Posted on September 23, 2013
If you're thinking about furnace replacement, it's a good time to upgrade to a high-efficiency model with features that conserve energy, save money and help the environment. Older furnaces use more energy, cost more to run and pollute the air. When deciding on a furnace replacement for your home, size and efficiency are very important.
- Size – The furnace should fit your home's size and heating needs. A furnace that's too small won't provide enough heat. A furnace that's too large will waste energy by cycling on and off more, and may require larger ducts resulting in airflow noise.
- Efficiency – Furnace efficiency is measured by an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. AFUE ratings on new furnaces range from 78 to 98.2 percent, but only ratings of 90 percent or higher are considered to be high-efficiency models by the Department of Energy. Older furnaces can have an AFUE as low as 65 percent.
Improved Performance Features
- Variable-speed blower – optimizes heat output by running longer at lower speeds. It delivers heat at two alternating levels, keeping temperatures more even throughout the house. It's quieter and provides cleaner air than a single-speed blower.
- Sealed combustion – provides controlled heat by mixing outside air with fuel in controlled amounts. The furnace blows warm air longer without cycling on and off as much, giving you more even temperatures in the house.
- Condensing furnace – allows heat to be extracted until all gases have cooled and condensed. Only cool exhaust is sent out into the atmosphere to protect the environment.
- Dual-heat exchanger – draws more heat from the burned gas by using two exchangers instead of one. The second exchanger is made of stainless steel and lined with plastic to prevent possible corrosion.
- Electronic ignition systems – replace a continuously burning pilot light. New furnaces use an intermittent pilot or hot surface ignition element that ignites on demand and increases furnace efficiency.