How to Choose the Right Furnace for Your Home?
As winter is approaching, many homeowners are considering upgrading
to a new Furnace. Sometimes this can be a difficult process, since there
are many different options and brands that are available. The most
important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that you are comparing
"apples to apples" when considering different furnaces. The following
are the three main options to consider when choosing a new Furnace.
1. The Efficiency of the Furnace or AFUE Rating (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency)
Today, new furnaces are generally between 80-96% efficient. If a Furnace is 96% efficient, it
simply means that 96% of the energy that goes into the Furnace is converted into heat. Older
furnaces in 15+-year-old homes can be as low as 60% efficient. Thus, upgrading to a 96%
efficient Furnace can reduce Heating bills by 30% or more. Typically, in colder weather states
such as Wisconsin, a 90%+ efficiency Furnace is recommended. The only exception is in
vacation homes that are not occupied for extended periods of time during the winter.
2. Variable Speed Fan vs. Single Speed Fan
Many people do not realize that there are options in the types of Furnace fans that are available.
The Furnace fan runs anytime the Heating or Cooling system is conditioning the air. However,
many people choose to run their fan continually. This provides a constant filtration of the air,
providing considerably better indoor air quality for you to breathe. Additionally, running the fan all
of the time will help even out the temperatures between rooms and provide a constant air flow
which results in a much more comfortable living environment. A single speed fan costs
approximately $210/year to run continually, where a variable speed fan costs approximately
$30/year to run continually. Additionally, a variable speed fan is much quieter and provides more
gradual increase airflow.
3. Single Stage vs. Two-Stage Furnace
Most furnaces either have all of their burners lit or all turned off. However, over 80% of the time,
it is not necessary to have all of the burners of the Furnace lit to meet the heat demands. Having
all of the burners lit when it is not necessary causes wasted energy and an uncomfortable living
If a thermostat is set at 74 degrees, a single-stage Furnace will light all of the burners when the
temperature reaches 72 degrees and will stay lit until the temperature rises to 76 degrees. With a
two-stage Furnace, only 1/2 of the burners are lit when the temperature reaches 73 degrees. The
burners will stay lit until the temperature rises to 75 degrees. If the temperature demands cannot
be met within 16 minutes, the additional burners will be lit. Thus, the two-stage Furnace
decreases energy consumption, while providing a more comfortable, quieter home to live in.
Choosing a new Furnace is not an easy task, and it is a choice that you will live with for the next
15+ years. Consider each of the major options carefully to choose a Furnace that is going to
meet the needs of your family now and in the future.
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