Triple Tech leading furnace repair company, specializing in furnace repair, boiler repair and other heating equipment. At Triple Tech Heating and Air Conditioning, we are here to provide you with warm winters by way of furnace cleaning, furnace repair and furnace installations.
What is a Furnace?
A furnace is an enclosed heating unit that heats air by transferring heat in a metal combustion chamber to the air and circulating it throughout heating ducts in the house. Furnaces can run on electricity, natural gas, propane or fuel oil.
Energy efficiency - The efficiency of a furnace can be determined by its AFUE--or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. The minimum efficiency level for furnaces currently manufactured in the U.S. is 80% AFUE. A rating of "80% AFUE" means that for every dollar you spend heating your home; 80 cents are actually applied to the generation of warmth. Compared to many of the 60% AFUE furnaces in older homes, 80% AFUE furnaces are a significant improvement.
At Triple Tech Heating and Air Conditioning, we understand that no other single system in your home plays a larger role in your comfort or how much your utility bill will be. That's why we specialize in high efficiency heating and cooling solutions that can warm or cool your interior space in the most cost-effective way.
The average house devotes 60 percent of its total energy use just to space heating. So, if you're looking to slash your home energy bill by perhaps as much as 30 percent, consider replacing your aging, gas-guzzling furnace with a high-efficiency model.
Still, a high-efficiency furnace costs several thousand dollars to buy and install. Thus it pays to take the time to choose the right furnace and contractor when contemplating this sizable investment.
Perhaps the first decision is whether to buy a high-efficiency furnace (90 to 97 percent of the burned natural gas is converted into usable heat), or a mid-efficiency model, with a 78-82 percent rating. The high-efficiency furnace's greater cost will take less than six years to recover through increased energy savings.
Besides saving more energy, a high-efficiency furnace runs much quieter than a mid-efficiency furnace and makes your house more comfortable with its ability to maintain a more constant temperature. High-efficiency models also have the option of running the furnace fan with a direct current motor which uses about 30 percent less electricity than an alternating-current motor.
An important thing to consider is the furnace's size relative to that of your house. A high-efficiency model can generally be somewhat smaller in BTU input than an older or a mid-efficiency furnace. The furnace size can be affected if your house insulation is poor, though it makes sense to plug those heat leaks before investing in a new furnace.
Some other things to consider when purchasing a new furnace:
In cold climates a condensing model is the best choice. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a furnace with an AFUE of more than 90 percent is â€œcondensing. These high efficiency furnaces save some of the energy that standard furnaces waste by capturing and condensing water vapor. ACEEE recommends condensing furnaces as a first choice, except in warm climates. (For those in warm climates, ACEEE suggests retrofitting your system with a heat pump instead.)
Don't forget to consider the furnace's electrical efficiency. Furnaces can use a lot of electricity in addition to the fuel they burn. Most of this electricity goes to powering the fan motor. Instead of a standard fixedspeed motor we recommend you choose a variable speed motor. A variable speed furnace, no matter what brand, should save $200-300 per year on the electric bill alone. The variable speed blower uses only the equivalent of a light bulb's electricity while a standard furnace uses about 600 watts of electricity when it is running. Most homeowners will make their added costs back in about two to three years.
Buy the best quality furnace your budget will allow. Top-of-the-line furnaces usually have a better quality igniter, blower motor, gas valve, inducer motor, and control board, plus insulated cabinets, resulting in a quieter furnace. Try to get a furnace with stainless steel primary and secondary heat exchangers. (Be careful a lot of companies just have stainless steel heat exchanger written on their brochure and they don't specify that only the secondary is stainless steel.)
Pay attention to the quality of the installation, including proper sizing and ductwork. Remember that a furnace is only as good as its installer. A-top-of-the-line furnace installed improperly could cause you many problems down the road. Make sure your ductwork is sized properly, or you could burn through blower motors regularly. And make sure the furnace is properly sized for your home. Oversized furnaces are a common mistake that you can prevent by having your contractor do an "ACCA Manual J (referring to the professional guidelines of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America) or better heat loss analysis.
Here are some steps that can help you make your home more energy-efficient: