Most people don’t buy a new car without doing at least a little research. They want to know the fuel efficiency of the vehicle and some facts about its performance, as this is a possession they plan to keep around for many years and use daily. We think an HVAC system should be treated the same way.
It’s important to do your research before you get a new heater. This includes research on the type of heater you need, the efficiency rating you desire, and the company you’ll choose to install it. Read on to learn what you should know before installing a new heating system.
Know the Meaning of AFUE
Before you begin the process of searching for a new heating system, we think it’s important that you know the meaning of the acronym AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Today’s furnaces range from about 78-99% AFUE, but the most efficient systems have an AFUE well above 90.
So what do these numbers mean? First, you should know that it’s normal for heat to be lost to the ambient air around the unit as a furnace operates. However, more efficient designs allow for less heat to be wasted. If a heater has an AFUE of 95, it means that 5% of the heat the system produces is wasted, but 95% makes it directly to your home.
Consider Gas vs. Electric
A second consideration when you need a new heater is deciding whether you will choose a gas or electric system. You may already know exactly what you want, but this decision can still baffle new homeowners researching heaters for the first time.
In general, you’ll pay much less on your bills over time with a gas heating system, which we usually recommend for any home with a gas connection. However, electric systems are less costly upon installation, easy to maintain, and are often considered safer, so they are worth discussing with your technician. Besides, you can get a high-efficiency heat pump that offers both heating and cooling in one!
Realize There Is Only 1 Size Fit for Your Home
When you search for pricing information online, you might start to notice that the smaller systems are the least expensive. However, install one of these in your home and it will quickly give out if it’s not the right size. It simply won’t be able to accommodate the larger space in your home.
The biggest system out there is not the best fit either, as it can lead to short cycling—and you end up overpaying big time. There is only 1 size of heater that fits your home, and a technician can find out what that is for you.
Keep in Mind that Price Isn’t Everything
Many people pay the most attention to the price of a heating system when looking for an installation, but this can be a mistake. Don’t let an inexperienced company trick you into thinking their low cost of installation is worth the risk. The most common issues we see with heaters result from a sloppy installation.
What’s most important is the quality of the contractor installing your heater! That ensures you get the proper fit for your home and that it will run as smoothly and efficiently as possible—for the right price.