If you’re wondering whether your furnace will survive another long, cold winter—or you’re simply tired of paying the high operating costs of unit that’s outdated and energy-inefficient—the fall season is usually the best time to do something about it. Being forced to make a snap decision to upgrade because the old unit fails unexpectedly isn’t the preferred way to get the best deal. While you’re shopping for a new heating system, a few choices should influence your buying decision.
In most parts of the country where natural gas is available, including here in the northeast, gas furnaces represent the most affordable heating option and the most popular—installed in over 56 million homes, nationally. Electric furnaces follow in second place. While an electric model is technically more efficient, the higher cost of electricity in most areas usually makes it more expensive than gas heating.
Gas furnace efficiency is expressed by the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). A higher AFUE usually indicates more efficient fuel consumption and lower operating costs. The current federal minimum AFUE is 80. However, high-efficiency furnaces with AFUE ranging above 95 are also available—at a substantially higher purchase price, however.
Upgrade The Blower, Too
Replacing a furnace is a good time to upgrade your old-school, one-speed blower to a more efficient variable-speed model. Unlike conventional on/off blowers, a variable-speed unit incorporates highly efficient ECM technology and runs almost continuously, responding to a controller that varies blower output according to the heating requirements of the home. Plus, variable-speed units consume about 75 percent less energy than conventional blowers.
Size It Right
Any new heating system purchase should include a heating load calculation performed by a qualified HVAC technician. This ensures that the BTU output of the furnace matches the unique heating requirements of the home. Both over-sized and under-sized furnaces are energy wasters and/or underperform in maintaining indoor comfort.
For more advice on choosing a new furnace this fall, in Monmouth County contact the heating professionals at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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