6 Tips for Finding the Best Gas Furnace for Your Home
There are so many great things about colder weather and it’s easy to get out and enjoy the cold with your winter activities: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, or maybe even a stroll in the brisk air. Whatever your favorite outdoor winter activity is, however, going inside and getting cozy afterward is a must.
So what happens when it’s time to replace your furnace? Choosing the best gas furnace for your house can be daunting, especially if it’s a sudden, unplanned replacement. Replacing an old furnace can’t be postponed, and it’s important to choose a good furnace that will last you a long time, is cost-efficient, filters well, and is the correct size for your home. Here are six tips to help you in your search to find the best gas furnace for your home.
1. Know How a Gas Furnace Works
It is helpful to start with a basic understanding of how your gas furnace works—this will help you understand the importance of buying a quality unit for your home and how to keep it running and in good condition. There are many parts to the gas furnace, and maintaining it properly will help with the longevity of your furnace as well as keep up the efficiency.
First, the natural gas is ignited in the burner. Then the flames heat up a metal heat exchanger and exhaust out of the flue. Once heated, the heat exchanger transfers the heat to the incoming air. The heated air is then forced into the ductwork by the furnace’s blower and distributed throughout the home. Warm air then fills each room, and the colder air throughout the house is sucked back into the return ducts and returned to the furnace. This process repeats itself, pushing heated air into each room and removing the colder air.
Each step of the heating process needs to work properly, or the furnace won’t heat your house efficiently and, in many cases, not heat your house at all.
2. Opt for Efficiency
Looking at the AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency, is one of the most important metrics when replacing your furnace. The higher the AFUE number, the more energy-efficient the furnace is, and this will aid you in lowering your monthly heating bills.
High-efficiency furnaces cost more up-front than a regular furnace, but they make more sense if you’re looking to keep costs down long-term. Furnace efficiency ranges from 92 to 98.5 percent, so investing in a high-efficiency furnace in climates with many months of cold weather will recoup the difference quickly as well as continue saving you money on a monthly basis year after year.
While natural gas is less expensive than some options, part of the efficiency of a higher AFUE model is the savings on your electric bill. A less efficient model may cost over $300 a year in electricity even though gas prices are low, but a more efficient model can cost as low as $50 a year to run. It’s easy to see how quickly savings add up when choosing a more energy-efficient furnace.
3. Home Size Matters
Choosing the correct size furnace for your home is very important. This is where having an HVAC contractor come take a look is not only helpful but also key to heating your house properly. Installing a furnace that is too small won’t heat the entire house, and you’ll overspend on your heating bill because the furnace runs on high at all times.
Installing a gas furnace that’s too large for your home can waste fuel and still cost you extra money. Having an oversized furnace can also potentially create issues with circulation if your unit doesn’t have enough space.
To figure out the correct size, you need to match the heat output with the size of your home. This is measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units. In addition to the square footage, an HVAC engineer will incorporate factors like ceiling height, number of windows, and insulation quality.
Remember that this furnace will be heating your home for the next 15 to 20 years, so it’s important to install the correct size. Note that it’s not always best to choose a furnace based on the current size you already have. If you’ve had issues in the past with heating your home or maybe your heating bills have been consistently higher than the average in your location, you may not have the correct-sized gas furnace currently installed in your home.
4. Don’t Ignore the Filtration System
Installing a gas furnace with a good furnace filter will help protect your home’s heating system. The filter removes dust particles and debris from the air that passes through the system. Leaving the dust and dirt can damage components of the furnace, which will shorten the life span and increase maintenance costs.
Because the filters prevent particles from entering and damaging the furnace, it allows the furnace to perform at its most efficient. Regularly replacing the filter is also necessary so it doesn’t get blocked and continues to prevent dirt, dust, and allergens from entering the furnace and damaging it.
As well as protecting your furnace, good filtration will help the air quality for you and your family members. Whether anyone has allergies, asthma, or other lung-related issues or not, a good quality filter provides the best possible environment.
5. You Can Choose How Noisy Your New Furnace Is
Let’s be realistic. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll be running your furnace often—if not consistently—and noise level is definitely an important factor. A two-stage furnace will produce less noise than a single-stage furnace, as a two-stage furnace can fire at either a low level or a high level. A variable-speed or modulating-speed furnace will be the quietest as they can operate at unlimited speeds.
A modulating gas furnace can be adjusted very precisely. This type of gas furnace can regulate output with 1 percent increases and allows the system to adjust how much gas is needed by the minute. Because of the precise increases and not wasting fuel, you’ll, in turn, greatly reduce heating costs and noise and increase the comfort throughout your home.
6. Even Heating
Having even heating and maintaining a comfortable temperature is very important. Choosing a furnace blower that best suits your needs will provide maximum comfort and reduce costs significantly. The two main furnace blower varieties are multi-speed or variable-speed.
A multi-speed blower will have a pre-selected speed for each operation at installation, and the blower will operate at that speed when the associated operation is required. For example, during the winter, a pre-selected speed is set for heat and during the summer, a pre-selected speed is set for cool air.
A variable-speed blower corresponds to a specific air flow rate. The furnace will monitor flow rates and temperatures, and will adjust the blower operation to maintain the best operating conditions and provide a maintained temperature.
There are many different aspects to choosing the best gas furnace for your home, and Entek’s trained professionals are happy to help find the best fit for your home. We’re the longest-serving Carrier provider in the Pacific Northwest and can also help find ways to improve your home’s overall energy efficiency, saving you even more money in energy costs.
Please feel free to reach out and request an appointment. We can help you find your gas furnace solution, help optimize your home’s energy efficiency, and help reduce your cost of installing a new furnace through rebates or available tax credits. We look forward to helping you!