What To Know When Purchasing an Energy-Efficient Furnace
Is it time to buy a new furnace?
Furnaces aren’t cheap, but nothing lasts forever. If your old furnace is giving you trouble or needs a lot of repairs, it may be time to replace it with a new energy efficient furnace.
Also, older furnaces are inherently less efficient than newer models. If it’s more than 20-30 years old, you will undoubtedly save a lot of money on your electric bills if you upgrade to a newer model. After all, according to the US Department of Energy, heating alone typically amounts to at least 30% of a home’s energy use. Anything you can do to lower your power bills, the better!
New energy-efficient furnaces are mandated to convert at least 80% of their fuel into heat, a big jump over requirements from a few decades ago. Some of the most efficient models can achieve a 98%+ conversion rate and can produce twice as much heat for the same amount of fuel as a 1990s model used.
So, with years of experience providing HVAC sales, service and furnace repair in New Jersey we wanted to talk about modern energy efficient furnace. How do you pick the best one for your home? Let’s take a look.
Choosing The Right Energy Efficient Furnace for Your New Jersey Home
- Understanding efficiency ratings
All furnaces sold in the US use a measurement called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) to calculate their efficiency, allowing you to quickly and easily compare efficiency between different brands and models.
This is indicated by a bright yellow sticker which will be prominent on any furnace being sold. The efficiency rating itself is a percentage, measured from 80% to 98.5%, indicating how much power is converted into heat. The higher the number, the less fuel the furnace will use.
You can also think of this in terms of dollars and cents. A furnace with 80% efficiency will be wasting 20c for every $1 in energy it uses, while a furnace with 98% efficiency is only wasting 2 cents per dollar. It’s easy to see how this adds up to big savings over time.
- Are electric forced-air furnaces worth it?
Some electric furnaces can achieve an efficiency rating even higher than standard gas-powered furnaces, potentially up to a true 100% efficiency. So, this makes them a better choice, right? Well… not really. The problem is that electricity is significantly more expensive than natural gas as a fuel, so even an exceptionally high-efficiency electric furnace will probably cost you more to operate than even a mid-tier gas-powered model.
We typically only recommend electric furnaces to homes without natural gas service.
- How high-efficiency furnaces reduce fuel waste
There are several features to look for in a new furnace which all help keep your gas and electric bills as low as possible.
1 – Variable speed (aka variable capacity) blowers
One of the biggest costs associated with a furnace is the electricity needed to run the blower. This is particularly true of older models, which typically only have basic on/off functionality. When the home needs heat the blower runs at full blast, using a lot of power, and then shuts off again.
Modern variable speed systems use smart temperature monitoring to adjust the speed of the blower, using less power overall and reducing electricity waste.
2 – Electric pilot lights
One place where electricity can help is with the pilot light. Rather than leaving the pilot light burning 24/7, using gas constantly, newer models utilize electric sparks to ignite the gas. This is overall much more efficient and lowers gas usage.
3 – Two-stage gas valves
Room-temperature natural gas requires more power to ignite than gas that is warm. So, many new furnaces have a two-stage system that warms up the furnace before going into full heating mode, which reduces power and gas use overall.
4 – Condensing gas furnaces
Wasted heat is a big problem with older furnaces, which has been largely overcome with modern condensing gas furnaces. Basically, all their exhaust gases are run through a heat exchanger which recaptures most of the heat which would otherwise be wasted. This is how modern energy-efficient furnaces can achieve 90%+ efficiency.
Not every modern furnace has all of these features – but typically, the more of these features they include, the better the overall efficiency will be.
- Air Temp Service Co Are New Jersey’s HVAC Experts!
If your furnace is too old to give you high-efficiency performance, or too prone to break down, Air Temp Service Co. can help you find the perfect high-efficiency furnace for your home, while fitting it into your budget. Contact us today for a free consultation and price estimate!