Brrrrrr! It’s getting to be that time of year again – the time of year where you have to make sure you have a furnace that heats all parts of your home well. But, if you’re like most homeowners, you don’t spend all of your time reading about the latest furnaces and their technological innovations.
You probably only think about your furnace when it’s not working, or when you need a new one. Well we are here to help with our furnace buying guide, which will give you the basics so you can select the right furnace to buy for your home.
Important Facts & Terms to Know
So before you buy a furnace, it helps to know some of the industry jargon first. Here are a few:
AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency)
This stat tells you how much useful energy output is created in relation to overall energy output. For the more technical mind, this is measured as a percentage like so: 90 BTUs of useful heat for every 100 BTUs of natural gas input results in a 90% AFUE rating.
BTU (British Thermal Units)
This unit measures the heat content of fuel by showing how much energy is produced in one hour. BTUs measure the total output of a heating system, and the higher the number, the more intense the heat produced.
COP (Coefficient of Performance)
This number gives you a good idea of the efficiency of a furnace, when compared to a high-efficiency furnace. If you consider purchasing an electric heat pump, for example, it might show a COP of 3.5. For the sake of comparison, a gas furnace running at 90% efficiency has a COP of less than 1.0.
What to Look for in a Furnace
Now that you know a little more about important metrics for measuring a furnace’s efficiency, take a minute to learn some things to look for when purchasing one:
A furnace with too large of a capacity will cost more to operate because it will cycle on and off more often. If you’re unsure which size to purchase, ask your HVAC contractor to do a load calculation.
The “payoff period” is the time it takes for a high-efficiency furnace to offset the costs of purchasing a low-efficiency one. While high-efficiency furnaces cost more to install up front, they cost less over time. If you’re going to purchase a high-efficiency one, keep in mind the length of the payoff period.
Make sure you are getting the best price for your furnace. Shop around at local dealers and talk with as many people as you can. The bigger the picture of your understanding, the better decision you will make.
Thanks for taking the time to read this furnace buyer’s guide, and hopefully it helps you make a smarter purchase in the future!