Replacing a furnace? How to choose an energy-efficient system

(BPT) – If it’s time to replace your furnace, you may be wondering if it’s worth the extra investment to buy an energy-efficient system. Or, you may be unsure how to choose an energy-efficient system for your home.

“Energy-efficient heating systems can substantially lower your fuel costs over the lifetime of the system, so it’s well worth investing the time and money to find just the right one,” says Chip Wade, HGTV(R) expert. “Depending on where you live, an energy-efficient gas furnace can be between 12 and 16 percent more efficient than standard models, according to ENERGY STAR.”

Wade offers some guidance for choosing an energy-efficient heating system that’s right for your home:

* The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) measures how efficiently a gas furnace converts fuel into energy. Generally, the higher the AFUE rating of a furnace the more energy efficient it will be. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 percent means that same percentage of fuel gets turned into heat, and only 10 percent is lost through the chimney and elsewhere. You can find the AFUE rating on the yellow Energy Guide label on the furnace.

* Be sure to right-size your furnace. A unit that’s too small for your home will have to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature, and will use more fuel. A unit that’s too big may also use more fuel than is actually required to adequately heat your home, and may also result in uneven temperatures throughout the house.

* Look for models like the the YORK(R) Affinity(TM) Series modulating gas furnace that offer efficiency-enhancing features. For example, the Affinity furnaces have a modulating burner that continuously adjusts heating levels in small increments to match the precise degree of comfort you need. Leading-edge technology also tailors the operation of the furnace to match the climate of your location. The system also self-monitors to make set-up and maintenance faster and easier.

* Choose a gas furnace that offers sealed combustion. These furnaces draw air from outside and mix it with the fuel at a controlled rate. This maximizes the amount of heat the furnace can generate from the fuel. Most quality energy-efficient furnaces will have this feature.

* Pay attention to the warranty and be sure you understand just what it covers and for how long. Furnaces are a big investment, so it’s important to choose one that gives you the best warranty. For example, Affinity furnaces offer a Complete Assurance Warranty Pledge that promises if the heat exchanger fails in the first 10 years, the company will provide the option to replace the furnace.

Finally, before you invest in an energy-efficient furnace make sure your house will work with the furnace to maximize its efficiency. Seal air leaks throughout the home, especially at windows and doors, and throughout duct work. Make sure you have the correct amount and type of insulation in your home for your climate. Have the rest of your home’s HVAC system inspected to ensure there are no problems that could hinder the efficient operation of your new furnace.

To learn more about energy-efficient furnaces, visit


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