Furnace FAQs

We get a lot of furnace related questions! Here are our answers to some of the most common ones.

Furnace filters should be changed once every one to three months depending on the air quality in your home. A clean filter leads to a more efficient furnace, so if you start to notice problems with the heat in your home, start by inspecting the air filter.

If someone in your home as severe allergies or asthma, you may need to change your furnace filters more frequently to prevent dust and bacteria from entering your home through the furnace.

Many factors are involved in determining when a furnace should be replaced. You should look at the condition, age, efficiency, make, and model of the furnace to determine when to replace the unit. Most HVAC repair companies will recommend that furnaces are replaced every 10 years or so to keep up with new efficiencies. Cates Heating and Cooling offers furnace installation in the Kansas City area.

While yearly tune-ups and cleaning aren’t required, they will help extend the life of your furnace. These tune-ups also keep the manufacturer’s warranty active on your unit. Without annual maintenance, your warranty may be void. Having a technician come service your unit each year will ensure that your furnace is running at maximum efficiency. Additionally, your heat exchanger can be checked to make sure your system is running safely. Cates Heating and Cooling offers yearly maintenance programs to take the hassle out of calling someone out each year to look over your furnace.

Usually, getting a new furnace will save you money on your heating bill, but the main thing that saves you money is fuel consumption. Look for efficiency percentages to find out how much fuel is consumed by the make and model you are using.

Keep in mind that costs for fuel can be volatile, so even using less fuel may not always translate to a lower heating bill. While you should still expect to see less fuel usage on your energy bill, you may not be saving money.

In most cases, replacing a furnace is a same-day job. If there is any reason that your furnace replacement can’t be done within the same day, we will let you know and find a way to keep your home warm in the interim.

Unless you are an HVAC professional, it is unlikely that you will know the size of a furnace that you need in your home. A technician can help you determine the proper size of furnace for your home. A Cates technician will come to your home, evaluate the situation, and determine the right size of furnace for your home in a process called a heating load calculation.

AFUE, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, ratings tell you the percentage of heat produced from a cubic foot of gas used. The remaining percentage is what is lost out the flue with biproducts. The higher the AFUE rating, the less you spend on fuel. All currently made furnaces must be at least 80 percent AFUE but furnaces older than 10 to 15 years might be less efficient.

Even though the furnace with the highest AFUE seems like the one you should purchase, there are other factors that you need to consider when you are shopping for a furnace. Electricity usage on for the fans and motors should also be considered.

Climate is a huge factor in selecting a furnace. If you live in a colder climate, you are more likely to see your savings within just a few years. In a more moderate climate, you might not see much savings on your heating bill. If you live in a moderate climate, you might want to get a mid-efficiency furnace.

A heat pump can be used to create heat and air conditioning. As an all-in-one system, many people find these pieces of equipment attractive. Learn more about heat pumps.

Units should never run when they are covered. A cover can impede airflow and damage the system.

Modulating heating utilizes a high-efficiency gas furnace with a modulating gas valve and variable-speed blower. These furnaces minimize energy usage by running at the lowest fan speed setting to reach the desired temperature in your home. Modulating furnaces produce the proper amount of heat to maintain a steady temperature in your home.

A variable-speed furnace refers to the air blower motor in the furnace. Learn more about variable-speed blower motors.

HSPF is the abbreviation for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This number tells buyers the heating efficiency of a heat pump. The higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the heat pump.

There are many different factors to consider when determining the price of a new furnace. Contact us today for a free estimate.

For answers to more of your questions, call us today at 913-888-4470.

Furnace Repair Costs

When it comes time to make necessary repairs on your furnace, you want the best deal with outstanding service. Cates Heating and Cooling provides the service you are looking for, and we are transparent with our furnace repair costs. We want you to get the best deal on your HVAC repairs. Here are a few of the most common furnace repairs that we see, what it costs to fix the problem, and why.

Flame Sensor Cleaning

Furnace RepairAt Cates Heating and Cooling, the most common furnace problem we see is actually a maintenance problem. In gas furnaces, the flame sensor is an important piece of safety equipment. The flame sensor produces a current of electricity that is measured in microamps. Throughout the ignition sequence, gas is either ignited by a spark or hot surface igniter. At this point, the flame sensor produces the electricity that the control board needs to read. If the amps aren’t reading at the right level, the furnace cuts off the gas to avoid an explosion.

The flame sensor gets dirty over time due to oxidation or carbon buildup. This interferes with the sensor’s ability to function properly, and in turn, the system will shut down. Cleaning this sensor is very important, and one of our expert technicians can clean your flame sensor in just a few minutes. Generally, the cost for cleaning the flame sensor is just the service call fee, so at Cates Heating and Cooling, you are looking to pay $98. For most customers, it is easier to get started on a service plan where a Cates technician will come out to inspect and perform maintenance on your furnace annually.

Air Filter Cleaning

If your furnace shuts off for seemingly no reason, your air filter could be the culprit. Unfortunately, it is very easy to forget to replace your dirty air filter frequently. When air filters get dirty, there isn’t enough air getting through the filter, and the furnace will overheat. Since there are safety measures in place, when the furnace overheats, the unit will shut off. Many people don’t realize that their air filter is the problem and will call out a service technician.

Fortunately, replacing an air filter is relatively cheap. An air filter may be just a few dollars if you want a cheap one that you can replace monthly. There are more expensive options, however. When a Cates technician comes to your home and determines that the air filter is the problem, you will only be charged the $98 service fee unless you want to purchase an air filter from us at that time.

Air filters can cause a myriad of problems for furnaces, so before you call a technician out to your home, you should make sure that your air filter isn’t clogged. You can also use a calendar to remind yourself to replace your air filter once a month.

Pressure Switch

Furnace ReplacementThe pressure switch is a safety mechanism that ensures that all the exhaust gasses from your furnace aren’t pulled back into the furnace—a process called backdrafting. The pressure switch also protects your home from gas leaks, and it shuts down the furnace in the event of a mechanical failure. Without the pressure switch, your home could be at risk for carbon monoxide problems.

A pressure switch with labor generally costs between $50 and $150. Price will generally depend on the type of pressure switch you need.

Blower Motors

Blower motors turn the fan in your furnace to circulate the air out of the furnace and throughout your home. Eventually, your blower motor will go bad. These pieces of equipment push gas out of your home to prevent any problems with carbon monoxide in your home. If the blower motor in your furnace goes out, the furnace will not run.

The price of a new blower motor will depend on its style, age, and efficiency, but they generally cost between $350 and $900.


There are a few different kinds of igniters available, but the hot surface igniter is a silicon carbon element that heats up when voltage is applied to it. When you turn your furnace on, the furnace circuit board sends electricity to the igniter. Then, the main valve opens, and gas strikes the hot surface igniter element and ignites. Hot surface igniters light the gas to allow the furnace to heat your home. Eventually, igniters will need to be replaced.

These little pieces of equipment may seem expensive to some, but they last anywhere from five to 12 years depending on how well they are kept. Typically, with installation, hot surface igniters cost between $80 and $350.

If your furnace is experiencing any problems, contact us today at 913-888-4470.