Change Heating System and Save More - June 6th 2011


Change Heating System and Save More


The higher your current energy bill is, the greater your potential savings are with a new furnace.


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 it is a long-term investment, and you want quality equipment you can rely on.

Todays natural-gas furnaces are up to 97-per-cent efficient (meaning 97 cents of every dollar you spend on energy is used for heat.) The older furnaces were only 60-70-percent efficient.

The best high-efficiency models are 90-per-cent efficient or greater, have two heat exchangers, use outside air for combustion, and can be vented through an exterior wall.

The higher your current energy bill is, the greater your potential savings are with a high-efficiency furnace.

When shopping for a major item like a new furnace, it is 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.

- 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?
- Does my venting have to be changed for the new furnace?
- Is the hot-water-tank venting the 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?
- Make sure to ask about grants and rebates.

There are grants available through the LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive Program of up to $700 when you upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace (minimum 95-per-cent efficiency rating).

Condensation issues can arise when upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace.

Always think of your house as a system - 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.

Your old furnace probably drew air from inside the home for combustion, but the new furnace could have its own exterior supply line that goes into the combustion chamber. Air is then exhausted outside through a separate vent pipe.

Exhaust ventilation has to be provided to accommodate increased relative humidity in the home otherwise high humidity may be the outcome.

Another great solution to excess humidity that also improves the air quality within your home is 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.