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Take the Guesswork Out of Choosing a Furnace

Dec. 20, 2011

When you need to purchase a new furnace the choices can be overwhelming, but when armed with basic information, you can make the choice that best fits your needs and your budget. One of the first things you should do is schedule a consultation with a professional so that you have expert guidance.

Things you need to consider include:

  • Gas or electric? This is usually pretty easy; most people will stick with the type currently installed. However, there are good reasons to consider switching if you’re unhappy with the type you have.
    • Gas furnaces are less expensive, but are also less efficient and can produce carbon monoxide or other fumes.
    • Electric furnaces are 100% efficient, cleaner, and don’t generate fumes, but are more expensive.
  • What size do I need? This can be tricky; too small and your home won’t be warm enough, too large and you will be paying too much as well as losing efficiency. This is where your consultation with us comes in— we’ll help you find the optimal size for your needs.
  • How efficient should it be? A furnace’s initial cost rises proportionately with its efficiency, but a high-efficiency furnace will most likely save you money in the long run. Efficiency will be discussed in more detail below.
  • Are the brand and model of good quality? A less expensive furnace may cost you more over time. It’s better to go with a brand you can trust.

A furnace’s efficiency rating lets you know how much of the energy it uses is turned into heat for your home.  The higher, the better.  A furnace that is 90% efficient sends 90% of the energy it uses back to you as heat; 10% escapes through the ventilation system.

Gas furnaces have varying levels of efficiency; look for the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating to compare models.  Older furnaces have about 60-70% efficiency, but current laws set the minimum efficiency of new gas furnaces at 78%. High efficiency gas furnaces can be up to 97% efficient.  Electric furnaces are 100% efficient because all of the electricity they use is converted to heat.

As stated above, the cost of a new furnace will rise proportionately with its efficiency, but don’t let this turn you away from high-efficiency furnaces. Remember a furnace will last 15 years or more; if that furnace is 20% more efficient than a cheaper model, the cost difference will be negated in the long term, and the more expensive model can actually save you money.

A furnace is a fairly expensive long-term commitment to your home’s comfort.  You want to make the best decision you can based on efficiency, size, and cost; call us to help.

Consumerreports.org

http://www.msue.msu.edu

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Thornton & Grooms
24565 Hallwood Ct
Farmington Hills, MI 48335
(248) 644-7810
MI Plumbing Lic. #: 8106666
MI Contractors Lic. #: 7100232
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