For decades, electricity, gas and heating oil costs were low enough that we didn’t need to worry about our monthly utility bills. But today’s growing energy demand has caused electricity and fuel prices to shoot up — and it will only get worse. Because heating and cooling make up almost 50% of your house’s energy budget, it’s critical for your heating system be as efficient as possible.
The older your furnace equipment is, the lower its efficiency. Today’s heater and furnace equipment is a lot better at converting fuel or electricity into home heat.
Even 12 year old equipment is considered antique compared to updated state of the art furnaces and heaters. Sure it’s an investment, but you will pay for it whether you get it or not.
Today’s new furnaces and heating systems are more energy-efficient than ever, so there is no reason to keep an old, clunky system. If you have an old gas or electric heater, or you notice your system is not working as well as it could be, one of our skilled HVAC technicians can help you fix it. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Compared with a 17 year old furnace, a new furnace can save the typical family hundreds of dollars per year. Based on the efficiency of your old furnace, probably 60% at best, a new furnace can cut your utility bills by 40%. You can do the arithmetic to determine your annual savings.
Not only will you have lower utility bills, but the comfort and quiet operation of a new system will surprise you. The contractor should install a computerized thermostat with it. This thermostat, coupled with the electronic controls in the new furnace, will maintain even room temperatures.
You can choose from two basic designs of furnaces: condensing and non-condensing. The condensing models (this refers to the type of heat exchanger used) are the most efficient and the best choice for most homeowners. The efficiencies of condensing models range from about 90% to over 95%.
These models are very efficient, and so little heat is lost in the flue gases that a chimney is not needed. The gases are exhausted by a 2 inch diameter plastic pipe through an outdoor wall. With no need for a new chimney liner, a condensing furnace is often cheaper to install.
Some models also offer sealed combustion for better efficiency. The combustion air is drawn in from outdoors through another plastic pipe instead of being drawn from inside your house. Being sealed, there are fewer indoor drafts, less noise and less chance of hazardous back drafting.
For the ultimate in comfort and efficiency, but at a higher initial cost, is a two-stage heat output furnace with a variable-speed blower. This type of blower is needed if you want the best central air-conditioning.
In all but the coldest weather, the gas burners operate at a low heat level. This allows the furnace to run more continuously with fewer uncomfortable on/off cycles. The blower also runs slower and quieter at this low level. During very cold weather, it automatically switches to high heat.
If your budget allows, also install a quality air cleaner. Since a two-stage unit runs more, the air cleaner is more effective for allergy sufferers.