When it comes to replacing your furnace, the variety of options available can be confusing. Choosing the right furnace for your home goes beyond merely considering your budget. Use this guide to understand the factors you should consider when replacing your furnace in 2023.
The first part of purchasing the right furnace is ensuring that you’re getting a unit with the right heating capacity. While the square footage of your house is the starting point for determining that capacity, there are other variables you must consider. Your home’s construction and the materials involved can have a significant impact on your ability to heat it. Likewise, the amount of insulation you have is critical. Beyond this, the outdoor environment of the area where you live also affects the system’s efficiency. Even the height of your ceilings and the number of occupants in your residence can alter the equation.
Most importantly, of course, you need to factor in the efficiency of the furnace model you’re considering. For instance, if your space requires 35,000 BTUs to heat it and you’re thinking of buying a unit with a 90% AFUE rating, then you’ll actually need 39,000 BTUs to effectively heat your home.
Once you know how much heating capacity your home requires, you’ll need to start thinking through the other factors that will affect your system’s efficiency. The next characteristic to decide on is whether you want to go with a single- or dual-stage system.
Single-stage systems burn fuel at the same level all the time, effectively running on high when they’re on. In other words, they’re going to use the maximum amount of fuel and produce the maximum amount of heat with every heating cycle.
Dual-stage furnaces have a high and a low setting, allowing them to produce less heat when they’re only maintaining a temperature. Running on low uses less fuel, reducing your operating costs.
Dual-stage systems also use variable-speed fans. Like burners, circulating fans may either have a single-speed or a variable-speed motor. Variable-speed fans reduce the amount of air circulating during maintenance heating cycles. This also lowers your operating expense by reducing the amount of electricity the system’s consuming.
Furnaces come in models that use different forms of fuel. The cheapest way to replace your current furnace is to upgrade it with a furnace that uses the same kind of fuel. This avoids the need for any retrofitting or installing new fuel lines or storage facilities.
In the developed areas of Indianapolis, most homes are already outfitted with natural gas. This allows you to easily install a gas furnace. However, there are also options for furnaces that use propane, which has an exterior fuel tank that needs periodic refilling.
You’ll also see the option for electric furnaces, which operate much like an electric space heater on a much larger scale. Despite having 100% efficiency, they are the most expensive kind of heating system to run because of the amount of electricity they consume and the cost of this energy.
If you’re exploring the available options to replace your furnace, you may want to also consider that of a heat pump. Rather than burning fuel to create heat, it uses refrigerant to absorb heat from the outside air and bring it inside.
A heat pump is exceptionally efficient during mild weather, transferring as much as 300% more energy than it consumes. However, Indianapolis is prone to weather cold enough to make heat pumps inefficient, requiring a backup heating source.
This can be accomplished with a dual-fuel heat pump system, and it’s an excellent option. While all standard heat pumps come with an electric backup heater, that electric backup is expensive to run. A dual-fuel system has a standard gas furnace in place of the electric backup, allowing you to get the best of having both. The system will automatically switch to the furnace when the temperature gets cold enough to make the heat pump inefficient.
The final thing to consider is when to replace your furnace. Properly maintained systems should last 15 to 20 years, and if yours is in this range, you can get ahead of expensive repairs by planning a replacement.
Ideally, plan to replace your furnace in the spring or fall, between the busy summer and winter seasons. HVAC companies tend to have more scheduling availability during milder weather. Manufacturers also tend to offer the best deals during these seasons because fewer people are installing new systems. Finally, you’ll avoid having to replace your system as an emergency, allowing you more time to evaluate your options and reducing your stress during the process.
Work with the team that people around Indianapolis have trusted to keep their homes warm and comfortable since 2009. Our expert technicians provide both AC and heating installation, repair, and maintenance along with indoor air quality solutions and duct cleaning. To explore which furnace is best suited for your home and needs, call today and schedule a consultation with one of the NATE-certified technicians at Homesense Heating & Cooling.