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Your Furnace: How Efficient Should It Be?

Of course, efficiency matters when choosing a new furnace for your Fresno area home – but there are trade-offs to think about. Highly efficient heating systems (with 90-97 percent efficiency ratings) have a higher purchase price. Since you won’t be relying upon home heating like someone from the Northeast U.S. would, paying a premium for super-high efficiency may not be your biggest concern. As an educated consumer, you’ll want to weigh the following factors regarding a new furnace:

  • Operating costs, calculated by adding the fuel (usually natural gas) cost plus the electricity to run the blower and control system.
  • Purchase price.
  • Installation complexity/cost.
  • Comfort, efficiency and safety features.
  • Emissions or eco-friendliness.
  • Reliability. The true dependability of the latest heating technology may be somewhat untested in real-life situations and may cost more to repair. Certain models, even better-known ones, may have a bad track record. The length and limitations of each warranty is also a consideration when rating reliability.

All these factors may weigh into your heating equipment purchase decision to varying degrees. Ask your contractor for advice as you narrow down heating system choices.

Efficiency Ratings

Furnace efficiency is shown by the AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating. The higher that AFUE percentage, the more heat you’ll get from each therm of gas, and the lower the emissions of the system. You’ll pay more for greater efficiency, but you’ll be paid back over time with lower energy bills. Payback times will be longer in our milder climate and also depend on:

  • AFUE fuel-use efficiency of the furnace equipment, as mentioned.
  • Electrical energy consumption for controls.
  • The energy efficiency (level of insulation, air leaks) of your home. Make home-efficiency improvements if needed before deciding on a furnace.
  • Utility company rates.
  • Any special installation requirements for specific models, such as venting changes needed in the house.
  • Duct-sealing costs, if needed. Heat loss through your duct system can waste up to 40 percent of your heated air, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Energy.

For assistance in selecting the best heating equipment and efficiency level for your San Joaquin Valley home – plus expert installation – contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).