When cold weather comes around, heating your home becomes a necessity. Furnaces have been a popular heating method for decades, and high-efficiency furnaces are slowly taking over the market.
Many people wonder whether these new furnaces are worth the investment and if they make a substantial difference in the home. While some have already made the switch, others wonder what the fuss is all about. If you’re in the latter group, you can learn more about high-efficiency gas furnaces and their benefits below.
A furnace is a heating system that uses fuel, electricity or a combination of both to push heat through the home. Furnaces are often installed as part of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system but can also exist separately from your cooling unit. Furnaces use natural gas, propane or oil as an energy source and convert these materials into heat so you can stay warm during the colder seasons.
High-efficiency furnaces take heating your home to the next level. They require less energy and are better at keeping your home in a comfortable temperature range than a traditional furnace model. Traditional furnaces also rely on a pilot light, which is a tiny blue flame that ignites the natural gas, propane or oil to produce heat. High-efficiency furnaces don’t use a pilot light and instead light the burners directly. This process saves energy and reduces overall costs.
Measuring the efficiency of a furnace is done through an efficiency rating system (AFUE). This system measures how capable a furnace is of turning fuel into energy. Ratings are given in percentiles. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 85% can turn 85% of its energy consumption into heat. The other 15% is used up during the heating process or escapes outdoors and doesn’t contribute to the home’s heating.
The minimum standard-efficiency furnace rating is as low as 78%. High-efficiency furnaces have an annualized fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating ranging from 90-98.5%, meaning they don’t need to use as much energy to heat the home efficiently. The less energy used during the heating process, the less you spend on your utility bill.
High-efficiency furnaces perform better in comparison to the standard. They consume less energy and save you money on heating costs so you can live comfortably in your home.
When you start shopping for a furnace, you’ll come across three different types during your search. The efficiency of your furnace matters, and each furnace type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to understand what each can offer before making a purchase.
A simple-stage furnace is the simplest version on the market. They only have an “on” or an “off” setting, rather than low, medium or high. The simplicity of these models means they cost less initially, but with limited settings, they often come with large temperature fluctuations.
It might take some time for the furnace to start heating your home. If your ideal temperature is set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a single-stage furnace might not kick on until the interior temperature reaches 66 degrees Fahrenheit. They may also cut off at around 74 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve the set temperature on your thermostat. This fluctuation can increase the amount you spend heating your home monthly, which can slowly add up.
Rather than just an “on” or “off” switch, a two-stage furnace allows you to switch between low and high settings. This already makes it more efficient than a single-stage furnace since you have more temperature control. It’s also easier to keep a sustainable temperature in the home. Setting your thermostat to 70 degrees Fahrenheit means your two-stage furnace might wait to start up until the interior temperature reaches approximately 67 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will shut off once it has heated the home to 70 or 71 degrees Fahrenheit.
The additional settings and increased control mean it costs more than a single-stage furnace, but you’ll spend less on your utility bill each month.
A variable-speed furnace boasts the best temperature control and highest efficiency, so you can adjust your home’s temperature to your comfort level without spending too much money. There are more settings to use, which means your interior temperature will only vary by a degree or two compared to your thermostat setting.
These furnaces have the highest price point, but they use significantly less fuel. You’ll spend less on your monthly heating bill, so the efficiency of a variable-speed furnace will pay for itself.
A furnace is meant to heat your home, but there are many other things the right furnace can do for you. A high-efficiency furnace for your home offers several benefits, some of which include:
High-efficiency furnaces offer so much more for your home than a standard furnace. The numerous benefits make up for the price, and with their efficient performance and reduced energy consumption, you’ll find that you’re saving more money when it comes time to start up your heating system.
Buying a furnace is the best way to keep your home warm and comfortable when the outdoor temperature drops. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind before you make your purchase:
Staying warm during the colder seasons is a must for every family. Choosing the right energy company ensures you’re spending each chilly day in a warm, comfortable environment. Shipley Energy has been in business for over 90 years, bringing comfort to families across the Northeast. Our friendly and knowledgeable team can get you powered up and ready to go any day of the year with our 24/7 service options.