, , , ,

A couple of weekends ago I woke up to a freezing cold home, after having turned up the thermostat before settling in to an evening of relaxing in front of the TV. I immediately ran down to the furnace and heard nothing, not a good sign. I put out a plea to Facebook friends for a repair person and that started what has become a great education in the art of buying a furnace. I am sharing my story with you so that you can learn from what I did right and wrong!

Well first we thought the furnace could be repaired and that was good news but that prognosis changed and we were on the hunt for a new furnace.

Brand & BTUs          The repair duo offered to replace the furnace and the price was right! $2,500! But when to research the brand and the BTUs they offered, well, it was a bit shocking that a professional wanted to put an 80,000 BTU furnace in my small

Two Stage Furnance

Our new furnace

home. This BTU furnace could heat a 4,000 square foot home and additionally the brand was a builder brand which is the lowest end you can find. I moved on from this provider feeling that they didn’t know what they were doing or did and didn’t really care about me! Check out your BTU requirements here.

Modulating vs 2 Stage vs 1 Stage               Our next contestant provider was a large independent, he came in and took us through the types of furnaces and recommended a modulating furnace which sounded great. It was going to save gas and electricity. It was going to be quite and just make our lives exponentially better as it modulated. The only thing it wasn’t going to make better was my bank balance at over $7,000. We decided though that modulating was the way to go and wanted to get a few more quotes.

Financing Options & Warranties                Next was a major chain who offered additional discounts and financing. Who doesn’t want to pay less and pay nothing for a year? You want to make sure you read all the fine print and also the warranty details. Is it on all parts? Major parts? What about labour? Ask those questions.

Customer Service, Knowledge & Quality of Work                 Our fourth and final contender was a recommendation from our contractor. Our roofing and eavestrough guys came from him and they were not only reasonable in their fees but the quality of the work was top notch and the furnace recommendation too was fantastic. We learned something big, that we didn’t need a modulating furnace, that it would be a big waste of money and based on that knowledge we moved to a 2 stage high-efficiency furnace.

So who did we pick? We went with Reliance after the provider recommended by our contractor actually suggested that they were even a better deal than he could offer on the warranty. How is that for customer service? Recommending a competitor because it is better for the customer!!!

I’d like to say that the rest of the process was simple and everything was seamless but it was two weeks of frustration, that only now we can laugh at – it helps that Reliance is sending a cheque to make us feel better about the experience.

And what was that experience you ask? Here is a summary:

  • Pipe put out the wrong wall, now how in siding filled with caulking
  • Furnace didn’t work first time we put it on, repair man comes and says humidifier is installed in the wrong spot
  • Installers come back and fix, furnace doesn’t work next morning
  • Another repair team comes, says humidifier is in the wrong spot (yup, the one that was moved from the correct spot)
  • Second repair guy comes back with part and fixes everything, now furnace works

Part of the above was some really angry phone calls to Reliance on Saturday mornings when the brand new furnace wouldn’t work. But I feel, in the end, they did make it right with the additional rebate. The cheque is in the mail…