Upgrading Your Furnace? Features Metro-East Homeowners Should Consider

Posted On: November 11, 2012

Upgrading your furnace is an investment. Not only does your family depend on that furnace to stay comfortable in winter, but the quality of your furnace can also add to your house’s value. How do you know what features to choose when upgrading your furnace?

If you choose energy-efficient features, you get a more comfortable home and savings on your energy bills. Here are some features to look for:

  • A variable-speed air handler. A conventional air handler works by blowing hot air at full force for a short time, shutting off, and then repeating the process. A variable-speed air handler allows you to adjust the speed that air is blown. Not only does this save energy, but it also helps maintain a steadier, more comfortable home temperature, plus improved air filtration.
  • A two-stage gas valve. This kind of valve releases a higher level of gas when your furnace is first turned on in order to warm your house quickly. Once your house is at the set temperature, the valve drops the gas flow back to a lower level to maintain the temperature. This uses less gas than one-stage valves that are always firing full-blast.
  • A second heat exchanger. Most of the wasted energy from a furnace escapes your house in the form of exhaust gases. A second heat exchanger captures these gases and pulls heat from them, turning them into condensation. Little to no energy is wasted with these systems.
  • Sealed combustion. Combustion produces heat. It requires air to work. In low-efficiency furnaces, the air is drawn from the heated air of your home. That wastes the energy used to heat the air. A sealed combustion system draws air from outside, avoiding the wasted energy.

Many high-efficiency furnaces combine two or more of these features. As a result, they are able to achieve a 90 to 97 percent AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency), meaning that they use 90 to 97 percent of the fuel you pay for to heat your home.

For more information about upgrading your furnace or any other HVAC matters, contact Ernst Heating & Cooling. We’re proud to serve the Metro-East area.

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 upgrading your furnace and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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