When faced with the prospect of choosing a furnace, homeowners are wise to enlist the help of a reputable, expert HVAC contractor. The process involves a number of steps. Neglecting any one of them can result in a poor return on investment, not to mention compromised home comfort and higher-than-necessary energy costs. Here’s a look at four of the steps involved with choosing a furnace.
Reviewing efficiency ratings
In 2010, the government implemented a new minimum efficiency standard of 90 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) for furnaces. AFUE is a ratings system that shows how much of the fuel consumed is used to create heat, and how much is lost via the vent/chimney. Within the range of 90 to 100 AFUE, there’s a lot of choice in terms of features like a variable-speed air handler, sealed combustion, two heat exchangers, a modulating gas valve, and more. Work with your contractor to select features and the AFUE rating.
Sizing the furnace
With the AFUE rating in mind, homeowners should then turn to sizing the system. To properly size the home and select furnace capacity, your contractor should perform a heating load calculation according to industry standards established by the Canadian Standards Association. For optimal results, schedule an energy audit of the home too; making upgrades to the home’s overall efficiency, such as improving insulation and sealing air leaks, ultimately leads to peak performance from the new furnace.
Installing the furnace
The final step in the process of choosing a furnace, installing the unit, can make or break its performance. In fact, experts agree that improperly installed heating systems greatly decrease efficiency. Your contractor should perform these tasks, along with others, during installation:
- Check the gas pressure
- Meet manufacturer’s specs for the setup of the low fire pressure
- Ensure proper venting, checking the length of vent pipe and using appropriate materials
- Evaluate the temperature rise on the supply and return sides
- Test airflow, making adjustments to the air handler as necessary
- Verify the input of the gas supply
For help choosing a furnace, contact Arpi’s Industries today! We’ve served greater Calgary homeowners since 1963.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about choosing a furnace and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Image courtesy of Shutterstock