How Do I Choose a Replacement Furnace?

The average lifespan of a furnace is approximately 15 – 20 years. A lot goes into the decision to replace your current furnace system with a new one. A reputable contractor will be able to help you determine what type would best suit your needs now and in the future, as well as offer advice on which brands are most reliable without breaking the bank.

When choosing a replacement for an old gas furnace, it’s essential to consider energy efficiency. According to EnergyStar, “a 2013 survey found that more than 80% of homeowners were willing to pay more for an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace, despite its higher initial purchase price.” This demonstrates that consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with operating costs and power consumption when making purchases.

If you’re looking to save on your monthly energy bill, consider the following key terms when shopping for a new system.

– AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency): This is similar to miles per gallon in cars. The higher the AFUE, the less fuel you will operate it. Note: Natural gas furnaces typically have better AFUE than oil or propane.

– EER (Energy Efficiency Rating): A score that rates how efficient a product is at converting input energy into sound output energy—a ratio of BTU’s produced versus watts of electricity consumed. The higher the EER, the more efficient it is and therefore requires less operating power and costs less money over time to affordably heat your home.

– SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): This measures the cooling efficiency of your air conditioner during the summer months. The higher this number, the more energy-efficient it is, which will ultimately lower operating costs over time affordably cool your home.

– AFUE / Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency divided by EER or SEER: Most furnaces are now rated with both an AFUE and either an EER or SEER rating. When these two ratings are combined, it makes for a quick comparison between systems since you only have to calculate one number.

Low output capacity may result in inadequate heating capabilities sufficient to keep you comfortable year-round without that “hot spot” at floor level—the primary cause for being cold on your feet. It’s a good idea to keep the capacity of your new furnace at least 20 – 30% higher than the heating requirements for your home based on size and insulation, as well as local climate conditions (heating degree days).

When considering the type of system you’ll need, it comes down to gas or electric. Many factors play into which will be best for your home.

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