Monday, September 17, 2012

Choosing Comfort Features For Your Electric or Gas Furnace

In recent articles we discussed the pros and cons of choosing between gas and electric furnaces.  Of course there is not one clear winner with this issue for everyone.  Some like the monthly efficiency gas heat brings while others prefer to do away with the yearly maintenance and carbon monoxide risk with gas heating.  Whichever way you and your family lean on the issue once you have chosen which type of heating system you prefer there are more options to decide upon.  This article will focus on the details surrounding the furnace and are the same when talking about gas and electric heating for the home.

When considering the amount of money you are willing to spend on home heating you need to be realistic with some of the extras you are looking for and consider if they are realistic.  You are not necessarily going to get the top of the line quality with a mid-level budget when you are looking for high quality, lots of controls and a whisper quiet machine.

When looking at the quality of a furnace you are actually purchasing the number of years it will last and how it will perform during those years.  When picking a brand of furnace, look for a company that has a history of building reliable, quality appliances.  Spending a bit more on the system upfront may mean less cost down the road. Consider asking for free estimates from several installation companies and while they are in your home evaluating your current needs question them about certain brands and what they suggest and why. 

The next feature to give thought to is the efficiency of the home heating system.  A higher rated furnace will cost more initially but could save you money in the long run of owning the furnace. We can break furnace efficiency into two basic categories mid range and high range.  A mid range efficient furnace will offer the homeowner an efficiency rate of about eighty percent over a high range efficiency furnaces which offers as high as a ninety six percent rating.  

Comfort features add to the cost of a furnace and are the items that are not necessities but offer something extra that makes the system desirable over another.  One special feature is the option of a two speeds.  This allows the furnace to function on low and is substantially quieter. 

This is nice because it runs longer and has fewer start and stop cycles and allows for a more consistent temperature in the home. With two speeds the temperature swing is about two degrees where as a single speed the temperature variance is around four degrees. This also allows for better air circulation and keeps the warm air from settling at the ceiling.

Variable capacity is another option that provides comfort and efficiency.  The motor regulates the home heating needs and automatically adjusts the air speed and volume output.  This system is the most efficient heating and cooling option for your home.  A fan is also installed in this furnace option and is run throughout the summer to increase central air efficiency as well.

The noise level of the furnace is something that needs to be considered in depth especially in ranch homes where the homes heating and cooling systems are in ear shot of main living and sleeping quarters. There is not a standard rating for furnace noise so you will need to do extra research to determine this.

Purchasing a new furnace comes with an abundant amount of decisions.  The extras can add up quickly but it is important that homeowners realize a little more outlay out front can save money in maintenance bills and monthly heating costs.

Choosing Between A Gas and Electric Furnace

There are some home improvement choices that are difficult however purchasing a new furnace should not be.  This article will give you information on purchasing a new, energy efficient furnace for your home. This list will help serve as a guide of what you might want to look for when you are researching a new furnace for your home. 

The first decision to make is what type of furnace you will be purchasing. Will you be looking towards a gas or electric furnace?  This decision is often made easier when replacing an old unit as the duct work has been set for the one that is already in the house.  Your budget will need to increase if you are looking to convert from electric to gas or from gas to electric.  This is a personal decision as both methods provide energy efficient options and create the end goal; which is heat for your home.

Let us first take a look deeper into gas furnace systems.  When looking at a gas furnace it is important to point out that this option is more affordable than choosing to go with an electric furnace as a source of heat.  Of course this implies that a gas source is readily available and accessible.  It is important to point out that the downside to gas furnaces is the fumes related to burning fuel.  In a system that is well maintained the fumes generated are sent into an exchanger and then pushed through an exhaust fan out of the house.

When you have a gas furnace it is important to work in the cost of yearly maintenance.  With a gas system it is important to have the gas furnace system tuned up and checked out by a qualified furnace professional once a year before the season begins. They will check out the gas furnace system for holes, leaks or cracks.  A crack within a gas furnace system could lead to carbon monoxide seeping into your home which could prove to be deadly.

An electric furnace is the next option in home heating that the majority of homeowners choose.  Electric furnaces have a higher operating expense than gas furnaces however are generally safer as they do not use a flame and do not generate carbon monoxide.  Having an electric furnace rather than gas often proves to be a cleaner, safer way to heat your home.

The first and foremost decision for new construction or homeowners needing to replace their homes heating is to determine between gas and electric.  Many homes are equipped with systems currently but can be converted if desired.  It is important that owners weigh the pros and cons of both systems; the money spent on yearly maintenance for a gas furnace might be equal to the higher monthly bill of an electric furnace.  These are all cost verse savings estimates that need to be looked at when favoring one system over the other. 

Once this has been determined there are a number of other items that come into play and will be more dependent on the budget you have to outfit your home with a new furnace.  Options within the quality of the furnace, the furnaces efficiency, different control features and the noise the furnace produces. We will take a look more in-depth in another article in regards to the details of these features.