Tips for Purchasing a New Furnace

What to Know Before You Buy

If you're in the market for a new furnace, there's some information you need to know before calling your Airflow representative.

Variable Speed

A furnace with variable-speed technology lets you take control of your comfort and energy bills. This feature ensures a home receives the precise amount of air required to keep a family comfortable. Besides providing exceptional comfort, this technology also saves homeowners money on their energy bills because the efficient variable-speed motors consume less electricity than standard furnace motors. Typical furnaces operating in the continuous fan mode consume 400 watts of energy - while some furnaces with this technology use only 60 to 80 watts.

Variable speed operation can also help control high humidity, reducing the chances of airborne mold growth and other indoor air quality problems. The continuous fan mode works well with indoor air quality products, such as filters, because it operates at a slower speed, allowing them to capture more contaminants.

Two-stage Heating

A furnace with two-stage heating can be a tremendous help when looking for that just-right temperature during the cold winter months. Furnaces with two-stage heating can reduce temperature swings in the home. Unlike traditional furnaces, which operate at their full heating capacity, two-stage furnaces are designed to operate like two separate furnaces and maintain more consistent comfort levels throughout a home.

Two-stage heating has many comfort advantages. The temperature inside a home should vary only a few degrees versus the larger temperature swings that are common with traditional furnaces. The first stage consists of the furnace running at about 68 percent of its heating capacity. A two-stage furnace will always start in the first stage and attempt to meet the heating demand. This reduced capacity is enough to warm a home on mild winter days. When temperatures drop, the furnace adjusts itself and enters the second stage to meet the demand for heat within the home.

High Efficiency

If you want to save money on your heating costs, consider purchasing a high efficiency furnace. They can help reduce your energy costs as well as conserve our natural resources. When selecting a furnace, pay close attention to the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The AFUE number represents how efficiently a furnace converts fuel to energy. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more energy-efficient or fuel-efficient the furnace. The U.S. government's minimum AFUE rating for a furnace is 78 percent.

It's also important to look for Energy Star products. This means the product meets the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) standards by using less energy, which reduces pollution. Energy Star products reduce energy use by 20-40 percent.

Quiet

If you want a quiet unit, you should look for a furnace that has the variable speed and/or two-stage features. Other things to look for include insulation in the blower section and enclosed burners. These items help keep sound levels to a minimum.

High Quality

If you want a high quality furnace, make sure it has earned the Good Housekeeping Seal. This reputable seal is a two-year limited warranty and is earned only after a product clears the review and evaluation process of the famous Good Housekeeping Institute. If a product bearing the seal proves to be defective within two years of purchase, Good Housekeeping will replace the product or refund the purchase price. Good Housekeeping is not responsible for installation.

Warranty

It's also important to look for a furnace that offers good warranties, such as a 20-year limited warranty on the heat exchanger and a 5-year limited warranty on all remaining covered components.

Accessories

Programmable or setback thermostats can be purchased separately. These thermostats make a big difference by delivering maximum comfort, efficiency, and energy savings. Programmable thermostats are used to achieve the temperatures you want throughout your home. For example, if you're going to be away, you can set the whole house at an energy-saving temperature to avoid heating an empty house. If you have programmable thermostats, you can program them to have your living areas comfortable when you arrive home.

Indoor air quality products that are installed as part of the system can make your home environment healthier. These products include high efficiency air cleaners, humidifiers, and ultra-violet lights. When replacing your furnace, it's a good idea to also consider the quality of air in your home, especially if you or anyone in your household suffers from allergies.

Zoning can drastically lower your heating costs. You won't have to heat or cool the whole house just to make one room comfortable. Zoning divides your home into separate comfort areas, which are heated or cooled based on your needs.