A brand-new furnace is often one of the best investments you can make your home. Unfortunately, it's also easy to choose one that isn't ideal for your home's heating needs. High-efficiency condensing furnaces have been around for a while, but not as long as some of the traditional models commonly in use today. If you're looking for your next furnace, then it pays to check out how a condensing furnace can ultimately benefit your home, from improved energy efficiency to increased overall comfort.
If you're looking to cut your annual heating costs, you can't go wrong by choosing a condensing furnace. Condensing furnaces are well known for their excellent energy efficiency when compared to other types of furnaces. Whereas a typical gas furnace with electronic ignition and other modern controls offers an AFUE rating of 80 to 83 percent, high-efficiency condensing furnaces have AFUE ratings as high as 98.5 percent.
That vastly improved energy efficiency comes down to the use of two heat exchangers compared with the single heat exchanger other furnaces are typically equipped with. This allows a condensing furnace to maximize the heat energy it extracts from its fuel sources, making it more efficient and less costly to run. This gives your home a definite advantage when it comes to reducing energy costs.
That secondary heat exchanger also gives a condensing furnace another unique feature. Instead of using the typical metal exhaust systems commonly found on other furnaces, condensing furnaces are able to vent their exhaust through PVC pipes. That's because the exhaust temperatures of a condensing furnace are much cooler than those of a conventional furnace. The secondary heat exchanger extracts additional heat energy from the passing exhaust, reducing the amount of heat that's lost to the chimney.
Many condensing furnaces also feature a sealed combustion design. Instead of relying on indoor air for fuel combustion, condensing furnaces with a sealed combustion design use outdoor air. Not only does this reduce energy consumption, but it also prevents dangerous exhaust gases from being pulled back into your home. This significantly increases the safety margin in your home without disrupting the comfort and efficiency of your condensing furnace.
Replacing your furnace isn't something you'd plan on doing often, so it pays to have one that not only offers the best efficiency, but also the best lifespan. The average furnace is designed for life expectancy ranging from 15 to 25 years before it's expected to be replaced. The broad array of modern features offered on a condensing furnace not only save energy, but they're also designed to reduce overall wear and tear on the unit. The end result is a furnace that offers better longevity than most conventional furnaces.
Above all, comfort is perhaps the most important benefit of having a condensing furnace. With its secondary heat exchanger, condensing furnaces offer a greater amount of available heat than their conventional counterparts. Another trick up the condensing furnace's sleeve is the variable-speed blower, which replaces the single-speed blower commonly found in conventional furnaces. Instead of operating at a single speed, a variable-speed blower is able to fine-tune its airflow speeds to meet a broad range of heating demands.
Variable-speed blowers are capable of operating at significantly lower speeds than comparable single-speed blowers. This gives your condensing furnace longer operating cycles and the ability to distribute warm air more evenly throughout your home. These lower speeds also allow condensing furnaces to operate in near-silence, making them ideal for creating a quiet home environment.
Before you decide on any type of furnace, it's usually a good idea to consult with your HVAC technician beforehand. Your technician may have some unique insight on your home's heating needs, plus your technician can offer a helping hand when it comes to planning and installing your new furnace.