The gas furnace you are replacing in your Greater Kansas City area home is probably 15 to 20 years old. Understand all your options as you choose a new gas furnace so you can make an informed comparison between traditional furnaces and newer, condensing gas furnaces.
The accepted measure of efficient operation in furnaces is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating system. Your old unit probably squeaked by on 55 to 70 percent AFUE, which wasted a third or more of your fuel and the money it took to purchase it.
At the low end of efficiency for new furnaces today are models with the legal minimum, AFUE 78 percent. They have electronic ignition (saving fuel formerly wasted on pilot lights), a single-speed blower and a steel tube heat exchanger. Exhaust gases leave through natural convection.
A mid-grade unit at 80 to 83 percent AFUE shares many of the same features with a less-efficient gas furnace:
- Electronic ignition
- Single- or variable-speed blower
- Single- or two-stage furnace
- Aluminized heat exchanger
Again, natural convection safely exhausts combustion gases away.
Best: Condensing Gas Furnaces
Today’s condensing gas furnace climb to an astounding 98.2 percent AFUE, meaning nearly every bit of energy available in natural gas or propane fuel is burned as usable heat. This is achieved by capturing the exhaust gases from combustion and letting those gases warm a second heat exchanger. Heat extraction is so complete that most exhaust gases condense, returning to a liquid state, and drain off.
Look for these features of highly efficient units:
- Energy Star-certified
- Condensing furnace
- Variable-speed blower
- Electronic ignition
- Sealed combustion chamber
- Aluminized main heat exchanger
- Single-, two-stage or modulating furnace
- Secondary stainless heat exchanger for condensing flue gases
A new gas furnace for your Kansas City area home is a major investment you will live with for at least a dozen years and hopefully, much longer. To achieve the highest energy efficiency, save the most on your fuel bills, and keep your family reliably warm and comfortable, install a high-efficiency condensing gas furnace.
For professional guidance in selecting the best unit for your needs, please contact us at Overland Park Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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