Make the most of your investment when shopping for a furnace. Choosing a system with unique, high-performance features impacts not just your bottom line; these features also dictate how comfortable your home is and how long the system lasts. The key to ensuring home comfort and lasting equipment lies in choosing advanced features that provide options in terms of operating speeds, while also improving safety and efficiency. When shopping for a furnace, here’s what you should look for:
- A two-stage gas valve – Standard furnaces operate at one speed, high, a feature that offers little by way of energy savings. A furnace with a two-stage valve adjusts how much natural gas it consumes, saving energy during times of the season when temperatures are mild.
- A variable-speed air handler – While the two-stage gas valve adjusts fuel consumption, the variable-speed air handler adjust delivery of heated air. As a result, it’s able to meet the home’s heating load on a minute-by-minute basis, never wasting energy. Operating at lower speeds continuously, this feature extends the air handler’s service life, creating even temperatures throughout the home, energy savings and improved air filtration.
- Sealed combustion – Without sealed combustion, a furnace loses energy through the chimney or venting, and draws inside air into the unit for combustion. Sealed combustion systems offer multiple benefits, including using a dedicated air-supply pipe to draw air from the outside only, which results in very little lost energy, greater efficiency, and better humidified indoor air.
- Condensing technology – With a second heat exchanger, condensing furnaces use all of the heat generated in the first heat exchanger, instead of wasting a portion, by capturing energy for use in the second heat exchanger.
- Demand ignition – Older systems with pilot lights wasted energy; the flame consumed fuel 24/7. Systems with demand ignition, however, consume fuel only when the furnace cycles on, calling the burners into action. Look for alternative features such as an intermittent igniter, hot-surface ignition or a direct-spark option.
If shopping for a furnace is on your to-do list this season, enlist the help of the professionals at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning. We’re happy to help our neighbors throughout the San Joaquin Valley.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock