What to Do When It’s Time For a Gas Furnace Installation
Replacing your old furnace with a new one can go a long way towards decreasing your heating bill and offsetting rising energy prices. Money aside, modern furnaces pollute less and increase your comfort by producing heat more steadily. If your furnace breaks to the point where it is no longer repairable, it will be necessary for a new gas furnace installation.
So what factors matter when choosing a new furnace?
Size is one of the most important things to consider. The size of the furnace needs to fit your needs. A furnace that is too small will not be able to keep your house warm during the cold winter months.
To avoid that possibility, the furnaces in many homes are often larger than necessary. There are a number of drawbacks to this: first, initial purchasing and gas furnace installation is more expensive for larger furnaces. In addition, a furnace that is too large will have to cycle off and on much more frequently, putting extra wear and tear on its components, as well as wasting energy. It may even cause the temperature in your house to vary uncomfortably. Larger furnaces can even require larger ducts, which can be an additional cost.
To be sure of a correct sizing and a proper gas furnace installation, choose a reputable contractor who will take the time to calculate your heating needs according to recognized industry standards. Such calculations should take into account the size, construction, and overall design of your house, as well as the climate of the area.
Once gas furnace installation is complete, it is important to maintain it according to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance. This will extend the life of the furnace and help you to avoid paying for costly repairs or replacements.
Efficiency also matters
Natural gas is the most commonly-used heating fuel and most heating furnaces use gas. How efficiently a furnace can convert gas into heat is reported by an annual fuel-utilization-efficiency (AFUE) rating. This is measured as a percentage: the higher the number, the more heat the furnace produces for each amount of gas it burns. This is better for more than just your wallet: more efficient furnaces generate fewer emissions, making them better for the environment as well.
Over the years, furnaces have steadily become more efficient. Furnaces made in the 70s had ratings of about 65%, while some newer models today can achieve close to 97% efficiency.
Generally, the price of a furnace increases as its efficiency increases. A furnace with a 90% efficiency rating may cost a thousand dollars more than a similarly-sized furnace with an 80% AFUE rating. However, the sticker price is never the whole story: you can often recover the additional cost through lower gas bills over the lifespan of the furnace, especially in colder areas of the country.
When you are selecting a new gas furnace for installation, talk to the contractors about your options. Insist that they select a range of models with differing efficiencies and calculate the annual operating cost of each model based on fuel use. This calculation can be made to a reasonable degree of accuracy by plugging in information on each model’s AFUE rating, local gas prices, and different characteristics of your home into computer programs written to simulate these factors. In addition, make sure that all price quotes include the cost of installing any additional venting that will be needed for the furnaces.
You can also ask the contractors for their opinions about the models you are considering: is the model relatively new, and thus has not been tested much yet? If the model is older, how often does it have to be repaired? Has the contractor noticed any reliability problems with it?
Asking these questions can help insure that you have the best experience with your gas furnace installation.