Upgrading to a modern, energy-efficient furnace can help you stay more comfortable during Cleveland's chilly winters and lower your energy bills, too. Given the number of furnace models available, though, shopping around for a new one gets confusing when you're not sure what to look for.
To make buying a furnace a little easier, try this quick guide:
- Repair or replace - Repairing a furnace is generally less costly out of pocket than replacing one. Certain minor, easily repaired problems like loose wires can cause system failure, but these don't always mean you need a new furnace. On the other hand, if you lose a critical component like the heat exchanger, system replacement may be the better choice. Additionally, as equipment ages, repairs can mount up as wear and tear take their toll. This is especially true if your furnace is more than 15 years old.
- Check efficiency ratings - Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a furnace. While the efficiency of older furnace models is often less than 70 percent, most of today's models are at least 80 percent efficient. High-efficiency furnaces (90 percent AFUE) and ultra high-efficiency furnaces (95 percent AFUE or higher) are also available. Upgrading the efficiency will lower utility bills and help to pay for the cost of the new, improved equipment. If you are financing the investment, clients often find a good part of the payment is covered by the utility savings.
- Look for important features - For energy efficiency and improved heating consistency, look for a furnace with a variable-speed fan motor. These motors can adjust their speed to precisely meet your home's heating needs. A furnace with two-stage heating also helps minimize temperature fluctuations. If you want a furnace with an AFUE of 90 percent or greater, you'll be looking for a condensing furnace, which contains a second heat exchanger to extract heat a lower efficiency, non-condensing furnace would waste.
- Size it right - An undersized furnace won't keep you warm, while an oversized one will waste energy and may wear out early. To accurately size your furnace, your HVAC professional will follow the Air Conditioning Contractors of America's Manual J procedure or another manufacturer's approved process for heating load calculation.
- Install it right - The government efficiency agency Energy Star has discovered that there is a big difference in the energy savings realized by the installation of newer high efficiency equipment—as much as 30%. If care is not taken during the installation phase or the installers are not properly trained or certified then there can be serious impact on the performance of the equipment. Go to the Energy Star website at www.energystar.com for more details.
For more expert guidance on buying a furnace that meets your needs and budget, contact us at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. Since 1936, we've been providing trustworthy HVAC services around the greater Cleveland area, including Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and Pepper Pike.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.