5 Tips for Choosing the Best Forced-Air Furnace for Your Home
Are you looking to get a new furnace? Whether you’re trying to switch from your central cooling system or just looking to upgrade your current system, a forced-air furnace may be the furnace for you. As opposed to a central heating system, a forced-air furnace is a heating and cooling system that uses ducts to take air from inside your home, heat it, and then return it as warmer air back into your home. Many people choose this option, as it can be an efficient way to achieve your desired home temperature.
But how do you choose the best forced-air furnace? There are many ways to make sure you choose wisely when making this decision. Professional HVAC service companies like Entek can guide you toward making the right decision, but you can also do a little research on your own. With some helpful knowledge from professionals, you can be on your way to a perfectly heated home in no time. Here are a few tips to help you out.
Find Out the AFUE Rating
When it comes to knowing how efficient your furnace will be, the AFUE rating plays a big role. The AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) is a way to measure the energy efficiency of your furnace. Knowing what that means beforehand will help you choose the best forced-air furnace for your home.
Your furnace should display a percentage that signifies how much fuel it can convert to usable heat. This percentage can range from 30 to 100, so if your furnace has an AFUE of 85 percent, that means that 85 percent of that fuel is being transferred into heat, while the remaining 15 percent is wasted through the exhaust, insufficient burners, or air leaks. A high-efficiency furnace will have an AFUE rating over 90 percent, while a more standard furnace will have an AFUE of around 80 percent. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the system will be, so while you’re searching for your forced-air furnace, try to find one that is on the higher side.
Know What Type of Fuel You Want to Use
All furnaces need some kind of fuel to run, and that fuel type can vary between gas, oil, and electric. Knowing which fuel type will work the best for you depends on your house, your budget, and how efficient you’d like your furnace to be.
The most common furnace is a gas-fueled furnace, as gas is easily available and less expensive than the alternatives to run. Gas-fueled furnaces are known to be the most energy-efficient and the best option for heating your home quickly. But not every home can access the gas hookups required to use this type of furnace.
If your home can’t host a gas furnace, an electric furnace or an oil furnace will be your best choice. An oil or propane furnace has a slightly higher operation cost, but it’s still a good choice because it’s such a powerful source of heat. An electrical or oil furnace must use electricity to create heat, which means it usually costs much more to operate. If you have the option to use a gas furnace, it’d probably be a great choice for you.
Get the Right-Sized Furnace for Your Home
Not all furnaces are built the same. Some are made to heat larger areas, while others do better heating smaller homes. But which one is the right size for your house? Having the correct-sized furnace could be a key factor in keeping your energy costs at a reasonable level.
One thing you want to be sure of when picking a forced-air furnace is that the heat output matches the size of your home. Figure out what your home’s total square footage is before you start looking for a new furnace. Next, you’ll want to know what climate you live in, and what the BTU (British Thermal Unit) number is for that climate.
In the Vancouver, WA, area, the climate is oceanic and the BTU for that would be 40–50. Lastly, you’ll multiply your homes square footage by the climate BTU for your area, and the resulting number will let you know how large of a furnace you need to buy. For instance, if your home is 2,000 square feet and you live in a climate that requires 40 BTUs per square foot, your furnace will need to have at least an 80,000 heat-output BTU.
2,000 x 40 = 80,000
If you already have a furnace in your home, you can skip this whole process and just look at your furnace for the listed BTU number. Either way, you’ll need to know this information to choose the best forced-air furnace for your home.
Look for Furnaces with Unique and Purposeful Features
Sometimes, a furnace will come with special features that make it more efficient or give you more options for heating. Knowing what those features are beforehand will prevent you from missing out on them later.
One feature that can come with a furnace is a variable-speed blower. Most furnaces have a blower fan that runs at a constant speed or is only able to turn on or off. With a variable-speed blower, you can increase or decrease the speed of the fan as you wish, which could improve costs and humidity control. You could also get a furnace with multi-stage heating levels, meaning you can choose between single-stage, two-stage, or variable-stage furnaces. These options give you more control over the capacity your furnace will run at and may increase ventilation in your home.
Consult with a Professional
When it comes to choosing the best forced-air furnace for your home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Not many people are familiar with the workings of a furnace or how to properly maintain or install it. That’s why it’s best to consult a professional heating and cooling service company to make sure you purchase the right furnace for your home.
A professional, like those at Entek, can determine which furnace will be able to heat your home effectively and efficiently. Our professionals have worked on tons of furnace units before, and we have valuable experience that can aid you in making a decision. Creating this relationship with an HVAC company early on will provide a trusting contact for when you need maintenance completed on your unit.
These few tips will guide you toward making the best choice for your forced-air furnace purchase. If you still need help making a decision or are looking for a professional heating specialist to service your furnace in the Vancouver, Washington, area, Entek is a great option. With over 70 years in the HVAC service industry, our staff can make your furnace purchase an easy experience, including information on factory rebates, incentive programs, and more.