engineering, so father and son began manufacturing operations in 1910 and incorporated as The Trane Company in 1913. It was Reuben’s invention of the convector radiator in 1923 that firmly established the company’s reputation as an innovator, a reputation Trane people have been building on ever since.