A Buyer’s Guide To High-Efficiency Furnaces

A Buyer's Guide To High-Efficiency FurnacesWinter’s just around the corner. Is your furnace broken? Or are you facing an uncomfortably high energy bill in your home because your old furnace isn’t as energy efficient as it used to be? It may be time to invest in a high-efficiency furnace.

Buying any HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment is an investment. You want something that works well, lasts a long time, and hopefully repays some, or all, of its initial cost by lowering your utility bills. By consulting with your HVAC contractor, you can find the best high-efficiency furnace to fit your needs.

One of your first concerns when you’re thinking about buying a new furnace should be assessing the correct size for your home and needs. Because of the improvements in efficiency over the last several years, you now can buy a much smaller furnace to get the same heating power as the furnace installed in homes a few decades ago. Your contractor should evaluate your house to figure out the appropriate furnace size based on its square footage, the amount of insulation you have, the placement of windows, and other factors. Buying an incorrectly sized furnace can cost you money, in addition to the initial price. Too small a furnace will have to work harder to warm your home, while too large a furnace will cycle on and off frequently. This can lead to significant wear and tear on the equipment, uneven heating in your home and higher utility bills.

Another concern is efficiency. Furnace efficiency is measured in AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency. This measures how much fuel a furnace uses during an average year of use versus how much fuel is wasted. Currently, federal mandates require that all furnaces have a minimum AFUE of 78 percent, but to qualify as a high-efficiency furnace, a furnace’s AFUE must be at least 90 percent or higher. Although higher efficiencies have a higher initial cost, they pay for themselves more quickly in energy savings.

High-efficiency furnaces are typically condensing furnaces, which means they use a second heat exchanger to extract heat from exhaust gases that otherwise would vent to the outside air. Virtually no heat is lost using this method, making a condensing furnace a very efficient model.

For more information about high-efficiency furnaces or other HVAC matters, contact Powers Heating & Air. We’re proud to serve residential and commercial customers in the Peachtree City, Newnan, Fayetteville, Senoia, Sharpsburg, Tyrone, Brooks and the surrounding area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree, GA and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about high-efficiency furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Leave a Reply