In our blog earlier this week we gave you five things to think about when deciding whether or not to replace your furnace. Today we're going to address the first question many homeowners have when they're ready for a new unit, "What features should I consider when buying a new furnace?"
Five features to consider when buying a new furnace
- Fuel type. First and foremost, you have to consider what kind of furnace you want to invest in. Furnaces can get their fuel from natural gas, electricity or oil, but natural gas furnaces are by far the most popular in the St. Louis area due to the fuel's wide availability and inexpensiveness when compared to the other two fuel types. Air source heat pumps are also gaining in popularity because of how energy-efficient they are, especially when combined with a backup heating source like a gas furnace.
- Efficiency rating. The efficiency rating of your unit is one of the most important things you'll want to consider when buying a new furnace. That's because higher efficiency furnaces will cost much less to operate than lower efficiency models. Because higher AFUE ratings come with higher price tags, the efficiency rating you choose often comes down to what best fits your budget.
- Two stage vs. single stage. Two stage furnaces are furnaces that operate at two capacities: high and low. This allows your furnace to only exert the amount of energy that's needed to heat your home depending on how cold it is outside. Two stage furnaces have two distinct advantages over single stage models: they are more energy efficient and they prevent large temperature swings in your home, often keeping temperature changes within a few degrees.
- Variable vs. single speed. Variable speed furnaces have blower motors that operate at a wide range of speeds, depending on how much air flow is needed in your home. This feature has much of the same benefits of a two stage furnace and is also a great match with a zoning system (below).
- Zoned vs. not zoned. Zoning systems allow you to section your house into different "zones" that are controlled by separate thermostats. This is one of the best ways to address hot and cold spots in your home and puts you in complete control of your home comfort and energy consumption.
If you have any questions about buying a new furnace, or if you'd like a heating and cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis area HVAC company.