It has to be said: Winter is here! Do you know if your furnace is running at optimum efficiency?

Don’t wait until your furnace goes out to have a talk with your local HVAC contractor.

Your most pressing question may be “Do I repair, or do I replace?” Unless your furnace is broken beyond repair or a fire hazard, you definitely have options that we can help you with.

Overview of Furnace Efficiency

Newer energy-efficient furnaces are required to have a minimum of 78% annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). In general, new high-efficiency systems will exceed this by several percentage points!

Top of the line high-efficiency furnaces can have up to 98.5% AFUE! That means that nearly all of the AFUE energy purchased goes directly toward heating your home.

The Federal Trade Commission now requires replacement furnaces to display their AFUE so consumers have a simple visual to compare different models against each other.

Older, low-efficiency furnaces may have far less AFUE. They have heavy heat exchangers and employ a constant pilot light. And of course, as a furnace ages, it will likely need frequent repairs. So while it may be possible to retrofit your older heating unit, consider the added potential benefits of a full replacement.

Furnace Repair vs. Furnace Replacement

So, to repair or to replace?

How much money are you willing to sink into frequent repairs or maintenance that goes beyond typical spring or fall checkups.

Consider the price tag. If repairs are 50% of what it would cost to completely replace the unit or system, it makes sense to replace, especially if installing a high-efficiency furnace.

Older units may have exhausted their limited warranty, or parts may have become obsolete and harder to obtain. At that point, you may want to consider replacing the equipment completely.

Don’t forget to factor in the long term energy savings! A higher price upfront may be offset by the savings you recoup in your utility bills.

It may be helpful to look for the Energy Star rating granted to high-efficiency furnaces. Energy Star ratings are granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to products that are the same or better than standard products but are far more efficient.

These energy-efficient units are rated to reduce pollution and to reduce energy consumption. If you live in a climate that sees cold winters, it makes sense to invest in the highest-efficiency system.

While high-efficiency HVAC systems can offer huge resale value for your home, consider how long you plan to live in your residence. The longer you stay, the longer you’ll have to personally recoup the energy savings.

Are you in your “forever home”? Does your current lifestyle (single, married, kids, empty nesters) remain consistent? Are you anticipating a job relocation?

Regardless, it’s best to talk to your local licensed HVAC contractor, because we can advise on inexpensive fixes that repairs may offer. To get a more specific cost/benefit analysis that fits your home or business needs, give us a call today at 937-439-4696!