I live in a home now where we don't use a furnace to heat it, but I remember we had one growing up, and if the furnace broke, it was bad. If you need a replacement furnace, here's a post from a reader about how to chose a replacement one.
What do you need to know before you replace your furnace? You need a furnace that fits your home and meets your demands. Size, efficiency, and installation are the three most important factors you need to consider when you’re getting a new furnace.
Your furnace needs to be the right size to fit your home. A furnace that’s too small won’t be able to produce enough heat to keep your home the right temperature. If you live somewhere with extreme cold weather, a bigger furnace is a must. However, larger furnaces also cycle on and off more often, which can raise your energy costs and can be hard on the furnace.
How does furnace efficiency work and how has it evolved over the years? A furnace’s efficiency is calculated according to its annual fuel-utilization efficiency, or AFUE, rating. This number is measured as a percent, i.e., how much of the gas that you pay for gets turned into useful heat that warms up your home. The higher percentage, the more heat you get out of each unit of gas and the less gas you wind up consuming to heat your home.
Time has made a major difference in how efficiently furnaces work. Back in the 1970s, a gas furnace would run with only a 65 percent AFUE. Nearly half of your fuel went to waste. But as energy became more expensive and pollution increasingly affected air quality, governments stepped in to make appliances like furnaces more efficient, requiring furnaces burn gas at least a 78 AFUE. Today, that number is 80 percent, and there are now high energy-efficiency furnaces that perform at a 90 to 97 percent efficiency rate. The cost savings on your energy bill are a good reason to get a new furnace that’s high-efficiency the next time you need a replacement. Given the age of your current furnace (since they last around 20 years or even longer), you may see a major difference in performance.
If you’re not sure if high-efficiency is for you, look up the rates you pay for gas and calculate the numbers. How much will a 97 percent furnace save you every month compared to 80 percent? High-efficiency furnaces are more expensive, so it’s worth looking at the numbers. Keep in mind that natural gas prices are also on the rise for the first time in years. The rates you pay today aren’t the same as they will be in 10 or 20 years. Energy will be more expensive, especially as demand for natural gas grows rapidly. Natural gas is a cleaner type of fossil fuel and it plays a key role in many national strategies for reducing carbon emissions.
The company or contractor you hire to help you buy or rent and install your new furnace should help you out every step of the way. They can help you calculate your savings on an energy efficient furnace and find the right size furnace. They will also make sure you have the right ventilation setup for the kind of furnace you plan to buy.
Think about the future the next time you replace your furnace. You can save a lot of money and hassles with the right HVAC system.
See my disclaimer.