If all you know about AFUE is that it sounds like a sneeze, or think maybe Energy Star is a shooting star’s long-lost cousin, you may feel understandably in-over-your-head at the prospect of buying a new furnace. Luckily for you the experts at Aire Serv® can break down the information you need to know when you’re buying a new furnace into terms you can actually understand.
The Nitty Gritty on Furnace Types
- Gas: The most common due to their low operational costs.
- Electric: A good alternative if natural gas is not available.
- Oil: Another option if available in your area and natural gas is not.
Factors That Can Influence the Cost of a New Furnace
The amount of money you’ll want to invest in a furnace will vary vastly based on location. While investing in a high-efficiency model may have a huge payoff in Vermont, you are unlikely to see the same kind of return on investment if your – oh, say – in Florida, where it’s only used a few weeks a year.
Type of Heating System Being Replaced
Existing ductwork and gas/electrical connections can simply be re-used if you’re upgrading an existing furnace. However if you are replacing a boiler or a heat pump, you may be looking at additional installation and setup costs.
Bless you! Just kidding. AFUE ratings are simply a measure of how efficiently a furnace operates. Measured as a percentage, they can help you decipher how effectively a furnace can convert gas (or electricity or oil) into heat. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. Older, 1970s furnaces have an AFUE rating of around 65 percent, while today’s most efficient models offer near complete efficiency – 97 percent. When you make your purchase, keep in mind although higher rated models may cost more, that additional cost can be recuperated over the life of the furnace in drastically reduced energy bills.
Tax Incentives and Rebates
Tax incentives and rebates could save you up to 30 percent off of high efficiency models. Check with your local Aire Serv professional to find out more about current federal and state tax incentives and the availability of manufacturer rebates in your area. Your local utility company may offer “green” rebates and incentives as well.
Energy Star Label
Energy Star furnace models are up to 16 percent more efficient than baseline models in the north, and 12 percent more efficient in the south, translating to a more comfortable home, energy and monthly utility savings, as well as reduced greenhouse pollution.
The longer the warranty, the more protection you’ll have against unexpected service expenses.
Other Furnace Options
When you buy a new car you want all the options you can afford… infotainment systems, butt-warmers, big flashy wheels… the works. Same deal with your furnace. For a “fully loaded model,” look for:
Upgraded Air Filtration
Electrostatic or HEPA filters mean cleaner, healthier air in your home.
Yep, this sounds like it belongs on a car too, but on your furnace an ignition system such as intermittent, direct spark, or hot-surface means you don’t need a constant pilot light, so your furnace will operate more efficiently.
Reduces noise, drafts, and temperature swings by reducing the force of airflow when less heat is needed.
Increases comfort and efficiency by varying the amount of heat delivered between two levels, offering more continuous heat.
More is better, or at least it is with a dual heat exchanger, which increases efficiency thanks to an extra heat exchanger which draws heat from burned gas.
If the whole family’s enjoying a lazy TV day in the living room, why heat the whole house? Great for larger homes with areas of varying heating and cooling requirements, zoned heating utilizes a number of thermostats, central controller, and dampers to control airflow delivery to different parts of your home.
Don’t let choosing a new furnace get you all hot and bothered. If you still have questions about your decision for a new furnace, contact your local Aire Serv professional today.