If you’re big on DIY, you’re probably thinking of installing a newly purchased furnace yourself. If you’re a qualified HVAC technician, there may be nothing wrong with this. However, if you’re looking at furnace installation videos on YouTube, you may want to think twice before attempting to install your own furnace.
You can install a furnace yourself, but doing so is risky and potentially illegal. Gas furnaces can be dangerous, and installing this equipment often requires professional qualifications and/or permits. In the best-case scenario, your furnace’s warranty will be canceled.
This article will look at the risks of installing your own furnace, the legal requirements of furnace installations, and how self-installation may affect the furnace’s warranty. We’ll also discuss the approximate costs of installing a new furnace and how to know when you need a new furnace.
Can You Legally Install Your Own Furnace?
Before we look at the technical aspects of installing a new furnace, you’ll first have to check the legality of installing it yourself. While common DIY projects are permitted for everything, some projects that involve electrical and gas connections may have legal restrictions.
You aren’t legally allowed to install your own furnace in many areas since connecting it to the gas mains requires a technical permit. If you have an electrical furnace, it may be legal to install it yourself, but this will also depend on where you live.
Some countries, such as Canada, have made it illegal for anyone to install a furnace without an HVAC license since the risks associated with DIY furnace installations are much higher. However, if you get an electrical and gas installation permit, you can install your furnace.
Why Shouldn’t You Install a Furnace Yourself?
Installing a new furnace is not as simple as connecting a light bulb or doing a DIY project in your garage. Many new furnaces are complicated pieces of technology that aren’t as simple to install. Apart from the technical difficulty, many other risks are associated with installing your own furnace.
You shouldn’t install your own furnace without technical expertise. Doing so may lead to gas leaks, damage to the furnace, heating problems, and fire risks. It may also affect your warranty, and you’ll have to pay for any repairs or damaged parts.
Let’s look at some of these risks in detail:
Poor Installation May Lead to Dangerous Gas Leaks
Gas leaks are responsible for thousands of deaths each year and are often the result of human error. An unnoticed gas leak is the number one risk associated with installing your own furnace and can potentially be lethal.
Improper installation often leads to gas leaks, which may vary in size, depending on the level of damage done to the pipes. These leaks may originate in the pipes or where you connect the gas to the main system and are often hard to detect.
You may end up breathing gas or carbon monoxide for months without realizing that your furnace has a gas leak. This may lead to serious illnesses or even death. It’s no wonder carbon monoxide is known as the slow killer!
You’re Responsible for Any Damage to the Equipment
Attempting to install your own furnace may lead you to damage parts of the furnace, leaving you with expensive repair costs. While the best furnaces can handle damage caused by improper gas connections, electrical problems are more damaging.
Improper wiring can damage the circuit board, resulting in high replacement costs. The worst thing is that your warranty won’t cover these damages if you’re installing the furnace yourself.
Improper Installation May Reduce Heat Efficiency
Installing the furnace incorrectly or in the wrong area may reduce its heating output. It may also result in too much humidity and heating fluctuations caused by damaged gas pipes. Improper heating also results in high energy bills. In many cases, it’s a sign of a gas leak.
Inefficient heating is also an indication that your furnace isn’t the correct size for your home. Having a furnace that’s too large can result in more humidity and poor quality, and having a furnace that’s too small won’t heat your home properly.
Always have a qualified HVAC technician estimate the furnace size suited to your home, even if you’re buying a new furnace online. This way, you’ll save on your energy bills and get optimal heating.
Mishandling of Gas Equipment May Cause a Fire
The worst risk of gas leaks is fires and explosions caused when the gas is exposed to flames. Simply lighting a match near a gas leak may leave you with burns that would scar you for life. For this reason, many areas require that licensed professionals do all gas installations.
Many home fires are started from gas leaks, which may burn your home down if you aren’t careful. Even if you have your furnace installed by a professional technician, it’s better to have a fire safety system at home for protection.
Will Self-Installing a Furnace Affect Its Warranty?
Most new furnaces will come with a 10-20 year warranty on parts, which can be helpful if your furnace needs repairs in the future. However, this warranty comes with certain installation requirements, and a failure to follow the terms may lead to the warranty being canceled.
Installing a furnace yourself without a technical license may lead to your warranty being canceled, even if you install the furnace correctly. This may lead to high repair costs in case the furnace gets damaged.
These warranty restrictions apply to both electrical and gas furnaces, so make sure you have a qualified HVAC technician certify the installation since you’ll need it for verification for future furnace repairs.
Do You Need a Permit To Install a Furnace?
You will need a permit to install a furnace in many areas. However, permit restrictions vary from city to city, and the size of your furnace may play a role in permit requirements. Always consult a local technician for advice on the legal permits required to install a new furnace.
If you choose to skip the permit application, you may face trouble when selling the property. Since property dealers usually inspect all the permits linked to your property, not having a furnace permit may reduce your property’s value.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Install a Furnace?
To install a gas furnace, you’ll need to be a qualified HVAC technician or at least have plumbing and gas experience. You’ll also need decent electrical knowledge. For an electrical furnace, you’ll need to know how to connect complex wiring, often with the mains.
Remember, most experienced HVAC technicians will install the furnace themselves since it’s not something you can leave to an apprentice. So, even if you have basic plumbing and electrical knowledge, it takes years of experience to correctly install a furnace.
How Long Does It Take To Install a Furnace?
It may take anywhere between 5-10 hours to install a new furnace if you factor in the time taken to correct the gas lines and electrical wiring. Re-doing the ductwork will also take time, especially if you’re replacing an old furnace.
How long it takes to install a new furnace will often depend on whether the existing systems are compatible with the new furnace, the size of the furnace, and the difficulty of removing the old furnace. If it’s the first time you’re installing a new furnace at home, it may take much longer.
If you factor in all the processes involved in installing a new furnace, you’ll realize that installing it yourself may take forever. However, with a professional HVAC service, the entire process may take less than a day.
How Much Does a New Furnace Installation Cost?
A new furnace installation will cost anywhere between $150-$7000, depending on the type of furnace. Gas furnaces are usually more expensive to install, although modern electrical furnaces aren’t far off.
However, considering the average damage that most people have to endure from trying to install their own furnaces is between $300 and $500, it may be worth paying more for a qualified HVAC professional.
If you’re tempted to install your own furnace to save on installation costs, think twice before getting started. To start with, it’s illegal in most places to install a furnace without the proper qualifications.
Installing your own furnace will also lead to gas leaks, fire risks, and other safety issues. You may also end up losing your warranty or even facing a fine, so unless you have the right qualifications and expertise, it’s best to leave new furnace installation to the professionals.