Furnace Efficiency: Look For These Features In Your Replacement

Posted On: February 02, 2013

For homeowners looking to increase furnace efficiency, selecting certain features offers significant return on investment, leading to lower energy bills and more. If you’re set to upgrade the furnace in your Metro-East home, consider these features commonly utilized in high-efficiency furnaces to attain an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 90 percent or higher.

  • Two-stage gas valve – Standard-efficiency furnaces utilize a single-stage gas valve to regulate the flow of fuel into the furnace, powering the production of heat. This results is an “all or nothing” type of operation, with the valve releasing fuel at a predetermined rate, and then shutting down when the furnace cycles off. Two-stage gas valves allow increased furnace efficiency, because the unit controls the flow of fuel, lowering how much is utilized when the home’s heating load is lower, and ramping up fuel consumption as the load increases.
  • Variable-speed air handler – Similar to the two-stage gas valve, the variable-speed air handler adjusts the rate of air delivery into the home to meet your temperature demands, most often running at a low, almost continuous speed. Standard air handlers operate at a single speed: high.
  • Two heat exchangers – Most often referred to as a condensing furnace, systems with two heat exchangers avoid heat loss, capturing wasted heat in the condensing gases released by the first heat exchanger, and using it to generate more heat in the second heat exchanger.
  • Electronic pilot light – Considerable energy is wasted by the standard, always-running pilot utilized in older furnaces. In high-efficiency furnaces, manufacturers now use a pilot light that consumes fuel on demand only, lighting up only when the furnace cycles on. Then it shuts off, no longer consuming fuel.
  • Sealed combustion – Also increasing safety, systems with sealed combustion increase furnace efficiency by using outdoor air for combustion, instead of using already-heated indoor air as standard-efficiency furnaces do.

Find out how you can benefit from choosing these features to advance furnace efficiency. Contact Ernst Heating & Cooling today for more information or to schedule a free home consultation. We’ve served homeowners in the Metro-East area since 1951.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about furnace efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

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