It can be really scary to buy a furnace, especially because of the high investment.
The questions run through my mind: Will it do its job? Will it stand the test of time?
My ideal furnace is safe, reliable, and keeps operating costs down.
These do exist; there are some really quality brands of furnaces that are highly efficient, inexpensive to operate and maintain, come with quality warranties, and last a long time.
However, on the flip side, there are also furnaces that are incredibly inefficient, that cost a ton and don’t do what they purport to do, have a high operating cost, or have warranties that hardly cover anything.
These are the types I really look out for to avoid.
When it comes to selecting the best furnace for your needs, you not only want to know which brands and models to research but also which to avoid.
I’m going to walk you through the worst-rated furnaces out there, so you know which brands to avoid.
What Makes a Furnace Bad?
First and foremost, the furnace should do what it is supposed to do: heat up your home!
If it claims to be easy to install or efficient to operate, users should report that it does, in fact, do these things.
Customer reviews are often where you really see the truth about a furnace.
Here the claims are put to the test by people who have actually purchased and used the furnace in question.
Expensive to Operate
Heating and cooling costs account for the largest portion of home operating cost, so I recommend choosing a furnace that is efficient and doesn’t cost a ton to actually use.
A bad furnace is highly wasteful and inefficient, which leads to high heating bills every month.
When looking at user reviews, pay close attention to what is said about the cost of operation.
Some furnaces are cheap at the outset for a reason and that reason is that it lacks efficiency and will cost a ton to actually use.
Another thing to look for is how well the furnace is made and designed.
Bad furnaces are poorly designed and made cheaply, which means they are more prone to issues and even breaking.
In my research, users are usually very candid about the actual quality of the appliance and this is something that matters.
A poorly made furnace is one that is likely to have issues and is also not likely to stand the test of time.
A solid furnace should last at least 10-15 years, and some will last upwards of 20 years.
A company that is confident in its product will generally provide a solid warranty on parts and service for at least a year.
This means that if in the first year of ownership, there are any issues or breakages, it will be covered under the warranty that comes with the appliance.
A bad furnace is often accompanied by a bad warranty – or no warranty at all.
Without a warranty, it will be up to the owner to cover any parts replacement or repairs.
Furnace Brands to Avoid
Buderus furnaces are consistently among the lowest-rated furnaces on the market.
They make boiler-style furnaces and have been considered to be of degrading standard in recent years.
Many claim that parent company Bosch has reduced the quality of parts used in order to be more competitive price-wise, but this has really caused the quality and reputation of the brand to slip.
Users of Buderus boiler-style furnaces report repeated problems with parts being discontinued and thus no replacement parts actually being available, at times rendering the furnace completely inoperable.
Additionally, Buderus furnaces are prone to issues and many users report how expensive it often ends up being to get the furnace fixed.
Many complain of having to make regular repairs and that the systems don’t often last more than ten years.
Burnham furnaces are another poorly-rated brand that often does not even rate above 2 stars.
One of the biggest complaints about this brand of furnace is how expensive they are compared with their quality of operation.
Users report regular problems with these expensive furnaces and also report that customer service and tech support often fail to fix issues.
One of the most common complaints about these systems is that the high limit temperature switch is prone to failure, some customers reporting that these needed to be replaced multiple times per year, which also left users without heat when they needed it.
Others complain about the subpar warranty.
Other furnaces that have a a similar price typically come with incredibly good warranties, but these furnaces come with five-year warranties, and many users say they barely get this long out of the furnace itself.
Leaks are a common complaint with Burnham furnaces and there are reports of a lot of issues with getting the manufacturer to honor their warranties.
There are often unexpected costs, such as labor, which owners find out is not covered under the limited warranty that comes with the unit.
Arcoaire furnaces consistently rate at about two stars out of five, making them one of the more poorly rated furnace brands.
Users have a consistent issue with parts breaking, sometimes multiple times.
I’ve read that these furnaces are prone to issues and are made with cheap parts that break frequently.
Other users express that they had issues when trying to make good on the warranty for broken parts.
Many had to wait long periods of time to receive their replacements, while others were told that the part they needed wasn’t available, leaving people without heat when they needed it most.
Additionally, once the warranty on Arcoaire furnaces is up, the cost of replacement parts is unusually high.
