One of the most daunting tasks you may face as a homeowner is shopping for a new furnace. The decisions you make beforehand will influence your comfort, energy bills and maintenance costs for years to come. By working with a trusted HVAC contractor from the start, it will be easier to select the right size, efficiency and brand for your home.
Determine its size. The first step in the furnace selection process is running a load calculation with your HVAC contractor. This calculation takes into account the components of your home that will influence its heating needs. HVAC contractors use software called Manual J to arrive at the number of BTUs (British thermal units) your home requires.
Installing too large a furnace will increase its energy usage, shorten its lifetime and leave you less comfortable, while a unit that’s too small won’t adequately warm your home when the weather is exceptionally cold.
Choose the efficiency. Once you know your heating load, you can start shopping for a new furnace that matches your budget and your energy efficiency preferences. The least efficient furnace available has an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of 80, which means that it uses 80 percent of the fuel it consumes for heating your home, and wastes 20 percent of it up the chimney, usually as water vapor.
Furnace efficiency can reach nearly 99 percent, and given our cold winters, it makes sense to increase the efficiency of your system to save more money on heating costs.
Look at performance data. The size and AFUE rating of the system you’re considering are obvious determinants, but the quality of your system and its components aren’t usually apparent to the typical homeowner. Your contractor will be able to explain the differences between brands.
Another indicator of system performance is the quality of your warranty. Systems with a long and comprehensive warranty are likely to perform more dependably over time.
For professional assistance when shopping for a new furnace, contact Stack Heating & Cooling. We’re a trusted HVAC contractor serving the Greater Cleveland area since 1976.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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