The winds of winter are just around the corner and this is when you realise that your home furnace needs a replacement! There is a significant amount of thought which goes into buying a furnace. A few major factors would be the efficiency, fuel utilisation, power consumption and size. When thought through, your new furnace could keep you perfectly warm throughout the winter, and stay light on your monthly electricity bills! One thing to keep in mind is to get the maximum efficient which is affordable for you.
Here are a few tips you could consider before making your purchase.
- Get an appropriately sized furnace
Having a bigger house may require you to get a furnace which will be a little on the higher price range. First and foremost, have a well known contractor calculate the Manual J Load (with recent technology, this can be done under a minute!), measured in tons or BTU’s. Make sure they take into account each square foot and even the windows.
Do take note- if the furnace system is too large or small, it will be unable to heat your house efficiently, and it may soon burn out.
- Choose your most suited burner type
Comfort and efficiency are at a trade-off when it comes to burner types. There are three main types-
- Single Stage: The burner can either be fully on, or off. It gives consistent amount of heat, and its efficiency is at its peak.
- Dual Stage: The burner when on, can either have a high mode or low mode. You can regulate between both manually. On cool days, the low mode will help keep your house moderately warm.
- Modulating: The name is quite self explanatory; this burner can be regulated as required for maximum comfort. The same cannot be said of the efficiency.
- Pick the right zoning system
Zones are areas of your home which you would distinguish from the others when you consider heating those areas. You would naturally like most heat in areas where you spend most time such as the living room. Zoning saves energy consumed, which reduces your bills. You could also opt for shutting off the heat supply to an unused guest room in your abode. It directs heat appropriately and completely within (and around) the zones. This also avoids random hot and cold areas (takes more energy) which would arise if you did not have a zooming system installed.
- Get a blower type which will suit your comfort requirements
Just like the regulator of our fans, getting the right blower type will help maximise your comfort. There are three types
- Single speed- there is not much of a choice here, just on or off.
- Multi speed- much like a fan regulator, there are three or four speeds to choose from.
- Variable speed- you could vary it to the perfect amount, under a certain range that is!
- Type of fuel
There are different types you could opt from
- Natural Gas- This is the most sought after one, as it is most economical. Natural gas furnace installation is quick and the safest.
- Oil/Propane Gas- An alternative to those who don’t have gas lines linked to their homes, oil could be a tad more expensive. It is also a little messier than natural gas furnaces. The price may vary depending on availability of the gas.
- Electrical furnace- since it runs purely on electricity, it is most expensive. It consumes a large amount of power. Nevertheless, it is a cleaner alternative to the others.
- Heat pump- Increasing in popularity, this one. It acts as an air conditioner in the summer too!
- Choose a furnace coming with a long term warranty
Most furnaces have a warranty of 5-10 years on specific parts of the system. Make sure to get a warranty on the heat exchanger or heat pump. Ask for refrigerant and labor warranty too. It is noticed that higher end furnaces, have longer termed warranties, which could prove useful in the longer run.
Don’t always opt for the lowest priced furnace, after all, this is your home you are buying it for- a good furnace is bound to keep you warm for many winters to come.