Important items to address when purchasing a new furnace
September 12, 2011
Even though summer has just ended, it is not too early to start thinking about your homes heating system. If you act now, you can avoid the rush when we have our first cold night.
Upgrading your heating system is a great way to improve your homes energy efficiency. Selecting the right home heating system can be a confusing and overwhelming task. Efficiencies, features and price are all factors, but in the end its a long term investment and you want quality equipment you can rely on. Todays natural gas furnaces are up to 97% efficient (meaning 97 cents of every dollar you spend on energy is used for heat.) The older, standard-efficiency furnaces were only 60%-70% efficient.
The Best high-efficiency models are 90% efficient or greater, will have two heat exchangers, use outside air for combustion, and can be vented through an exterior wall. With a high-efficiency furnace, the higher your current energy bill, the greater your potential savings in energy and costs will be. While the brands are comparable, when shopping for a major item like a new furnace its very important to use a technician who is familiar with the product and able to perform warranty work should the need ever arise. The following is a list of important questions to ask when you are shopping for a furnace.
Here are a few questions to ask when considering a furnace upgrade.
• What type of furnace do I need?
• How many BTUs?
• What efficiency should I have?
• Is the duct (supply and return) adequate?
• Should I have more supply air and what about a basement return air?
• Does my venting have to be changed for the new furnace?
• Is the hot water tank venting proper size and gauge?
• Are there advantages to a continuous low speed fan?
• Will my old thermostat work with a new furnace?
• How often should I change or clean the furnace filter?
• What can I do as a homeowner to keep my furnace running at the highest efficiency possible?
Installing a New Furnace
Condensation issues can arise when upgrading to a high efficiency furnace. Changing one item can cause issues elsewhere if your homes ventilation is not adjusted, resulting in excess moisture and condensation problems as seen on your windows.
Always think of your house as a system keeping in mind that one reason you are seeing these changes in your home after your upgrades is your new high efficient heating system operates differently than your old furnace. For example, your old furnace would draw air from inside the home for combustion, but the new high efficient units have their own supply line that go into the combustion chamber and is exhausted outside through their own vent pipe (plastic).
Exhaust ventilation has to be provided to accommodate increased relative humidity in the home otherwise high humidity may be the outcome.
Relative Humidity Settings
Moisture levels must be controlled within the home. The following settings are recommended:
Relative humidity should be as follows; Summer time is 50%.
Outside Temperature / Relative Humidity (Inside Home)
C / 50% to 60%
0 to –12o
C / 40%
-12 to –18o
C / 35%
-19 to –24o
C / 25%
-25 to –30o
C / 20%
C or below / 15%
Another great solution to humidity that also improves the air quality within your home is by installing a heat recovery ventilation system (HRV
). These units are designed to provide an energy efficient way to bring in fresh filtered air while removing stale air.
Make sure to ask about grants and rebates:
The federal government has re-launched the ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes Program
, which is a nation-wide rebate program.
There also are several provincial rebate programs available to homeowners when they are upgrading the energy efficiency of their homes.
Alberta - Climate Change Central
British Columbia - LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive Program