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Essential Tips for Buying a Furnace

With summer winding down, it’s a good idea to look toward fall and issues of home comfort for the cooler seasons. While some homeowners might be thinking about furnace maintenance, others might be looking into investing in a new one. If it’s time to for you to replace an old model or maybe purchase one for a new build, there are several key issues to be aware of when shopping. Cassel Home Comfort has put together a list of essential tips to remember before investing in a new model.

Efficiency – It is always a good idea to choose the most efficient furnace that you can afford. Fortunately, modern furnaces have to meet minimum efficiency standards in order to comply with safety regulations. Efficiency is measured by how much energy used by the furnace is converted into heating a home. It is measured by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). Minimum efficiency furnaces must reach at least 80 percent AFUE in order to comply, while the top modulating gas furnace reaches 97 percent AFUE.

More Information on AFUE

System – Central air systems come in two different options; either a split system or a packaged system. A split system is the more common of two, which consists of a condensing unit that sits outside and a furnace and coil placed inside a basement or crawlspace. Packaged systems contain the heating and cooling component in one outdoor unit. These are ideal for homes without the extra space needed for the inside component of a split system.

Fuel Source – There are several fuel options available for furnaces, but some are dictated by where your house is located and what is available. The most common is a gas furnace, which runs off natural gas and is the most economical of the types available. Homes where gas lines aren’t available might look into an oil or propane furnace. These units are more expensive to operate and require more room for storage. Oil and propane are also not as good for the environment, but are viable options – especially for older homes and homes in rural areas. An electric furnace is another alternative to gas, but it also more expensive to run. Electric units create heat from electricity, which can make a huge impact on your utility bill.

Heat Pump – A heat pump might be an option if you live in an area that experiences mild winters. Heat pumps are powered by electricity, but convert heat from outside air so use significantly less energy than an electric furnace. They provide sufficient heat for climates that stay above 45 degrees. Heat pumps are also very effective cooling systems in the summer.

More Facts About Heat Pumps

Variable Speed Blowers – There are two different furnace blowers on the market; the variable speed and the fixed-speed. The fixed-speed is not very efficient. It runs quickly and doesn’t always provide a consistent temperature throughout the home. Variable speed blowers “vary” the speed of the conditioned air as it is distributed throughout your home. This ensures that the air is delivered at a more consistent temperature and that the unit operates quietly (compared to the on/off fixed-speed blower).

Sizing – It is essential that the furnace you install is the correct size for your home. A system that is either too big or too small will constantly be running or could break down prematurely. A reputable contractor will perform what is called a load calculation to determine the size of furnace that you will need. This takes into account the square footage of the home, the insulation, number of windows and more. It gives an accurate framework for tabulating the appropriate furnace size.

Do I Need A New Furnace?

When you decide that you are ready for a new furnace, make sure that you do the proper research and have an informed framework. Remember that Cassel Home Comfort specializes in furnace replacement and repair. We can help you with load calculation, brand selection and installation. Give us a call at (217) 866-1596 today and we’ll schedule an appointment!

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