What we share here will make sure you’re informed before you make a purchase on a brand new furnace. Before you pull the trigger on that shiny new furnace, here’s five things you need to know and consider.
1. Source of Fuel
What kind of fuel do you use to heat your home?
Gas is the most widely-used fuel source for home heating. Typically this is the least expensive fuel source, but the cost of a furnace will be a little higher. This is because you will typically see more savings on your electric bill since it runs more efficiently.
Oil is typically the second-most available fuel source, but an oil furnace is normally more expensive to install.
Electric furnaces get their fuel source from electricity. These types of furnaces are typically the least expensive to purchase and have installed in your home, but you will make up the cost difference on higher electric bills.
2. Efficiency Ratings
It is mandated for all furnaces to display an AFUE rating - The Federal Trade Commission regulates this. An AFUE rating displays the yearly output of heat compared to the energy it uses in the process of creating this heat. An AFUE rating of 95% means that 95 percent of the energy it used was put to heating your home, while 5% of the energy escaped - or in layman’s terms - was wasted. Please keep in mind that an AFUE rating does not account for your ductwork and whether or not any heat escaped from your ducts because of leaks or poor layout.
Natural gas furnaces can have an AFUE rating over 95%, meaning they are highly efficient. You will see reduced electric costs with a natural gas furnace. Electric furnaces are actually the most efficient since they don’t lose a lot of energy and most of the energy used goes to actively producing heat.
However, you have to keep in mind that the cost of a fuel source has to be accounted for as well. While electric furnaces are the most efficient AFUE rating, you will have much higher electric costs, which oftentimes turns out to be more expensive to operate than a furnace with an alternative fuel source such as natural gas, propane, or oil.
3. Type of Furnace
Gas furnaces are the most prevalent in American homes and there are three varieties of them.
Single-Stage Gas Furnace: This means that the furnace operates on a gas valve that opens and closes and only outputs at a high rate. These kinds of furnaces have a lower efficiency and are best suited for milder-climates.
Two-Stage Gas Furnaces: These kinds of furnaces have the ability to adjust the flow of gas so that you have more control over efficiency.
Modulating Gas Furnaces: This is the most accurate gas-regulating furnace available. It is capable of keeping better control of the flow of gas and evenly distributing the heat throughout your home.
Electric Furnaces are still very popular options, usually because of lower upfront costs. These furnaces use electric-powered coils to warm the air before distributing it throughout your home.
Oil Furnaces are one of the most difficult to work on because of their complex assembly. They operate by spraying fuel into a combustion chamber at high pressure, which is propelled by a blower. It is then ignited by an electric spark and the oil is burned in order to create heat. Because of the assembly it is often thought oil furnaces are unsafe. However if a trained professional is handling the components, they are perfectly safe and don’t even produce carbon monoxide.
4. Region and Climate
Milder climates don’t require a furnace with as high of an efficiency rating because they do not have to operate as often. 80% AFUE rating is typically sufficient in these areas - where temperatures tend to not drop lower than 40 degrees.
Cold and freezing climates require higher efficiency furnaces in order to produce enough heating power. Efficiency standards of at least 90% are suggested for those who live in colder climates.
An HVAC professional will be able to best advise you on what is recommended in your area and what your neighbors are using and what kind of results they get.
5. Size of your Furnace
There are a number of factors that go into properly sizing your furnace for your home. An experienced HVAC professional will take into account things such as square footage of your home, the number of windows, how high your ceilings are, how many stories your home has, the layout of your ductwork, and even the quality of your insulation.
It is so important to properly size your unit for your home because a unit that is too small will not properly heat your home and will constantly cycle in its attempts to keep your home warm. A furnace that is too large for your home will overproduce and lose efficiency because it will create more heat than what is needed for your home. This is also a cause of improper cycling because it will not be able to accurately gauge the heat needs of your home. It will cause spikes in electric bills due to improper cycling.
Time To Call A Professional
Now that you know more about what goes into getting a new furnace, you can make a better-informed decision when the time comes. When consulting an HVAC professional you will have a lot of the information you need in order to make a wise choice on your new furnace.
Give us a call or schedule a free HVAC estimate on our website. One of our trained comfort advisors will be happy to come to your home and make recommendations based on your needs and budget so that you get the system that is best for you.