You may think you know all about home furnaces until you need to purchase one. That’s because you quickly find out that buying a new furnace requires more than finding one at a price that best fits your budget. Your ultimate objective in buying a new furnace is finding one that insures your home or business stays warm while fitting into your budget and providing energy cost savings.
As soon as you're in the market to purchase your new furnace, you quickly find out that all these objectives are important considerations. Read on and discover in the informational expert buying guide below what else you want to know when buying a new furnace. More importantly, learn about some of the most critical factors you need to evaluate when buying your new furnace.
Four Critical Factors to Know When Buying a New Furnace
When you start the process of comparisons and considerations for buying a new furnace, your first determination should be if you need a heat pump HVAC repair or if you should go ahead and purchase a new furnace. Once you decide to replace the furnace, you still need to figure out if you need a heat pump or gas furnace. To help you figure out what type you should go with, it helps if you take into account four critical factors.
These four factors help you find a perfect furnace that will keep your home or business comfortably warm, save on your monthly energy bill while meeting your budget criteria. The four factors are:
- Is the furnace energy efficient
- What type of furnace is it
- What is the BTU size
- Is the furnace a blower type
- What is the furnace stage and type
The four factors are broken down below so you're able to consider what are the most relevant and important aspects to you in buying a new furnace.
Is the Furnace Energy-Efficient?
Every furnace has an AFUE rating that's the equivalent of an MPG (miles per gallon) you get with a car. AFUE is an acronym that stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. The AFUE rating is one of the ways you compare one heating system's performance to another.
The higher the AFUE rating, the more energy-efficient the furnace. The conversion process is defined by how the furnace converts the gas into heating energy and that’s how the furnace is given an AFUE rating. Currently, the most common heating fuel is gas so most new central heating systems use gas.
All AFUE ratings are recorded as percentages, so you may want to use the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly AFUE when you purchase your new furnace. Furnaces today are much more energy-efficient than at any other time in history. By law, the lowest AFUE percentage your furnace can have is seventy-eight percent.
That's because until energy efficiency and consumer protection regulations were enacted, AFUE's ran at about sixty-five percent in the 1970s. Now some of the newer models run at ninety-seven percent, which is an optimum level of energy-efficiency.
What Type of Furnace is It?
Typically, furnaces have two different types but the AFUE efficiency rating measures both. You can buy a conventional furnace that offers you mid-efficiency and runs at about 80%-83% AFUE rating. Or you can buy a condensing furnace which offers you high-efficiency and runs at a 90%-98% AFUE rating.
You can determine what your AFUE rating currently is or what you want in a new furnace is by taking the AFUE rating and determining how much heat you get in your home or office. For instance, if you have a furnace with an AFUE rating of 90%, you know that 90% of the furnace's energy turns into heat for your home or office. The other 10% goes up the flue pipe or out the window so you're paying for another 10% you'll never get.
There's no doubt better furnaces are high-efficiency condensing furnaces. But they are also the ones that cost more. If you decide you want the high-efficiency condensing furnace, you've determined you’re will to pay a higher cost in the short-term to reap the long-term cost benefits.
But you want to make sure you get multiple estimates for different furnace types and always find out their AFUE rating so you can take into consideration how much you might save over the next few years.
What is the Optimum BTU Size Furnace?
The definition of a BTU is short for British Thermal Unit, but it's still the traditional North American measurement of heat or energy. The furnace size determines how much heat it can produce in an hour so one BTU represents the energy needed to heat a pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. To make matters more complicated, one BTU is the equivalent of 1,055 joules or 252 calories which equates to the energy released by one match.
Common sense tells you that the higher the BTUs in your furnace for your home or office needs, the more expensive your energy bill. The industry uses 25 to 30 BTU per square foot in moderate climates and up to 45 BTU per square foot in more seasonal and harsh climates. But if you know the exact number of BTUs needed for your home or office, you can cut costs to meet your budget.
To do that, it all boils down to using the proper amount of BTU so you don't waste energy; hence you don't lose money. To figure out the exact number of BTUs needed you plug in the temperature it is outside and then put in the degree you want for inside your home or office into a BTU calculator. Find the difference between those two numbers and that is your optimum BTU.
But the BTU calculator should also have plugged into it the room width, house length, ceiling height, etc. so you can obtain the most precise BTU number possible.
Determine if the Furnace is a Blower Type and if Type Should Be Considered in Furnace Buying
The blower on a furnace does what its name implies and that is it blows out air through your vents. It is another factor to consider when buying a furnace because it affects the furnace's efficiency level and how comfortable you'll be in your home or office. Typically, there are three different types of blowers.
There is the single-speed that runs either full blast or is completely turned off. There is the multi-speed which runs at low, medium or high depending on your heating needs. Finally, there is the variable speed which is the most efficient and one that’s adjustable to exactly how much air you want it to blow based on your heating criteria.
If you want the air being distributed throughout your home or office at a consistent temperature, you'll want a variable-speed furnace unit. Therefore, this factor should be of prime importance in your furnace buying.
What is the Furnace Stage and Type?
The furnace stage and type are used to determine how efficiently your furnace will run. Commonly there are three stages or burner types the industry uses. The single-stage burner is run on full blast or isn’t running at all. That means either you're sweating it out or almost freezing due to the peaks and valleys of the temperature in your home or office.
The two or dual-stage burner gives you full blast when you set it to high or low consistent heat when you set it to low. Generally, the high stage is used on very cold days and the low stage is used for cool days as it doesn’t expend as much energy which helps lower your utility bill. The last type is the modulating stage.
The modulating burner can keep its flame set at any point between off and high, depending on what is needed. The benefit to you is it keeps your home or office's temperature constant while almost always lowering your energy bill. Something you also want to think about when buying a furnace is finding and using an HVAC contractor who has an A+ rating with BBB and excellent customer reviews.
Excellent customer service has unlimited value in your furnace buying or maintenance needs.
The Final Step in Buying a New Furnace
Now that you know the factors you should consider when you're buying a new furnace it's important that you find a contractor who will find what you need that fits your budget and can give you an optimum heating furnace. Every consideration listed above for furnace buying serves you well once you're ready to purchase a new furnace. One of the highest-rated companies in St. Louis to answer your heating or cooling needs is Crytal Heating and Cooling.
Grab a recent furnace deal from Crystal when you're ready. There may be no investment for your home or office that's more important. You can't overvalue being warm in the winter or cool in the summer.
If you can purchase a new furnace system that improves the quality of your indoor air while decreasing your monthly utility bill you've found a winning combination that will benefit your family or business for years to come.
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