Are you wondering about the energy efficiency of your furnace?
If yes, you aren’t the only one.
As furnaces age and the cost of natural gas and electricity rise, it’s difficult to know exactly how much money you’re wasting.
The big question, however, is “how old is your furnace?”
There have been multiple technological advances in the heating and cooling industry over the past 20 years, and your old furnace may not be as energy efficient as a new one.
Even if it adequately heats the home, it may be costing more to run than a new (high efficiency) furnace would cost you.
Main Differences Between Old And New Furnaces
Although the overall operations of furnaces haven’t really changed, newer furnaces are able to heat your home more efficiently and evenly than older furnaces.
One reason for this is a technological advance is the ability to blow more air over the heat exchanger.
Sometimes, older furnaces use electricity to heat the home, whereas natural gas is actually the most efficient and least expensive form of energy for a furnace.
If you opt for a new gas furnace you could notice a significant difference in cost.
However, we fully understand that not everyone has access to natural gas.
A professional HVAC installer can install a gas furnace or electrical furnace that is much more energy efficient than the older systems that are in many homes throughout St. Paul and the rest of the Twin Cities metro.
What Do The The Technological Advances Mean?
There have been several technological advances to make furnaces more efficient.
Variable Speed Handler
As for the new technologies, the variable speed blower motor is one of the most significant.
Unlike the old air handlers/furnaces, which had a single speed, variable speed means that the air handler operates at a speed that meets the airflow requirements.
This saves energy and the system isn’t as noisy as it could be.
Dual-stage heating is another new technology, and means the furnace has a high and low setting.
By default, the furnace will operate on the low setting except on days when it is very cold outside.
If it is cold and the low setting is struggling to keep up, the high setting will kick in.
This technology saves money because the furnace isn’t operating at the same speed all the time, nor is the furnace stuck on a setting that has a difficult time keeping up with the environment.
High efficiency furnaces vent through PVC pipe rather than through a metal chimney or metal chimney liner.
The exhaust on a high efficiency furnace isnt hot enough to vent out of a metal chimney so the pvc is needed.
Is Your Furnace Energy Efficient?
If you are wondering whether your current furnace is energy efficient or not, one way to tell is to schedule maintenance.
There could be things wrong with your furnace that cause it to consume more energy than it needs to.
Identifying Any Issues
If anything is wrong, those issues can be repaired so that the furnace is more efficient.
An inspection and maintenance should be performed no matter what.
Another way to tell is the age – if your furnace is 15 to 20 years old, it might be time to replace it.
The lifespan of a furnace usually doesn’t surpass 20 years before it starts leaking carbon monoxide. Quite often, when a furnace is over 20 years old the parts become less available and very expensive! Sometimes we see a simple part costing half the price of a new system! Crazy!
The third way is to look at the AFUE rating, which number can be found in the cabinet.
This rating tells you how efficient the furnace is at converting fuel into heat.
Many furnaces have a rating of 78%, but this was increased in 2015 to 81%.
For a furnace to have the Energy Star label, it must have an AFUE rating of at least 90%.
If your spending more and more on heating your home, and your furnace is 15-20 years old then it might be time for a new one.
You should definitely have it checked out so that we can determine if there are any issues, and fix them.