3 Reasons To Consider A High-Efficiency Furnace

You can divide most modern gas furnaces into two broad categories: standard efficiency or high-efficiency. Standard efficiency furnaces must meet Department of Energy (DOE) regulations, which require them to maintain an 80% or higher efficiency. In real terms, this value means that 80% of your fuel goes into heating your home while 20% vents to the environment as waste heat.

The definition for high-efficiency is slightly murkier, but they're typically condensing models with much higher AFUE ratings. These furnaces may substantially beat standard efficiency models on energy usage, but they often cost more and have specialized installation requirements. If you're unsure which is suitable for your home, here are three reasons to consider a high-efficiency model.

1. You're a Long-Term Resident

High-efficiency HVAC equipment trades lower operating costs for a larger upfront price. These models cost more to purchase, and you may need to pay more for installation if you're replacing a standard efficiency model. These higher installation costs typically come from replacing old metal exhaust flues with newer PVC pipes.

If you're only living in your home for a short time, the reduced energy costs may not make up for the substantial initial investment. On the other hand, you may see significant gains over the long term. You should do the math yourself to determine if the cost savings make sense, but it's generally true that you'll see some savings if you stay in your home for the entire expected lifespan of your furnace.

2. You Expect Rising Utility Costs

Your local gas costs will be the primary factor determining how much you'll save by upgrading to a high-efficiency model. While moving from an 80% model to a 90% model may not seem like a huge step up, it can make a substantial difference if you expect your utility costs to increase in the future. Many utility companies will announce price hikes in advance, so an efficient model can help you avoid these costs.

In general, a higher efficiency furnace will mean your long-term operating costs will be more predictable, and you'll be less vulnerable to changes in fuel costs. If you're concerned about how utility costs will impact your household budget, a high-efficiency furnace can be an excellent way to hedge for the future.

3. You Want Increased Comfort

Some of the highest efficiency furnaces can also make your home more comfortable and provide more consistent temperatures in the winter. These models typically include multi-stage blowers and burners, allowing the furnace to do more than turn itself on or off. These furnaces can run in a low heat mode under warmer conditions, saving energy and keeping your home's interior temperature more even.

While comfort is a subjective and personal choice, it's worth keeping these benefits in mind when selecting your furnace. If you're also looking for a way to bring down your long-term costs, going with a high-efficiency, multi-stage model can be an excellent way to check all of your furnace boxes. 

Contact a furnace replacement service for more information.