Lennox Merit ML296V Review
AFUE:Up to 96 percent
ENERGY STAR ®:Yes
Price:$4,200 to $4,800
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The ML296V is a furnace from Lennox’s entry-level Merit series, so it will be a little more affordable than some of their other natural gas furnaces. At the same time, this Lennox model has some excellent design features and specifications, making it an attractive option for a lot of Canadian homeowners.
When you're in the market for a new Lennox furnace, this model review of the ML296V will give you all the information you need to decide if it is right for your home.
The model review will talk about the ML296V’s design elements, burner and blower types, efficiency rating, special features, and warranty terms. It will also talk about Lennox furnace prices and compare the ML296V to three other Lennox furnace models.
The Lennox Merit ML296V in a Nutshell
Average Price (with installation): $4,200 to $4,800
- Secondary heat exchanger reduces heat and fuel waste to improve efficiency
- Condensing technology
- Built with sturdy and durable components
- Quiet operation
- Two-stage burner reduces energy costs
- Variable-speed blower helps to reduce hot and cold spots
- High-efficiency AFUE
- Promises great cost-savings compared to an older and less efficient furnace
- Comes with a standard warranty
- Ready to be paired with a humidifier and air filter
The Bottom Line
Even though the ML296V is from Lennox’s entry-level Merit series, it still has a lot of great selling features. It’s a variable-capacity gas furnace with a two-stage burner and a high energy efficiency rating, so it should be powerful enough for any Canadian home and will reduce energy costs.
These design elements also make the furnace more efficient, quieter, better at managing humidity, better equipped to keep a larger home warm (compared to single-stage furnaces), and better at keeping the temperature the same throughout your house.
You will have to pay a bit more for this furnace because it’s a Lennox, and it doesn’t come with a great warranty, but it will keep your home warm and comfortable for many winters and save you money while doing it. And look for gas furnace rebates before you buy if you want to save some money.
In Depth Review
Lennox Merit ML296V Product Specifications
- AFUE: 96 percent
- Burner type: Two-stage
- Blower type: Variable-speed
- ENERGY STAR certified: Yes
Lennox isn't the type of brand that puts a lot of emphasis on developing new technologies and features for their furnaces, but they do give homeowners some cool abilities through their proprietary smart thermostat, the iComfort M30 that pairs with the ML296V.
If you opt to use the iComfort M30 as the control for the ML296V, then you'll get access to a geofencing feature that will put the furnace into an energy-saving away mode when you leave based on the location of your mobile device. It will also put the furnace back into a comfort setting when it detects you're on your way home.
You can also integrate the iComfort M30 with technologies and devices like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and IFTTT to gain access to even more features, such as voice commands.
Other Key Features
- Long-lasting burner
- Burner is designed to maintain its efficiency over the life of the furnace
- Primary heat exchanger has a clamshell design that reduces air leaks and improves heat transfer
- Equipped with Lennox’s Duralok Plus heat exchanger, made with a special steel that’s durable and reliable
- Made for fast, easy, and accurate installation
- Dual fuel operation when paired with an electric heat pump
- The burner box is sealed for quieter operation
- Cabinet is made from durable steel
- Has an ultra-low continuous fan
- Has Lennox’s proprietary SureLight® silicon nitride ignitor
Lennox furnaces don’t have a great warranty, especially considering what you'll pay for one of their models.
The ML296V comes with a 20-year heat exchanger warranty and a 10-year parts warranty. But to qualify for the full 10-year parts warranty, you have to register the furnace within 60 days of installation, otherwise the parts will only be covered for five years.
Another thing you should know about the warranty is that you'll have to have the furnace installed by a licensed HVAC contractor to avoid invalidating the coverage. In other words, don’t try to save on installation costs by putting the furnace in yourself.
So what's lacking from the Lennox furnace warranty? They don’t offer lifetime heat exchanger protection for all their furnaces the way a lot of brands now do, and they don’t have the unit replacement warranty that plenty of brands have adopted.
Comparable Models by Lennox
Model Comparison by Price: ML296V versus Elite EL196E
The EL196E is one of the mid-range Lennox Elite series furnaces, but it falls into the same price range as the ML296V.
Even though they cost about the same, and even though the EL196E is in a higher tier, the ML296V arguably provides better value for the money.
The EL196E has the same 96 percent AFUE, but it only has a single-stage burner and a constant torque motor, so it’s not as advanced as the ML296V in terms of efficiency, quiet operation, humidity management, and providing even and steady heat throughout a larger home. But one thing it does have is a longer lifetime heat exchanger warranty.
Both models are high-efficiency furnaces, but a two-stage gas furnace like the ML296V will be much better at handling Canadian winters.
Model Comparison by Features: ML296V versus Dave Lennox Signature Collection SLP99V
The SLP99V is Lennox’s top-of-the-line furnace from the Dave Lennox Signature Collection. It’s the most efficient heating system on the market, with an AFUE of 99 percent. It is a modulating, variable-speed furnace that can make 1-percent adjustments to the heat output, as well as a variable-speed blower.
It was also awarded the ENERGY STAR Most Efficient of 2021, and will be eligible for any rebate out there.
When you need a new furnace and are looking at Lennox gas furnaces, you will require a very healthy budget to afford the SLP99V. But it will save you plenty on energy bills, can reduce your home’s environmental impact and fuel use, and will provide some of the quietest and most even heat of any furnace.
Model Comparison by Tier: ML296V versus ML193E
The ML296V and ML193E are both entry-level furnace models from Lennox, but the ML193E is more affordable because it’s not as sophisticated or as efficient.
The Merit ML193E is a single-stage furnace, so it only has an on and off setting, meaning it’s not as efficient, as quiet, or as capable of producing even heat. It also might not be powerful enough to keep larger homes warm, especially in colder parts of the country.
Further, the ML193E has a constant torque motor that has a few speeds, but it can't incrementally adjust the airflow the way the ML296V’s variable-speed blower can.
And here's another thing: the ML193E has an AFUE of 93 percent and it’s not ENERGY STAR certified, so it will save you less on heating bills and might not qualify for rebates. In fact, it no longer meets the Canadian government’s efficiency minimum of 95%, so you might not be able to find this furnace here.