Repair? Replace? Read this before you do either.
Should you repair or replace your furnace? Can you rekindle your relationship with your furnace?
The first step is getting to know your furnace. First, how old is it? A typical furnace lasts about 20 years. And chances are, the older it is, the less efficient it is. If you don’t know your furnace’s Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, call the manufacturer. They should be able to tell you by the serial number of the unit. The AFUE number describes what percentage of fuel consumed is actually used for heat, and how much fuel is simply wasted. For example, if your AFUE rating is 60, your furnace is converting 60% of its fuel to heat for the home, and losing the remaining 40% of heat, usually through venting. Obviously, the higher the number, the better the efficiency. And while no furnace operates at 100%, some get pretty darn close.
Now that you have this number, look for your energy bill. Depending on how much fuel your furnace wastes, you can easily calculate how much money you’re unnecessarily spending every month.
In many cases, the significantly lower energy bills may enable you to recoup the expense of replacing your system in just a few short years.
Click on the tabs below to find out what questions you should be asking before investing in a new furnace:
[symple_toggle title=”What condition is your air conditioner in?”]
If there’s an exception to the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rule, it has to do with air conditioners. The EPA recommends you consider replacement of your air conditioner if it’s over 10 years old.1 If you want to get on board with doing the right thing for the planet and your pocketbook, it makes sense because newer ACs are just that much more efficient than they used to be. For example, if you were to replace an old air conditioner with a 10-SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating with a new 21-SEER unit and the proper indoor coil, you could save up to 56% on your cooling costs. And there are other reasons why you might feel the need to pull the plug on your current unit right now such as:
- Your air conditioner needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up
- Your cooling equipment may have become less efficient
- Your cooling system is noisy—newer, variable-speed and even 2-stage systems tend to operate quieter.
You take the EPA’s home assessment test and your Home Energy Yardstick score is below five—your home energy use is above average and you’re probably paying more than you need to on energy bills.
[symple_toggle title=”Energy Efficiency”]As you research all your options, you’ll no doubt come across your share of industry-standard efficiency rating systems. They may look intimidating, but in a nutshell, all you need to know is the higher number, the higher the efficiency, and the lower your long-term energy costs will be.
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is the measure of efficiency by which the cooling process of air conditioner and heat pump systems is rated. The higher the SEER number, the greater the efficiency, and therefore the greater the energy savings. Today, U.S. Regulatory agencies require all new products to have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. We offer air conditioner and heat pump systems that can achieve SEER ratings over 20.
If you’re in the market for a gas- or oil-fired furnace, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is a helpful stat to know. Displayed in percentages, the AFUE rating tells you how much of the fuel consumed by your furnace is used to heat your home and how much is wasted. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. For example, a 90% furnace creates heat, 90% of which is used directly by the home with 10% lost, generally as a result of venting. We offer a full line of furnaces, some with AFUE ratings that exceed 98%. We also boast the most efficient gas furnace on the market.*
*If you have an older furnace (with an AFUE of approximately 64%), you could save a staggering 34% on your heating bills simply by replacing it with a new high-efficiency furnace—and make up the cost of replacing your old, inefficient furnace pretty quickly.
If your furnace is more than 15 years old and you’re not sure of its AFUE rating, you can contact the manufacturer about it. When you call, you’ll need to have the furnace’s serial number handy. Chances are you’ll find it on a small metal plate attached to the unit.
*The 59MN7A60V21-20 model gas furnace with Green speed™ intelligence is the most efficient furnace you can buy at 98.5% AFUE.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) measures the efficiency of the heating mode of heat pumps. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency and cost-savings. Today’s models are required to have a minimum of 7.7 HSPF. Not that we’re bragging (even though we kind of are), but we offer a heat pump with an HSPF rating of 13 that leaves other heat pumps out in the cold*.
*In the commonly sold 3-ton size, consumers will enjoy a heating efficiency rating 29 to 69 percent higher than other air source heat pumps on the market today..
The Coefficient of Performance (COP) is used to measure certain heat pumps’ efficiencies while in heating mode. You’ll commonly see this measure applied to geothermal products. Unless you’re looking for painful reminders of high school math classes or are a budding engineer, this one is pretty tough to calculate. In a nutshell it’s the energy produced by the heat pump (in watts) divided by the energy consumed by the heat pump (in watts). Like other efficiency ratings, higher is better.
If you have geothermal system, air conditioner or air source heat pump, you may be interested in your system’s Energy Efficiency Rating (EER). It measures cooling efficiency and is calculated by dividing a product’s BTU output by the watts of power it uses. Rule of thumb higher is better.
[symple_toggle title=”Cost savings”]All your life, you’ve heard that you get what you pay for, and energy efficiency is no exception. The higher the efficiency of a heat pump, air conditioner or furnace, the more sophisticated the unit, and therefore, the more it tends to cost.
But despite the higher price tag, energy-efficient units invariably come with lower utility bills. Significantly lower, in many cases. As a result, you could see your additional investment paid back in only a few short years. And long after you’ve broken even with savings, you’ll continue to save on your energy bills plus you get to enjoy the added comfort benefits that usually come with the model’s increased functionality.
How long would it take for one of our fuel-efficient systems to pay off for you? RockyMountain Climate would be happy to break down all the numbers for you.[/symple_toggle]
[symple_toggle title=”Matching your system for optimum efficiency”]
Additional factors that affect the efficiency of your air conditioner or heat pump system are your indoor coil and blower motor. If your indoor coil isn’t properly sized to match your outdoor condensing unit, the system may not give you the stated SEER and/or HSPF ratings and could even develop performance problems. Not having a variable-speed blower motor means the system will tend to consume more electricity. That’s because the fan will frequently be operating a higher speeds than necessary to move the conditioned air in the house.
When you replace an existing outdoor unit, make sure you talk to your healthy air experts at Rocky Mountain Climate about the potential effects of the indoor system on efficiency. It may be wise to replace both units in order to assure longer system life and gain peak performance, efficiency and comfort.[/symple_toggle]
Whether you decide to repair or replace, Rocky Mountain Climate Air Quality Experts can help. Just contact us. We can give you tips, insights, advice and recommendations that take the guesswork and hassle out of purchasing and installing the perfect new system for your home―or help you get the most from the system you already have in place, both in terms of comfort and cost.