With the energy tax credits available for new furnaces until the end of 2013, now's a great time to replace your aging system. These incentives make the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" the wrong way to think about your older home comfort system.
It might have been a while since you shopped for a furnace—if you’ve ever shopped for one at all—so you might feel lost regarding what to look for when buying a furnace.
Here’s some homework you can get started on right now before you buy.
- Select the right contractor: This is by far the key decision! The correct contractor will guide in selecting the right equipment for you, evaluate how best to incorporate it into your home and your lifestyle and finally perform a comprehensive installation that will yield the most results from the equipment selected. Energy Star has tested many installations and they have found that there can be up to a 40% difference in cost of operation between the same equipment—solely the result of who and how the same piece of equipment was installed!
- Learn about furnace efficiency: Annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, is the indication of how efficiently a furnace operates. The minimum allowed today is 78 percent AFUE, but the closer the number approaches 100, the more efficient it is. You need a furnace with a 95 percent AFUE or higher to qualify for energy tax credits. Many local utilities also have programs for rebates on higher efficiency furnaces, too. Choosing a high-efficiency model also saves you money in the long run by providing lower heating bills.
- Understand the importance of proper sizing: This is another factor in selecting the right contractor to install your system. The furnace should fit your home’s needs to keep you comfortable on Cleveland’s coldest nights. However, you don’t want the furnace to be oversized or it will waste energy, wear out sooner and lead to uncomfortable temperature fluctuations. A home energy audit performed by a skilled professional can help ensure that you get the right-sized system for your home's needs.
- Look for advanced features: Three of the most important features are a variable-speed blower to allow for high- and low-speed operation; a dual heat exchanger to absorb the most heat possible from the combustion gases; and an efficient ignition system that doesn’t leave a pilot light burning all the time. Look for these features when buying a furnace.
- Select the fuel type: Gas furnaces are most common today. Most homeowners only consider oil or electric if natural gas isn't available in their homes.
For more information on buying a furnace to keep you comfortable for many seasons to come, please contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We proudly serve residents in and around the greater Cleveland area.Follow @PKwadsworth
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 over 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. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. 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.