Tips for buying a new furnace

If your furnace is nearing the end of its lifespan, you’ll want to replace it before it kicks out on you. While most new furnaces will be more efficient than your older one, there are still many things to consider when looking for a furnace replacement.

Here are some factors to consider when it’s time to buy a new furnace:

Check the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

An efficient furnace means it uses less energy, and you get to save more money. Efficient furnaces can convert their fuel source into heat, with very little energy wasted. An “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency” (AFUE) rating is what tells you how efficient a furnace is. This percentage will give you the actual, season-long efficiency of the appliance. All furnaces installed in Alberta, now must at least have a rating of 96%.  High-efficiency furnaces are capable of up to 98% efficiency. Look on your current furnace to see what the rating plate is on it, if you can see it. Many older furnaces achieve as low as 50% efficiency.  That means 46% of the natural gas and electrical consumption goes to waste.  So, if you’re looking for a highly-efficient furnace, take note of your current system and add that consideration, moving forward with a new furnace installation.

Indoor air quality

Furnaces need a filter to protect its components from getting dirty removing particles from the air as it enters the furnace.  Furnace air filters are available in a wide range of efficiencies (the amount of dust and the size of airborne particles) and are represented by a MERV Rating (Minimum Efficiency Rating Value).  The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter.  In addition, furnace filters are available in a wide range of size.  The size and efficiency rating of the filter should be determined by occupants needs for clean air and meeting the specifications by the furnace manufacturer. Things such as pollen, pet fur, dust, and other allergens can quickly build up in a filter and affect the overall air quality. Dirty air filters also make furnaces work extra hard, eventually reducing their efficiency and lifespan. When you get your new furnace, it is a great opportunity to explore air filtration upgrades.

Furnace Types

When referring to furnace stages, it means the number of heat settings the furnace has. Multiple stages will determine the speed of the blower motor and at what capacity the furnace runs. Single-stage furnaces are just that; they run at full power and capacity until the right temperature is and then they turn off until the home drops to a certain temperature, then it will turn back on again. They are the most affordable option, but they do cause uneven heating throughout the house.

Two-stage furnaces, however, can run at two different heat levels. This means that it can run at 60% capacity on the first stage, and 100% capacity on the second stage. This type of furnace is not only quieter, but it also produces more heat and better air quality. It also offers excellent value when it comes to home comfort.

Modulating furnaces tend to manage temperatures at even more exact increments. This means that every room will always have even heating, but the furnace will still run quietly. It is the more expensive option, but it also provides 98% efficiency.

Any furnaces’ capability of evenly heating your home is determined by existing ductwork and ventilation limitations.

Increasing the value of your home

Installing a high-efficiency furnace will increase the value of your home.  It is common for home inspectors to recommend changing the furnace before purchasing a house if the existing furnace is more than 20 years old.  This recommendation, common in a real estate transactions’, will be represented in a home’s value and eliminates any buyer concerns when making their decision in moving forward with the transaction.

How does a furnace save me money

In addition to the money saved in utility costs (gas and electricity), you will avoid costly repairs to your existing furnace.  Like an older car, it’s not entirely possible to predict future repairs and costs.  A single furnace repair can cost as much as $1500.  New furnaces come with a 5-10 year warranty, resulting in cost savings over the old unit needing costly repairs.

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