When choosing a new furnace for your home it is important to consider several factors before deciding which furnace best fits your needs. Many homeowners will consider only one factor: price. Although the cost of installing a new furnace and managing your budget are certainly important considerations, it shouldn’t be the only one. Along with brand, size, warranty coverage and choosing the right contractor to do the job, one should consider their comfort needs as well as the requirements of the home when choosing a new furnace for your home.
An over-sized or under-sized furnace will not satisfy your comfort needs nor that of the home. Just because your current home has a 125,000 BTU furnace in place, does not necessarily mean that your new furnace needs to be rated for 125,000 BTUs of heating. Iv’e found many older homes with over-sized furnaces. Many of these furnaces were installed when the home was built, when energy consumption and energy efficiency ratings were not so much in the public’s mind as they are today. Home builders were often of the mentality that “bigger was better” and weren’t concerned so much with energy efficiency as they were with making sure the furnace was large enough to heat the home. Too big of a furnace will not only result in poor performance and higher than necessary utility bills, but often they will be noisy and more prone to breakdowns due to frequent cycling.
Take for example a home that was built in 1979 that still has the original furnace in place. Say that home is a 2500 square foot rancher with a basement. It may have a 115,000 BTU furnace that at the time it was installed was properly sized for the home. But over the years the home has had some significant upgrades made to it that have improved the overall efficiency of the home itself. Insulation has been added to the attic and walls. New energy star rated windows and storm doors have been installed. Leaks have been sealed to prevent outdoor air infiltration, and the original unfinished basement is now finished. That original 115,000 BTU furnace, or perhaps a “new” 115,000 BTU furnace that was installed in 1998, is likely now over-sized for the home.
So how does one determine what size furnace is now needed when choosing a new furnace for your home ? Do we just guess and hope we’re right? Of course not. The only proper way to determine correctly what is needed is by performing a load calculation on the home.
As for the new furnace itself, there are now many more choices to consider when selecting a furnace to install in your home. Today’s homeowners can choose from a wide variety of brands and models offering many more available features that were not available 20 or 30 years ago. From single stage furnaces, multi-stage or even super efficient modulating furnaces with high efficiency variable speed blowers, when choosing a new furnace for your home there are far more options available today than ever before.
I always recommend choosing a furnace with a variable speed circulating blower. These motors are not only quieter than a standard fixed or multi-speed motor, they are far superior in performance and use far less electricity than a standard motor. They will enhance the performance of any furnace, and even help improve the efficiency and performance of the home’s central air conditioning system if the home is equipped with with an AC system. The variable speed motor’s constant fan setting allows you to continually circulate air throughout the home while operating at a lower (and quieter) CFM airflow rate, thus helping to eliminate air stratification (hot and cold spots) within the home, improve air filtration and enhance the performance of any indoor air quality devices such as whole house humidifiers and air purifiers that are connected to the home’s HVAC system.
The Amana AMVC model two-stage varaible speed gas furnace (www.amana-hac.com) is one of my favorite’s offering superb performance along with quiet and dependable operation.
So when choosing a new furnace for your home , consider all your options before making your decision. After all, it’s your comfort that is at stake.
For more information regarding new furnaces or any other home comfort products, please feel free to contact us. We provide free in-home estimates for all new equipment installations.