Installing a new furnace in your home isn't just an expense – it's also an investment and an opportunity. Older HVAC systems tend to be much less efficient directly from the factory, and many furnaces lose efficiency as they age. Even well-maintained systems can't operate at peak performance forever, and that loss of efficiency translates to higher utility bills for your household.
While installing a new furnace is all but guaranteed to provide your home with more efficient heating, there are ways you can realize even more significant savings. This article will discuss three considerations that can impact the efficiency of your new HVAC installation so you can maximize its value and energy efficiency while minimizing your home's environmental impact.
1. AFUE Rating
The AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating is your one-stop shop to determine the baseline efficiency of a gas or oil furnace. AFUE is an easy-to-understand metric that you can translate directly into dollars and cents. Put simply, you can think of a furnace's AFUE rating as the number of cents that go directly into heating your home for every dollar you spend on fuel.
In other words, a 92% AFUE furnace will directly translate 92 cents out of every dollar into heat for your home. Higher efficiency means you can spend less on your utility bills while still receiving the same amount of heating power from your furnace. Installing a furnace with a higher AFUE will provide you with an immediate reduction in your heating costs.
2. Blower Motor Type
Even gas and oil furnaces still need electricity. Your furnace uses electricity to power its blower motor, control board, and various other electronic parts. Most of these components draw very little power, but the blower motor can be significant. Many furnaces use permanent split capacitor (PSC) motors which simply turn on and off with nothing in between.
Higher-efficiency furnaces include electronically commutated motors (ECMs) with many possible speeds. These motors are inherently more efficient and save energy by running at lower speeds when necessary. Purchasing a furnace with an ECM may be an excellent way to reduce your electricity bills in addition to saving on your fuel costs.
3. Ductwork Losses
The most efficient furnace will still end up costing significant amounts of money to run if you lose heat to unconditioned spaces. Old or leaky ducts can potentially reduce your furnace's efficiency, creating cold spots in your home and driving up your utility bills. If you're installing a new furnace, it's always a good idea to have your contractor perform a leakage test on your ductwork.
Addressing ductwork leakage while also choosing a high-efficiency furnace can mean taking your home to a whole new level of energy savings. Although you'll need to spend a little more money upfront, you'll reap the rewards over the long term with lower energy bills and a more comfortable home.