This time of year in Minnesota we don’t take our furnaces for granted! But even the highest quality heating systems don’t last forever. The U.S. Department of Energy claims a furnace should last 15-30 years before needing replacement. (Of course, this varies by brand, furnace quality, and various other factors.) But even if your older unit is still kickin’, it might be worth considering replacement. There are some pretty convincing reasons why high-efficiency furnaces are worth the cost and we’ll explore those today.
Lower Your Energy Bills
One of the greatest benefits high-efficiency furnaces provide is cheaper energy bills. A high-efficiency rating means these heating systems need less fuel to heat your home. This could possibly save you thousands on utility costs in the long run.
Gas furnaces have a fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. This stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency and measures how well your furnace consumes natural gas for producing heat. The higher the rating, the more usable heat you’ll receive and the more efficient your unit will be.
Better Comfort in Your Home
Have you noticed that some rooms in your house are warmer than others? Do you feel like you need to continually adjust the thermostat to stay comfortable in any given area? If so, these might be signs that your furnace is losing its effectiveness.
A high-efficiency gas furnace is designed to deliver comfortable heat during all types of weather. The most efficient gas furnaces usually will have two heat exchangers, a sealed combustion chamber and a variable-speed blower. Instead of turning on at full blast constantly, the furnace is able to operate at a slower speed and supply more usable heat at steadier temperatures. This also means it will use less natural gas.
Improved Indoor Air Quality
High-efficiency gas furnaces are made with increased levels of air filtration to catch pollutants. This is especially helpful for those who live in areas that have high concentrations of dust and other contaminants.
More Space for Other Things
A new forced air furnace is also more space efficient because it is smaller, freeing up space for other things! A few months ago we came across an old gravity furnace; these date back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
They were originally designed to burn coal but later switched to burn oil or natural gas, and they are enormous! There are many reasons to upgrade from this “Octopus furnace” but gaining storage or liveable space is one obvious reason!
Less Noise from Your Furnace
Nearly all furnaces make noise when turned on or off, but if yours is making unexpected noises that get increasingly louder, this could be a warning sign that it’s time to explore a new system.
A high-efficiency gas furnace is generally much quieter than standard furnaces because it doesn’t have to work as hard. If you’re concerned about quiet operation, a two-stage furnace creates less noise because it can run at a lower speed.
A high-efficiency furnace installation is a substantial initial investment, but it may be well worth the price.
Installing a high-efficiency system can make you eligible for state and local tax credits, especially if you choose one that’s ENERGY STAR® qualified. A gas furnace that’s earned this certification must satisfy high standards for natural gas-to-heat use.
Many utility companies offer incentives with the purchase of a high-efficiency furnace. You’ll be able to enjoy these one-time rebates while also benefiting from savings on your heating bill every month, which may help offset the cost of the initial installment.
Better for the Environment
High-efficiency furnaces are a more planet-friendly solution for heating your home. They have a high energy efficiency rating that saves on natural gas fuel expenses while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Is This the Right Time?
Typically, furnace prices drop a bit in the spring when it starts to get warmer. Air conditioning units often go on sale in the fall when demand isn’t as high, and temps drop outside. A local HVAC company can help you determine what size you’ll need by doing a load calculation. The square footage of your home will determine what size furnace and/or air conditioner you need to heat or cool your space efficiently.
We’re Here to Help
As home inspectors, it is our responsibility to turn on a home’s heating systems using normal operating controls. We must describe the energy source and heating method, and report if it is in need of repair, does not operate, or is deemed inaccessible. We can provide you with very helpful information, but home inspectors are not HVAC technicians or experts. This is a very specialized field and we often recommend our clients consult an HVAC specialist.
If we can help with your next home inspection, please call (612) 440-8466 or click to schedule online. If you need a local HVAC resource, please visit our website to view our trusted referral partners.