February 19, 2015


Purchasing a new furnace should be based on energy efficiency and price.

The energy efficiency of new furnaces available in the market is forty percent better compared to that of old furnaces. Energy efficient furnaces can cover their own expenses within a few years and helps homeowners save money.

Understanding Energy Efficiency

The fuel utilization efficiency rating is the first thing to check as it shows the percentage of fuel converted into heat. Ratings of modern furnaces are between 78 percent and 96 percent. The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) and the Energy Star label should also be checked. These require an efficiency of at least 90 percent. It allows homeowners to become eligible for a tax credit of at least $1,500 up to around 30 percent of the price and installation cost of the furnace. Additional rebates may also be available for CEE-approved models.

Increasing Efficiency of Furnaces

Furnaces with an efficiency rating of over 90 percent are capable of condensing and reusing water vapor, allowing them to save fuel. Energy can also be saved by using variable speed fan motors. These upgrades can make a furnace quite expensive, so they are practical only when the furnace is used in exceptionally cold locations. Energy and cost savings may become insignificant in areas with milder climates. It is important to select an appropriately-sized furnace. An oversized furnace is not energy efficient, is noisy, and deteriorates faster. Furnaces should be installed in well-insulated and well-conditioned locations with space suitable for airflow and access.

Available Options

• Wood pellet furnaces are capable of burning biomass efficiently. These furnaces are perfect for rural homes with a good supply of biomass and wood pallets but have no access to heating oil or natural gas lines. However, pellet furnaces produce more pollution compared to other furnaces and are not as cost-effective.

• Electric furnaces are capable of reaching 100 percent efficiency. However, they are costly to maintain due to the high cost of electricity. Since conventional coal-fired electric plants are 30 percent efficient, directly converting natural gas into heat is more environment-friendly.

• Solar-powered electric furnaces are the best way to use electricity in producing heat. However, the solar arrays used for these furnaces are costly. Backup power is also necessary since sunlight may be in short supply during the winter when heat is needed the most.

Geothermal furnaces are highly-efficient renewable options offering zero emissions. They extract underground heat that is inside the house. While they are free, the initial cost of installing one may be prohibitive.

St. Louis Furnace Installation

Highly-efficient furnaces can pay for themselves after a short period of time, which reduces utility expenses. Furnaces using renewable resources are also appealing options in certain areas or situations. Call Scott-Lee Heating Company at (314) 200-0788 to decide on the best furnace for your needs.