Choosing a new furnace requires evaluation of several factors that will affect the system's performance. Here are some important furnace features to consider as you're evaluating that new heating system.
- High efficiency: High-efficiency furnaces make very good use of the fuel they use to generate heat. Look for units with high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings for the best efficiency. Furnaces with an AFUE of 90 or above are considered high-efficiency systems.
- Fuel type: Furnaces are available that run on fuels such as natural gas, propane and fuel oil. All-electric furnaces is another option, though it's usually more expensive than a fuel-burning furnace. Geothermal, or ground-based, heating provides the best levels of heating efficiency, using a system of underground pipes to move heat to and from your home.
- Size: Furnaces that are too small don't produce enough heat and tend to wear out earlier because they run more often. Furnaces that are too large will cycle on and off too often, wasting fuel, energy and money, as well as providing uneven heating. Your local trusted HVAC contractor can conduct a heating load calculation to determine the right size furnace for your home.
- Gas-condensing units: Gas-condensing furnaces increase heating efficiency by using a second heat exchanger to pull additional heat from the system's exhaust gases. Most of the heat in the exhaust is recovered and reused.
- Electronic ignition: Older furnace types use a standard pilot light that consumes fuel constantly. Newer models with electronic ignition systems do not have a pilot light, and instead generate a spark to light fuel when needed.
- Variable-speed air handlers: Air handlers move heated air from the furnace to rooms throughout your home. Older air handlers generally run at only one speed, but variable-speed models can shift speeds up or down depending on the amount of heating needed. They use about a third less electricity than single-speed models, and with their more continuous operation provide superior air filtration.
More than 47 years of industry experience makes Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. a leading provider of HVAC services in the Mid-Ohio area. Contact us today for more information on furnace replacement and for help finding a new heating system with the furnace features you need.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Mid-Ohio area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnace features and other HVAC topics, visit our website.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock