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Points To Consider When Purchasing A Gas Furnace

Do you know what to ask when it's time to replace or upgrade your gas furnace? Most homeowners don't since it's something they may do only once or twice in their lifetime.

If you're thinking about a new furnace, the Trane Home Comfort Institute says there are many factors to consider, but here are five of the most important.

  1. Size: The size of a gas furnace refers to its heating capacity, not its physical dimensions. The capacity of a heating system is measured in Btu's (British thermal units) per hour.

    In general, a unit that's too small will lack the ability to give you the comfort you want. A unit that's too large will cost more to buy and operate. A qualified heating contractor is the best person to recommend the correct size for your new furnace.

  2. Venting: The heating contractor can also tell you if any changes are needed in the venting of the furnace. In most cases, the new furnace is placed in the same location as the old and uses the same venting system. However, many of today's high efficiency gas furnaces can be vented out a side wall in the same manner as gas clothes dryers.

  3. Efficiency: The efficiency of a gas furnace is indicated by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE rating. The Federal government requires that all new furnaces have a minimum efficiency level of 78% AFUE. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace. The more efficient the furnace, the lower the heating bill.

  4. Cost: In general, higher efficiency units will cost more than lower efficiency units. However, the Trane Home Comfort Institute notes that over the life of the unit, a high efficiency gas unit will help pay for itself because of the annual savings in operating costs. These savings could easily pay for the extra cost of moving up in efficiency.

    Final cost can also be affected by a number of installation factors such as the correction of venting or ductwork problems, and the difficulty of removing the old furnace or installing the new furnace in the desired location.

  5. Contractor: Perhaps the most important step in replacing or upgrading your home's heating system is choosing the right contractor to do the job. The reason: no matter how well-made a furnace is, the comfort, reliability and energy efficiency it provides is in the hands of the contractor installing it.

    Contractors affiliated with a nationally known manufacturer are usually a good choice because they've been factory trained in installation and service. They can also help you determine your comfort needs, make the right equipment choices and give you the best value for your money.

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Last modified: March 29, 2015