If your furnace is more than 10 years old, or if it simply hasn’t been working well, you’ll be in the market for a new unit. Before contacting an HVAC contractor, however, take a few moments and ask yourself some questions about what you need in order to evaluate the wide range of home heating systems.
New furnaces will have a minimal heating efficiency of 80%, but in reality most reliable furnaces have efficiency ratings of 90% and above, even to 96%. When assessing furnaces, this is called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE).
You’ll also want to examine the efficiency of the fan blower motor and consider a unit with an electronically commutated blower motor that is more efficient than a standard motor. This feature is especially important if you like to run your furnace fan all year long to clean indoor air as it will reduce your energy costs.
Expect to spend somewhere between $1,000 and $3,500 on a new furnace. High-efficiency models can cost an extra $500 to $1,000. If you currently have high heating bills, purchasing a high-efficiency unit makes sense as it would pay for itself within a few years. Evaluate what you are spending annually on your annual heating bill when you consider how much to spend on a furnace.
Other factors, however, can also affect annual heating cost. These include your home’s size, insulation, air tightness, leaky ductwork, the number of windows along with their energy-efficiency and the temperature that you set your thermostat.
Properly sizing your new furnace is also an important factor. A furnace that is too big or small will turn on and off frequently, resulting in inefficient operation. Make sure that your contractor sizes your house properly. That doesn’t mean simply taking into consideration the square footage, but adding other factors such as, number of floors, insulation levels, number of windows, orientation to the sun, configuration of your home, your local climate and more. Getting a Manual J calculation is essential.
You may also want to consider home heating systems with two-stage burners and variable blowers as these offer more efficiency and greater overall comfort.
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