In choosing your next furnace, it should contain the following:
• The Right AFUE rating
Buy a furnace that is high-efficiency condensing (with 90% AFUE or even higher), especially if you live in Canada. You can do well with a furnace that has an AFUE rating of at least 80% when the winter months are more tolerable, and it is allowed in the state where you live. If still in doubt, ask your contractor to determine fuel costs for both types of furnaces with the help of your current electric bill. By then, you’d be able to decide whether the extra $1,000 on a new furnace’s price tag with a 90% or higher AFUE is a worthy investment.
• Valves with two-stages
It can control the fuel’s flow so that when a furnace is turned on, it runs high, and then maintains the temperature at a lower flow.
• A thermostat that is programmable
It is possible for you to save energy when you limit your furnace’s workload when there’s no one around at home. You can reduce your heating bill by around 2% for each degree that your thermostat is turned down in an 8-hour period. Programmable thermostats come handy in reducing the temperature at home at night or when no one is around. If you still don’t have a programmable thermostat, replacing it is something you can successfully do on your own, according to experts.
• A combustion that is sealed
It is more efficient energy wise and also protects your home from carbon monoxide.
• A warranty that is long
Furnace warranties differ depending on its manufacturer and the HVAC Company or its installer. More efficient yet pricey furnaces are more likely to have longer warranties than the basic ones. When you have a condensing furnace, take note that it is imperative to have a longer warranty especially on its heat exchangers.
Must you repair or replace?
To opt for a higher energy efficient equipment is not always a good reason to replace an existing yet still functional furnace. It may be a good time to replace your furnace if any of the following apply:
• Over 15 to 20 years old.
• It has a pilot light instead of an electric or hot-surface ignition.
• Does not have vent dampers or a draft fan.
• It is a coal-burning model that was converted either to gas or oil.
We strongly recommend that you first improve your home’s overall energy efficiency before you invest in a new and more modern heating system, by adding insulation and sealing off air leaks. It will drastically decrease your home’s heating load, thereby allowing you to buy a smaller furnace. You will eventually realize that you have roughly the same savings like when you buy a more energy-efficient furnace. To improve your heating system’s efficiency, you can add a variable speed blower, further decreasing wear and tear since your furnace is no longer continually cycling on and off.
It is mandatory to not rush things when looking for a good HVAC expert. The contractor should be licensed and insured while the technician who is going to install it must have a license from a reputable institution such as the North American Technician Excellence (NATE). Make it a point to get into writing at least three estimates, and the contractor must come up with the estimate after a thorough assessment of your home to determine the size of the system it will require. It is also necessary to include energy saving estimates based on the cost of actual energy and your recent bills.
After the installation of your furnace or boiler, you can be assured that it will keep on running efficiently with proper maintenance. Things that you must do include cleaning of the air registers, cleaning or replacement of air filters in a forced air system, cleaning of baseboards and radiators, and the occasionally bleeding air with hydronic systems. It must also be tuned up, yearly for oil-fired furnaces and once every two years for the gas-powered ones. The professionals say that not enough maintenance (or an installation done wrong) is said to be the reason for twice as many furnace problems, just like with a
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