There are several reasons a homeowner may decide to replace a furnace. If utility bills are high or the furnace requires major repairs, upgrading to a new furnace will provide relief. This scenario also gives you some time to evaluate your choices. If your furnace suddenly breaks down during winter, you’ll have less time to make a decision; however, in either scenario, it is important to consider furnace efficiency ratings.
You can easily find the efficiency rating of any furnace by looking for the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. AFUE will tell you how well the furnace uses fuel (be it gas, oil or electricity) and how much fuel is lost during the heating process. In 2009, the government changed minimum efficiencies for furnaces from 78 percent AFUE to 90 percent AFUE (for gas furnaces). The new standard not only helps the environment because of decreased greenhouse gas emissions, but it also helps homeowners recoup energy savings, up to 12 percent with the new rating.
During the process of selecting a new furnace, and using furnace efficiency ratings to guide that process, homeowners should also evaluate heating load and sizing methods.
- The heating load of your home is dependent on how much heat your furnace system must produce to reach a comfortable atmosphere. This is dependent on several factors, such as the home’s insulation and heat loss through the walls and attic. Therefore, homeowners can reduce the heating load their homes require by upgrading insulation and fixing air leaks. When a home’s heating load is manageable, it’s also possible to select a slightly smaller system, thereby reducing the purchase price as well.
- Properly sizing the furnace will also create energy efficient results. Your contractor should use the industry-standard sizing method developed by the Canadian Standards Association or the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada. Once your heating load is reduced, your contractor can accurately size a system to match your home’s needs.
For help with selecting a new system, reducing your home’s heating load or sizing a system, contact HVAC industry leaders Arpi’s Industriestoday!
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about replacing your furnace and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.