If you are wondering what you should know before replacing a furnace or perhaps even how often should you replace your furnace, there are a few important things to consider to ensure that you make the best decision for your home and budget.
Let’s take a look at what all you need to know when you are looking toward the replacement of an old, damaged, or malfunctioning furnace.
Types of Furnaces
There are several types of furnaces available on the market, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The most common types of furnaces include:
These are the most popular type of furnace in the United States, as they are energy efficient and cost-effective to operate. They use natural gas or propane as a fuel source and are available in various efficiencies and sizes.
These furnaces use oil as a fuel source and are less common than gas furnaces. They are typically more expensive to operate than gas furnaces and can be more expensive to install but they offer a cheaper energy alternative to their electric counterparts.
These furnaces use electricity as a power source and are typically less expensive to install than gas or oil furnaces. However, they are more expensive to operate and may not be as efficient as other types of furnaces.
These are not exactly furnaces but they provide both heating and cooling and are becoming increasingly popular, especially in milder climates. They can be more efficient than a traditional furnace and can lower the overall operating costs, but they require a bit more maintenance.
Size and Layout of Your Home
When choosing a new furnace, it’s important to select a unit that is appropriately sized for your home. If the furnace is too small, it will not be able to effectively heat your home during cold weather. On the other hand, if it’s too large, it will consume more energy than necessary, driving up your utility bills.
Additionally, the layout of your home can affect the efficiency of your furnace. For example, if your home has several levels or is poorly insulated, you may require a larger furnace to compensate for the increased heating needs.
How to Choose the Correct Size Furnace
Determining the appropriate size furnace for your home can be a bit tricky. It depends on several factors such as the square footage of your living space, the insulation level of your home, the number of windows and doors, the number of people living in the home, and your local climate.
A general rule of thumb is that you’ll need about 40 to 45 BTUs (British Thermal Units) per square foot of living space for a gas furnace and about 25 to 30 BTUs per square foot for an oil furnace.
But it’s important to note that these are just estimates and that you should have a professional HVAC technician perform a load calculation on your home to determine the correct furnace size for your specific needs.
What is a Load Calculation?
A load calculation considers all of the factors that influence the heating needs of your home, such as the size and layout of your living space, the insulation level, the number of windows and doors, and your local climate.
The technician will use industry-standard software to calculate the number of BTUs needed to effectively heat your home. Based on the results of this calculation, they’ll be able to recommend a furnace that is appropriately sized for your home.
What Effect Does the Wrong Size Furnace Have on a Home?
Keep in mind that oversizing or under sizing your furnace can have a big impact on your energy bills and comfort. An oversized furnace will cycle on and off more frequently, leading to higher energy costs and a shorter lifespan of the equipment.
Whereas an undersized furnace may not be able to keep up with the heating needs of your home, resulting in cold spots and increased wear and tear on the equipment.
The best way to know what size furnace you need is by getting a professional load calculation done. This will provide you with an accurate and specific recommendation for your home.
Having an HVAC expert come in to evaluate your needs will help to ensure you get the right equipment for the job and allow you an opportunity to ask any questions you may want to be answered.
Furnace Efficiency Rating
When shopping for a new furnace, you’ll want to pay attention to the unit’s annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. This rating tells you how efficiently the furnace converts fuel into heat. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace. Generally, gas furnaces have AFUE ratings between 89 and 98 percent, and oil furnaces have ratings between 83 and 90 percent.
Professional Assessment and Installation
While it may be tempting to try and install your new furnace yourself, it’s highly recommended that you have a professional HVAC technician assess your home’s heating needs and install the new furnace.
Not only will they have the experience and knowledge to properly size and install the unit, but they’ll also be able to identify and address any other issues with your home’s heating system that may be impacting its performance.
Plan Your Budget
Furnace replacement can be a significant expense, and you’ll want to be prepared to budget accordingly. In addition to the cost of the unit itself, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of professional installation, any necessary permits, and any additional upgrades or improvements that may be needed for your home’s heating system.
Additionally, if you’re opting for a higher-efficiency furnace, the upfront cost may be higher, but the long-term savings on your energy bills will usually pay off in the long run.
Consider all these factors, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the best furnace for your home and budget. Remember, the furnace replacement is a big decision and should be done by a professional with your specific needs in mind.