Not only do users report small things on the furnaces having regular issues, but even major parts like the gas valve or condensation motor are prone to breakage, which is not only expensive but can also be dangerous.
A frequent complaint is the inefficiency of Arcoaire furnaces.
One user reports that the furnace had to run 10-15 hours a day to keep the house at a comfortably warm temperature, which led to very high utility bills.
Evcon furnaces have an average customer review of 2.2, making it another brand of furnace to avoid, as they are known for having a range of issues.
Many reported that they had to have their furnace serviced every fall in order to get it to work as the cold season set in.
Others have had problems that the company was unable to fix.
Multiple replacement parts and services on the units were to no avail.
Others report repeated errors, complete with blinking lights, but without being able to find anything wrong with the unit, even after having a technician look at the furnace.
Many people have said that the furnaces work okay for a few years, and then begin to experience regular, and oftentimes, major, issues.
Users often have to replace major parts like the motor or computer board and expressed frustration at getting the company to honor their warranties for said parts.
Ducane furnaces are another brand to avoid, with an average user rating of about 2.2 stars out of 5.
One of the biggest complaints about this furnace is the noise level.
It is incredibly loud when it kicks on and has a loud, dull roar when in operation that was bothersome to many owners.
A number of users expressed issues with water build up on the rubber hose that is around the furnace pilot light.
This basically means that the pilot light regularly goes out, and one owner had to have repairs done on the same part 22 times over a four-year period of time.
Multiple users reported problems with the pressure switch going out and needing to be replaced multiple times over the course of a single winter.
Owners had to deal without heat while waiting for replacement parts to arrive.
The pressure switch problem is one that is commonly reported and while the part is easy to replace, users express much frustration at having to constantly work on their furnace to keep it in operation.
Other users are unsatisfied with the warranty on the heater.
There are reports of numerous issues with getting the company to honor their warranty and many noted that their furnaces started experiencing issues shortly after the warranty that came with it expired.
Keeprite furnaces get an average customer review of 2.3 out of 5, making it another brand of furnace to avoid.
Users report that these furnaces do not typically fit well with standard fittings as certain parts are either over-or undersized, leading to issues with efficiency and other problems with operation.
Some users report nearly constant issues with these furnaces, one requiring a technician to come out and service the furnace three times in a single year for the same exact issue.
Multiple customers had issues with faulty pressure switches that needed replacement.
Other users reported issues with errant error codes being displayed.
After having technicians come out and replacing multiple parts, the unit still displayed error codes.
This led to many unnecessary visits from technicians when there wasn’t actually anything wrong with the unit.
How to Avoid Choosing a Bad Furnace Brand
Avoiding the brands listed here is a good start to finding a quality furnace that is worth the money and will stand the test of time.
The main things I look for when choosing a quality furnace are customer reviews, the details of the warranty, cost of operation, efficiency, and the quality of the parts used.
Choose a Reputable Brand
One of the best ways to avoid choosing the wrong furnace is to only choose from options made by trusted, reputable brands.
These are brands that have a time-honored history of making quality products.
Stick to brands you hear about from word of mouth and are associated with quality.
Like me, you might be tempted to try that no-name brand and save some money, but this could end up being a costly mistake.
I have really found user reviews are my friend when it comes to selecting a quality furnace.
These are reviews by people who have actually bought and used the appliance.
They have no incentive to lie about what the furnace can and cannot do and will be brutally honest about claims made by manufacturers.
There is a wealth of invaluable information to be found in user reviews.
I highly recommend that you look at both the best and worst reviews for each potential furnace so you can be better equipped to make a good purchasing decision.
Since furnaces are one of the larger cost outlays of homeownership, I would do a lot of research to determine what is the best heater for my budget.
A furnace being cheap or super expensive does not necessarily correlate to the overall quality of the furnace.
Think about the long-term effects.
As I described above, there are furnaces that cost a lot but have incredibly low reviews and are prone to breaking or have poor warranties.
The brands I have looked at here have consistently been ranked as some of the worst brands of furnaces on the market.
User reviews show that many are poor in quality, prone to leaking or certain parts breaking.
Some have really bad warranties, or it can be difficult to get the company to honor their warranties.
There are also inefficient furnaces that last about half as long as other comparable furnaces.
Don’t be afraid to take your time when looking for a good furnace.
Avoiding a bad furnace will pay off for years to come!