Furnaces that fail to deliver the comfort you expect, that require frequent repairs, or that are more than 10 years old are all good candidates for furnace replacement. Modern furnaces are significantly more energy efficient than those manufactured just a decade ago. Advancements in technology combined with stricter governmental energy efficiency requirements have not only resulted in furnaces that cost substantially less to operate but that deliver better comfort levels as well. Keep an eye out for these five features when searching for a furnace replacement:
1. Energy Efficiency Ratings
A furnace’s energy efficiency is measured by its annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. An AFUE rating is the ratio of heat produced by the furnace compared to its energy consumption. Gas furnaces manufactured before 1990 had AFUE ratings between 55 and 78 percent. Today’s furnaces can have AFUE ratings as high as 97 percent, which means that the furnace will convert virtually all of the fuel that’s burned into heat for your home.
2. Dual Heat Exchangers
The heat generated by a furnace as it burns fuel is absorbed by the air inside the unit’s heat exchanger. Located above the furnace’s combustion chamber, the heat exchanger supplies heated air to the unit’s blower for distribution through the system’s ductwork into your home’s living areas. Some furnaces come with a second heat exchanger that captures any heat not absorbed by the primary exchanger, enhancing the system’s energy efficiency and saving you money.
3. Variable-Speed Fan Motors
Variable-speed fan motors allow heated air to be delivered more slowly. This technology is not only an energy-saving feature but one that offers enhanced comfort as well. A variable-speed blower automatically adjusts to the home’s heating demands, providing a consistent flow of gentle, warm air when less heat is needed, eliminating annoying fluctuations in temperature.
4. Advanced Air Filtration
For those who suffer from allergies, asthma or chronic respiratory ailments, furnaces with advanced air filters can decrease the amount of particulates blown into the air delivery system. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are regulated by the Department of Energy (DOE). To qualify for a HEPA rating, the filter must remove virtually all particulates larger than 0.3 micrometers from the air.
5. Zoned Heating
Some furnace systems include a system of dampers that allows you to control the amount of heated air delivered to different zones in your home. A zoned furnace heating system includes multiple thermostats and a central controller. This type of system works particularly well in large homes. In smaller homes, heat pumps may be a more energy-efficient option for zoned heating.
If your furnace is exhibiting signs of aging or is consistently breaking down, now might be a good time to consider a furnace replacement. Look for these five features in order to get the best possible furnace for your home or business.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=heater&ex=1#ai:MC900370696|
Samantha Wideman is part of a team of writers and specializes in writing about current news events.