January 4, 2022
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Furnace
If you are purchasing a new home or have lived in your home for some time, you will eventually need to address your home’s heating and cooling needs. Purchasing a furnace is a sizable investment. You want to get the biggest bang for your buck. This means that you need a furnace that is efficient and reliable.
The challenge is that since you will only buy a furnace once or twice during your homeownership, you may not know where to begin. There are several factors to consider when purchasing a furnace. This complete guide is designed to lay out everything you should consider when purchasing a furnace for your home and your family’s needs.
Types of Furnaces
Furnace technology has advanced drastically in recent years. Purchasing a new furnace means that you will be purchasing a unit that will be energy efficient, provide even heating, and offer the most value for your investment.
The three basic furnace types are single-stage, two-stage, and modulating heating systems. It is good for you to become familiar with these three basic types of furnaces before making a purchase.
Most people are familiar with a single-stage furnace. This furnace has one flame and can maintain a temperature within a few degrees of the thermostat setting. When the unit starts, you will hear it rev up. There may be a few moments of cool air blowing through the vents before the warm air is distributed through the home. Once your home’s thermostat reads the proper temperature, it shuts down. The cycle will then start again. This is a simple system that provides the basics for heating a home.
In the past 15 years, two-stage heating systems have become popular. There are two sizes of flames in this system type. There is a larger flame for when exterior temperatures are cold and a smaller flame for mild external temperature. A two-stage system provides steady heat instead of switching on and off as a single-stage system does. The cycles run longer, providing continual warmth and greater comfort. With this system, your home should stay at about one degree of its set temperature all the time.
Your third option is a modulating heat unit. This option is going to keep you the most comfortable. Your home will be about 0.2 degrees from the thermostat setting at all times. These furnaces have a micromanaged flame that automatically adjusts the flame size in controlled increments to provide even heating.
Finding the Right Size Furnace for Your Home
Now that you have a basic understanding of the types of furnaces out there, the next step is to determine what size furnace is best for your home. How much energy do you need your furnace to produce to heat your home adequately?
Several factors will need to be considered when determining the output capacity of your furnace. Our HVAC professionals will be happy to work with you, walk through your home, and give you a rough idea of the furnace size you will need based on different influencers.
Estimating your basic heating needs is a straightforward process. The first thing our HVAC professionals from Scott-Lee Heating Company will consider is the square footage of your home. We will then look at the climate in the area where you live.
It is no surprise that your furnace will need to have higher output if you live in Minnesota as opposed to Florida. You want to determine your heating factor, which is your home’s BTUs. A BTU is a measurement of the heat that leaves your home or heat coming into your home. Most manufacturers will rate their furnaces based on BTUH, which is British thermal units per hour. This concept may sound confusing, but it is straightforward. Our technicians will be happy to walk you through it.
Gas Versus Electric Furnaces
Furnaces can run off natural gas, oil, propane, electricity, and other fuel sources. The most common furnaces are gas and electric furnaces. When deciding between an electric or gas furnace, you will want to factor in safety, effectiveness, compatibility, and more.
The gas furnace will take in cold air, clean it with the air filter, heat it, and then push it through your home’s ductwork using the blower. The heated air will eventually cool down and will be returned to the furnace. The process will then start again.
The main benefit of a gas furnace is that it is inexpensive to operate. Natural gas prices have been low for a long time, and they are expected to stay low for many years to come. However, if your home does not have a gas line, then you will need to factor in the cost of installing a gas line before purchasing a gas furnace.
An electric furnace produces heat using electric heating elements instead of gas burners. You can compare how an electric furnace works to how your toaster oven works. When you push the switch, the electric conductors inside the toaster heat up and transfer the heat to your bread.
Inside an electric furnace, heating coils will heat up when you activate the thermostat. Air is blown over the heating coils and then distributed throughout your home. While electric furnaces are less expensive to purchase up front, they are more costly to operate because electricity prices are constantly rising. Another downside of an electric furnace is that you would also lose heat if a winter storm were to knock out your electricity.
Some local electric utilities provide discounts for those who use electric furnaces. This could offset some of the operating costs of using an electric unit. Electric units are more durable and will typically last 20 percent longer than their gas counterparts. They require less maintenance.
An additional factor to consider is the furnace’s fuel efficiency. Furnaces are given a rating called Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). This rating is the equivalent of the MPG rating given to automobiles. The higher the rating number, the more energy-efficient the unit will be.
A high-efficiency unit will have between 90% and 97% AFUE. They may cost more, but they will be your best choice for energy efficiency in the long run. Less efficient models will have a rating of between 80% and 83%.
Trusted Professionals to Help You Make the Right Decisions
At Scott-Lee Heating Company, we understand that purchasing a furnace is a significant investment. Our team of experienced HVAC professionals has worked in this field for more than 40 years. We can help you evaluate your current furnace and determine if a replacement or repairs are in order. We can also walk you through the pros and cons of purchasing different models and unit sizes.
Whether you need AC maintenance, installation, or repair, furnace replacement, emergency services, or heat pump maintenance, Scott-Lee Heating Company is the company you should call. We do residential and commercial work in the St. Louis area. Contact Scott-Lee Heating Company today. Let us show you why our services have been sought after for more than four decades. Our team is excited to help you make your home a more comfortable place to live.