If your furnace is getting old, acting up and unable to keep up with heating demand, it’s time to start shopping for a furnace replacement. Before you jump on the first model you see, consider these three points:
Your existing furnace may or may not be the ideal size, which is why it’s important to ask a contractor to conduct load calculations with Manual J, the industry standard software for sizing a residential furnace. These calculations take a number of factors into account when determining the size your furnace replacement, including square footage, home layout and orientation, insulation levels, air infiltration rates, window layout, occupancy and more.
Before you have a heating load calculation performed, it may be worthwhile to make home energy improvements. A tighter home with better insulation could qualify for a smaller furnace replacement, saving you money both in the initial purchase price and operational costs.
Natural gas is the most popular furnace fuel source, but it’s not your only option. Research other fuel sources, such as electricity, propane, oil and wood pellets. Compare availability, cost and environmental impact of each fuel source so you can make the most informed decision possible. One factor in favor of natural gas is if your home is already outfitted and connected for that fuel source.
The two largest players that impact the initial purchase price of a new furnace are size and efficiency. Load calculations are the key to determining the right size, but the efficiency you choose is more flexible. You might opt for an 80 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) model because the purchase price is lower.
However, if you choose a 95 percent AFUE or higher furnace replacement, your heating bills will be 15 percent lower. Over the next decade or two that you operate your furnace, the energy savings can clearly be substantial. Work with a contractor to help figure out how long the payback period will be if you choose to make the extra investment in a high-efficiency furnace.
With these three considerations in mind, you’re ready to shop for a furnace replacement as an educated consumer. For help finding the perfect unit, please contact the professionals at Gentry Heating Inc. today. We have proudly served Asheville and Western North Carolina since 1963.
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