During the winter months, your furnace keeps your family warm. Few things feel as comfortable as walking out of the cold and into a heated home.
Even if your furnace works as it should right now, there will be a day when you will need to think about replacing your unit. You may notice that your energy bills are rising, you are constantly calling a repair person to fix your furnace, your furnace’s performance is less than stellar or it has quit working altogether.
Whether you are thinking about purchasing a new furnace now or you are thinking about your options for the future, this guide has been designed to help you understand the choices that are available and provide some insight on the questions you should consider before purchasing a new system.
Are All Furnaces the Same?
No. Electric furnaces, propane furnaces, oil furnaces and gas furnaces are the most common furnace options. The basics of most fuel-based furnaces are the same. However, each type has its own peculiarities and unique pros and cons. An electric furnace will be the least expensive furnace to purchase up-front. A gas furnace is going to be the least expensive to operate if your home already has gas lines installed. An oil furnace is going to burn hotter, meaning that your home or office will heat more quickly.
What Is the Energy Efficiency of Different Furnaces?
When you purchase a new furnace, you will see a yellow and black EnergyGuide label. This label will tell you the estimated annual operating costs and make it easy to compare energy efficiency between one furnace and another.
Combustion-type furnaces, like propane, natural gas and oil, have an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. This is a highly regulated system. It is the equivalent of MPG (miles per gallon) when determining the fuel efficiency of a car. The higher the AFUE rating, the better fuel efficiency the unit has.
In the United States, the minimum AFUE rating for furnaces is 80%. High-efficiency models have a second heat exchanger, increasing fuel economy. These units have an AFUE rating of between 90% and 98.5%.
Additional Features to Consider When Purchasing a New Furnace
Modern furnaces offer several features to enhance the comfort of your home. Furnaces with variable speed blowers provide more uniform heating throughout your residence. Variable speed blowers offer improved control over airflow throughout the year for both heating and cooling. They operate quietly at lower speeds and can help mitigate humidity in your home.
Another feature to consider is multi-stage operation. Furnaces with this feature can adjust their heating capacity to match the changing conditions in your environment. This leads to increased energy efficiency when compared to traditional single-stage furnaces that only operate at one capacity. Understandably, the more features a furnace has, the more expensive it will be.
How Big a Furnace Do I Need?
This is a challenging question. Old furnaces were large and bulky, but modern furnaces can fit into a small utility closet. However, you should be less concerned with the physical dimensions of the furnace and more concerned with its heating capacity.
Furnaces have different sizes and capacities measured in BTUs. This stands for British thermal units. To determine the capacity needed for your home or office, our HVAC professionals at North Point Air Conditioning & Heating can assess your building. We will evaluate the number of windows, square footage of the building, insulation and other factors.
Purchasing an underpowered furnace can result in loss of efficiency and comfort. Purchasing an overpowered furnace can leave you with hotspots, cold spots and a unit that never reaches its full potential.
How Long Will a Furnace Last?
You should reasonably expect your gas furnace to last for 15 years or more. Electric furnaces have a slightly longer lifespan. With both electric and fuel-based furnaces, you can increase the life of the unit by doing proper maintenance, changing filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and having our trained professionals inspect your furnace annually to make sure that it is operating as it should.
Get Comprehensive HVAC Services
At North Point Air Conditioning & Heating, we offer a variety of residential and commercial HVAC services in and around Spring, Texas. Whether you need a quick HVAC repair, HVAC installation for new construction, or an updated furnace, we have the tools and the team available to help.
Our services include furnace installation, repairs and maintenance. We also install, repair and maintain air conditioning units, provide indoor air quality inspections, and install smart thermostats. Contact North Point Air Conditioning & Heating today to learn more about the services we offer.