How Long Does a Furnace Installation Take?
4-8 hours. Furnace installation in a residential home usually takes 4-8 hours, depending on the complexity of the job. Additional time may need to be added to account for ductwork, electrical, or gas line modifications to properly match the new equipment.
That’s the answer in a nutshell, but if that were the end of it, we wouldn’t be telling you the whole story. The process behind the installation is more involved than many people realize. Understanding that process can help homeowners make better decisions for their homes.
Before the Installation
Installation starts on the day of your in-home estimate. No, really, it does.
We talk at length in our articles and videos about the complexity of HVAC systems. We won’t go into all of that detail here, but to summarize a lot of wisdom collected elsewhere: HVAC systems aren’t one-size-fits-all. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying.
This means that detailed measurements need to be taken of your home to properly fit and size a furnace to your home. This is unfortunately something a lot of companies don’t take the time to do.
The result of proper measurements is that you’ll get more efficiency, save money, and be more comfortable.
Choosing the right size and power for your furnace, and passing this information along to the installation team, is the first step, and it all happens before an installation team ever steps foot in your home.
Problems Associated With Improper Sizing
What can happen if your system isn’t sized properly? Quite a lot, actually:
- The blower fan is too powerful, causing leaks in your ductwork
- The blower fan isn’t powerful enough, causing hot and cold spots in your home
- Airflow is too strong, creating pressure buildups that make your system work harder than it should
- Your system “short cycles,” meaning it turns on and off a bunch, which increases wear and tear on the system and provides uneven heating and cooling.
The result: shorter lifespan for your furnace, and higher energy bills until that point. Also less comfort.
HVAC Ductwork, Gas Lines, A/C, and Electrical Work
So you’ve measured for furnace power and sizing. You’re done, right? Not quite.
Do you have a gas furnace? Does the gas line permit enough fuel to power a modern system? Or are you switching from electric to gas (or vice-versa) to save money on utilities? It may necessitate the installation of ancillary equipment to make sure the furnace is compatible with the rest of your system.
Modern systems can also have options like “smart home” technology, which integrates with phone apps and other appliances in your home. However, this sometimes requires new electrical lines to be added or modified to provide this functionality.
Lastly, all HVAC equipment needs ductwork, and - surprise, surprise - a lot of ductwork is woefully inadequate for the homes it's in.
You could leave your ductwork alone and probably get adequate heating and cooling. But if the ductwork is improperly sized, you’re again throwing away thousands of dollars in utilities and lifespan of your equipment (not to mention comfort) if it’s not adequate for your furnace.
Also, a lot of this information changes subtly if you’re installing an air conditioner at the same time. It will usually take a full day (6-10 hours) if you’re installing a full system with a furnace and A/C unit, and will occasionally stretch into two days if a lot of modifications are needed.
Let’s be clear: many times, none of these things are needed. But if someone isn’t checking for them at an estimate and/or installation, they’re not giving you the service you deserve.
This also means there might be more to your installation than you initially suspected. Knowing what to expect is half the battle; otherwise, you might go over budget or end up with an improperly installed furnace.
During the Installation
The good news is, there’s very little you’ll need to do or worry about with this step.
The bad news...well, there isn’t really bad news. If everything is handled properly, you should be in good shape. However, here are some considerations.
A good HVAC company should walk you through the installation before work is started, to make sure you’re on the same page and no information was lost between the time of the estimate and installation. This is crucial to avoid mistakes or misunderstandings.
The next thing a good company should do is clean and prepare the area(s) of installation. Ideally, once they’re done, it will look as good as it did beforehand, and possibly even better if they’re cleaning debris or dust around the unit.
The process of removing old equipment and installing new equipment can be complicated, so we’ll spare you the details. If you want to know more, check out our comprehensive furnace installation article below.
The final steps should include cleaning up after the installation and walking you through the options of your new system. If an installer just packs up and leaves, it’s clear they were only there to get their paycheck, not because they want you to get the most from your newly-installed system.
Failure to do any of these steps is sloppy and unprofessional. Not all homeowners know to expect them, though. So now that you’re forewarned, you can better prepare to hold your installer accountable on installation day.
After Installation Day
Here’s where you’re testing your system and learning about it, and following up as necessary with your HVAC company. Some considerations:
- If something seems “off,” let your installer know right away. They should fix anything that wasn’t properly installed without complaint or fee.
- Make sure you know everything about your thermostat and system, and don’t be afraid to ask.
- Talk to your contractor about a maintenance plan. You won’t need one right away, but to get the longest life from your system, it should be serviced once a year, starting a year after it’s installed.
Take these steps, and you’ll be in good shape moving forward. You’ll have the confidence that comes with knowing your system is running optimally and smoothly, saving you money while keeping you and your family comfortable.
Know these steps, and what you should be looking for, to be the hero of your journey to a comfortable home.
So How Long Does It Really Take?
It takes 4-8 hours as we said at the start, but hopefully, by now you realize that a lot goes into that time period.
Knowing what goes into an installation means that one, you can hold your HVAC company accountable, and two, you know what to do to get the most from your new system and the company you chose to complete the project.
Understanding the process is so important because a furnace typically lasts for 15 to 20 years. Making the right decision and choosing the right contractor will assure your comfort for years to come and add to the value of your home. No one is saying the decision to replace is an easy one, but many times it just makes sense. Expensive furnace repairs on an outdated system are like throwing good money after bad.
RELATED: The Complete Guide to Home Furnaces
To learn more about the installation process and how an efficient new furnace can improve your life, call Fire & Ice Heating & Air Conditioning for a free, no-obligation estimate.
Additionally, click below to download our HVAC Contractor Checklist. It will give you the tools you need to ask the right questions to make sure you’re getting the service you deserve before your next installation project.