Are you in the market for a new furnace and not quite sure what options are available to you? Now is a great time for an upgrade as the forced air furnaces available on today’s market are much more energy efficient with modern technology and advances that make them more reliable and durable than their older counterparts. An advantage of high-efficiency furnaces are their ability to extract the maximum amount of heat from the fuel they consume, with the minimum amount of energy used to heat your home.
How is Energy Efficiency Calculated?
Your furnace is rated by its annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). This rating provides the percentage of fuel that is turned into heat. The higher the rating, the less energy is used to provide your home with warmth. According to the experts at Air Supply Heating & Air Conditioning, you should select a forced-air furnace fueled by natural gas, fuel oil, or propane with a 98% AFUE rating.
Furnace Efficiency Ratings
Furnaces can be placed into one of three basic categories:
Low-Efficiency Furnace: These units are typically older models that have been in the home for some time. They are less efficient, provide an AFUE rating of 60% or less, and are well known for wasting energy along with your hard-earned cash.
Mid-Efficiency Furnace: These units are somewhat better, with an AFUE percentage in the 80% range, which in layman terms is the minimum rating for today’s standards
High- Efficiency Furnace: These include any unit with a rating above 90% AFUE.
Best Time to Replace Old Furnace
If your furnace is more than fifteen years old, you have areas of cold spots, your existing furnace requires major and costly repairs, or the cost of your energy bills is higher than usual, you should consider getting your furnace replaced. If you live in a cold climate, a high-efficiency unit is the best choice, while a mid-efficiency furnace is the best option for more temperate climates. It’s important to remember that your furnace is only one part of the puzzle. Before replacing your old furnace with a high-efficiency one, make sure that your home is adequately insulated and weather-sealed to ensure that you get the most out of your new unit.
Standard Components of a High Efficiency Gas Furnace
The furnaces available today utilize an electronic ignition in place of the old gas-powered pilot lights used in older models. The ignition is only used when the furnace turns on, making it more energy-efficient than a continuously burning flame. Several high-efficiency models are available with two-stage heating. The first (lower) stage utilizes less energy and is used most of the time, while the second (higher) stage is used when the outside temperatures are freezing and more heat is needed. Other components include a variable speed blower, which is very similar to two-stage heating. The blower operates by adjusting the airflow to conserve energy.