We’re still in the throes of winter here in Ohio, but spring starts in less than a month, and while cool weather will likely continue, we’re on the tail end of the need for our heating systems. If your furnace is on its last legs, you can probably set up a replacement in the off-season to get a new one put in. There are a number of advantages to doing so. Since you won’t need your heater and can arrange for the replacement according to your schedule, instead of rushing the way you would if an old heater breaks down for the last time in the middle of winter.
That said, there’s more to choosing a new furnace than just scheduling a replacement. If you’ve decided to change out your older heater, now is the right time to start evaluating your choices and determining which system is right for your home. Your technician can help you make the right choices, but you can still do a few things yourself. Here’s a discussion of the most important.
Power levels refer to the heat output of the furnace, which is important to balance against the needs of your home. An underpowered furnace creates obvious problems: running constantly and never getting your home as warm as you need it. What most people don’t know is that an underpowered furnace can be just as bad. It engages in a process known as short-cycling: turning on and running for a short amount of time, then turning off suddenly only to turn on again shortly thereafter as the home cools down. You need a heater that meets the sweet spot between those two: neither too powerful nor underpowered but just right.
This involves a formal examination of your home, factoring in a number of features to arrive at an ideal size. It starts with square footage, but can include:
- Square footage in the kitchen, which is often hotter than other parts of the house when cooking or running the dishwasher.
- The presence of insulation in your home, especially the attic, where heat rises.
- Sunlight exposure, particularly on the western side of the house, as evinced by wide windows.
With those factors in mind, you can then find a power level that’s right for you.
Heating efficiency is measured in AFUE, which stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. It’s a simple percentage, measuring how much of the energy consumed by the heater actually translates to heat (the rest is lost to waste and inefficiency). You want to determine the power levels before dealing with efficiency (an underpowered heater with a higher AFUE than a more appropriately-sized unit wastes the added efficiency by running longer than necessary). Once you know the power levels of the furnace you need, look for the most efficient unit within that size range that your budget can handle.
If you need a new furnace for your Rocky River, OH home, call in the pros at Westland Heating & Air to do the job right!