A new furnace is an investment that will have a financial impact on your family's budget for many years. If you're shopping for a furnace, the process does not have to be filled with stress. There are a number of high-efficiency features that you should look for:
- Research the annual fuel utilization efficiency or AFUE. The AFUE rating measures how efficiently the furnace converts fuel into heat based on one year of operation. The minimum rating approved by the Federal Trade Commission is 78 percent except for mobile homes, which require a minimum rating of 80 percent. (These minimums are going up early in 2013.) This minimum percentage indicates that 78 percent of the fuel consumed by the furnace is turned into heat for your home. The remaining 12 percent escapes through chimneys or vents during the combustion process. Furnaces with a rating 90 percent and above are considered high-efficiency.
- Determine the combustion type. When you shop for a furnace, you should look for a unit with sealed combustion. When a furnace operates, it pulls air into the combustion chamber. The air mixes with the fuel and ignites to create combustion and heat. A sealed combustion unit pulls air from the outside of the home, uses it for combustion and releases the excess through the exhaust pipe. A non-sealed unit pulls the air from the interior of the home. As the unit creates suction inside of the home, it draws cold air from the outside through cracks, holes and seams. The ambient temperature of the air will differ from your home and require additional heating to maintain a consistent temperature.
- Look for a unit with an additional heat exchanger. After the initial combustion phase, the byproducts of combustion will pass through this additional unit for a secondary combustion process. This additional process maximizes the amount of heat that you can create from the same amount of fuel.
When you are shopping for a furnace, please contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.We can provide you with information on high-efficiency furnaces suited for your Fort Wayne-area home and budget.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area 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.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock