Choosing an energy-efficient furnace for our region is a good choice, since our winters can be long and cold. A furnace with a high efficiency rating will cost more initially, but over time, the cost gradually will be recovered each time you use it. With measures of energy efficiency, the U.S. Department of Energy helps make it easier to separate an energy-efficient appliance from one that’s an energy waster.
All HVAC equipment, including furnaces, have to display their energy efficiency ratings. Fuel-burning furnaces are rated by their annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE. The minimum currently stands at 80 percent, but systems are available that reach as high as 98 percent efficiency. In the spring of May 2013, the minimum standard will rise to 95 percent for the Northern half of the United States
If you decide to choose a high-efficiency furnace — AFUE 90 percent or higher — your winter heating bills will go down. Some of the new technology not only lowers fuel and electricity consumption, but also increases indoor comfort.
Condensing furnaces have secondary heat exchangers that harvest the heat from the flue gases. Furnaces with stainless steel heat exchangers use the fuel more efficiently, as do units equipped with sealed combustion chambers. Some energy-efficient furnaces combine electronic circuitry and the thermostat to adjust the amount of fuel delivered based on interior conditions, ramping up operation only when the situation demands it.
Furnaces whose blowers have variable-speed motors, also known as electronically commutated motors (ECMs) perform more efficiently because these motors use less electricity than the standard single-speed motor. An ECM increases your comfort by usually running more slowly and continuously. They start and stop slowly and you’ll never feel that blast of air coming from the ducts. The continuous distribution of air warms your rooms more evenly, while also providing better air filtration.
If you’re searching for an energy-efficient furnace before winter starts, contact Overland Park Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided quality HVAC services to greater Kansas City since 1983, and can help you select a furnace that delivers the efficiency you need to be comfortable throughout the heating season.
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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