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Buying a High-Efficiency Furnace: Tips for Success

Dixie Somers

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A well-maintained furnace should last for 15 or 20 years, but there will come a point when this important piece of equipment needs to be replaced entirely. Choosing the perfect model is going to keep your energy bills at a reasonable level during the coldest months of the year. These few tips and tricks will help you find a great high-efficiency furnace for your home.

Determining the Right Size

Residential furnaces come in many different sizes, and choosing the wrong size could end up costing you quite a bit of money. As a general rule, homes that are in cooler climates should have furnaces that produce around 40 BTUs of energy per square foot of living space. In a moderate or warm climate, those BTUs can be halved. A local HVAC contractor can help you decide what size furnace your home needs.

Choosing a System Type

Most homes have split HVAC systems, but you might be using a packaged HVAC system if your home is smaller or there is limited indoor space. A split system has an outdoor condensing unit that is attached to an indoor furnace and coil. Packaged systems, on the other hand, have a single outdoor unit that houses all of that equipment in one place. No matter which type of system you decide on, you will most likely want to go with a furnace that runs off natural gas instead of propane or electricity.

Understanding Efficiency Ratings

Many of the most popular furnace models are given an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating before they are released to the public. This rating is determined by how much fuel is converted into usable heat every year. A furnace will generally be classified as energy-efficient if it has a rating above 90 percent. Those models use much less energy, but they are also a bigger initial investment.

A Look at Maintenance Costs

The durability of the furnace is another important variable to consider. Before purchasing a furnace, you should take a look at some third-party reviews to see which units seem to be the most reliable. Almost every homeowner will need to contact a furnace repair company like HomeSmart from Xcel Energy at least a few times over the years, but those emergency visits should be relatively rare.

Once your new furnace has been installed, you must keep it well-maintained if you want it to last for more than a decade. Most experts agree that modern furnaces should be serviced by a professional contractor at least once every six months to prevent serious damage and efficiency issues.


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