The weather in Utah is finally starting to feel more like the winter season, which means you have likely turned up that furnace. If it’s not working like it should, right now is the time to get a new one installed to avoid the risk that your furnace will quit while the temperatures are near or below freezing. Use this guide to find the ideal furnace for your home.
It can be difficult to heed the advice to “take your time” choosing a furnace when you’re piling on blankets and wearing three layers of clothes after your current furnace quits (which is why you should have it inspected and plan ahead if you think you might need a new one soon), but it’s important to avoid making quick decisions versus smart, informed decisions.
When you are reviewing all the choices, there are a few items you should be focused on:
While many homeowners focus on the price of a new furnace, a more adequate measure of the value of your furnace is its efficiency. There are several options for furnace efficiency—80% AFUE (which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) is the lowest, with other options at or above 90% AFUE. AFUE is a measure of how much energy from the furnace is actually used to heat the home, versus the amount that goes out the chimney. If you think of it in terms of dollars, an 80% AFUE furnace would use 80 cents of each dollar spent on energy actually heating the home, while a 95% AFUE furnace uses 95 cents of each dollar.
Older furnaces are likely in the range of 65 to 70% AFUE, which means you’re spending a ton of money from every dollar you pay for heating costs that is almost literally disappearing into thin air. If you’re going to be in your house for several more years, it would benefit you to pay for the more efficient system.
Just like you wouldn’t want to purchase a vehicle that seats two people for your family of 10, you don’t want a furnace that is the wrong size for your home. Most people think of getting the wrong size in terms of having one that is too small, but a furnace that is too large can also be inefficient. Talk to your heating and cooling contractor for information about how to calculate the correct size for your home and your needs.
With all the technology available today, you want to make sure your new furnace is compatible with things like programmable thermostats. These devices can provide heating and cooling only during hours when you are home, which is more efficient and less costly. Some technologies can even learn your habits for an even higher level of efficiency.
Other air quality considerations to take into account when replacing a furnace is the need for things like high-quality air filters, especially for homes where you or one of your family members is allergic or asthmatic, or particularly sensitive to dust, viruses, and bacteria. You can also review the need for humidifiers in the dry Utah climate for a more comfortable and healthy environment in your home.
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