energyguideIf you have an older unit without a rating or the information has been removed, you can follow some guidelines to get a rough estimate of the efficiency rating for your furnace. You can identify low-effiency furnaces by the use of a continuous pilot light. These units tend to be between 56 to 70 percent efficient. Mid-range models will have a fan that controls the airflow and an electronic ignition. Efficiency for these systems is between 80 and 83 percent. High-efficiency furnaces use two heat exchangers. Condensing units remove water from exhaust gas and then send the gas through the second exchanger for greater efficiency. You can expect 90 to 98.5 percent efficiency.

There are three other factors of importance that should be considered with the purchase of a new furnace, including:

The cost of the fuel used for energy: Electric furnaces are very efficient, but the cost of electricity does not make them the best heating choice. Condensing furnaces are usually 10 percent higher in efficiency ratings than non-condensing units. While these systems are more expensive in the initial purchase, you can save a significant amount in fuel costs over the unit’s life span. If you live in an area with very cold winters, condensing models are recommended.

Figure for potential heat loss through duct work: Take into consideration other portions of your homes heating system. Ducts running through the attic areas can lose up to 35 percent of their heating efficiency. Ratings can’t be factored for this loss because duct work in homes varies.

Pending legislation: Homeowners should consider the suggestions of the Department of Energy when choosing a new furnace. Beginning in May of 2013, the DOE has put forward several new standards for furnace efficiency that are pending in legislation. Homeowners could see some or all of the recommended changes, which include:

• Non-weatherized gas furnaces must be 80 percent efficient.
• Non-weatherized mobile home furnaces must be 80 percent efficient.
• Non-weatherized oil furnaces must be 83 percent efficient.
• Weatherized gas furnaces must be 81 percent efficient.
• Weatherized oil furnaces must be 78 percent efficient.

And, if you live in one of the northern states:

• All gas furnaces installed must be 90 percent efficient.

Call today for an HVAC professional at Holsinger Heating & Cooling to help you choose the best system for your needs, 913-557-9111.


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