Installing a new furnace is a routine job for HVAC contractors, but that doesn't mean it's straightforward or quick. Although most furnace installations take less than a full day, numerous complications can extend the process. In some cases, your contractor may be able to figure these into their initial estimate. In others, the installers won't know until they start removing your old unit.
Below you'll find three common factors that can extend your furnace installation time. Understanding these factors can help you plan ahead before the big day arrives.
1. Furnace Removal
Furnaces tend to be loud, unattractive appliances, with plenty of ductwork, wiring, and plumbing nearby. As a result, most people prefer to install them in out-of-the-way areas, such as basements or utility closets. While this strategy keeps your house looking clean and tidy, it can make for a tight fit when removing the old unit or installing your new one.
Most experienced contractors will have a pretty good sense of how challenging it will be to move your old furnace, but unexpected issues can sometimes crop up. For example, the furnace may have problems fitting through a door, or some other obstruction may make maneuvering it more challenging than expected. In these cases, your installers will need extra time to remove the old furnace safely.
2. Ductwork Modification
As painful as it might be to think about, your installers will need to start cutting holes in your furnace before they even hook it up. Since ductwork and air handler can vary significantly, your installers will usually need to cut out the opening to attach your return plenum. Although cutting a hole in a brand new furnace doesn't sound like fun, this is a routine part of any installation.
However, some situations may require additional modifications. Your existing return air drop assembly may not fit, for example, or the installers may discover hidden problems with the nearby ductwork. These complications can add extra time to your installation process, especially if your contractors need to modify or replace any ductwork near the furnace.
3. Flue Installation
If you have an old, low-efficiency furnace, you also likely have a metal flue pipe. High-efficiency models utilize PVC pipes for their exhaust flue, but this is more than a simple cosmetic choice. High-efficiency units condense highly acidic liquid out of their exhaust stream. This condensate can quickly ruin metal flues, leading to dangerous exhaust leaks.
High-efficiency furnaces use PVC to prevent this situation. Your contractors will need to replace the old flue with new plumbing, which is a job that can add some time to the overall installation. Fortunately, your contractors will know this in advance, so they should be able to provide you with a reasonable estimate of how much longer your installation will take. Contact a furnace installation service to learn more.