What Is a High Efficiency Furnace?

What Is a High Efficiency Furnace?

Homeowners who don’t mind paying a little bit more up front but are interested in lowering their energy costs and improving the heating efficiency of their residence can install high-efficiency furnaces. A standard-efficiency furnace’s annual fuel use effectiveness (AFUE) rating is 80, which indicates that 20% of the heat it produces is wasted. 

Older furnaces may have had an AFUE rating in the 60s. High-efficiency furnaces, on the other hand, often have ratings in the 90s, and some even reach 97. This implies that a high-efficiency furnace heats your house almost entirely instead of the surrounding air. 

For tiny animals and birds that congregate around heating vents in search of warmth, this is terrible news, but it’s excellent news for your wallet. Not every home is a good fit for a high-efficiency furnace. If you’re wondering what to know about high-efficiency furnaces as a homeowner, you can find most of the information in this article. 

Installing one will set you back about twice as much as installing the standard-efficiency model, but you could eventually make up the distinction in energy savings. 

A high-efficiency furnace is nevertheless a step toward energy conservation, and some northern cities with harsh winters are forced to use them. There are methods to increase the energy efficiency of a standard-efficiency furnace, which is helpful to know if you’re thinking about buying a new one but are put off by the greater cost of a high-efficiency one but still want to minimize fuel waste.

The Operation of High-Efficiency Furnaces

Similar to the burners of a typical gas furnace, the high-efficiency furnace blower distributes the warm air around the home while the fuel burns, heating the metal housing that houses the furnace. This metal housing is known as a heat exchanger. 

The way that different furnace designs handle the combustion exhaust gases is what mostly determines how energy-efficient a furnace is.

Conventional furnaces release these gases into the sky and outside the house. However, the high-efficiency design of the furnace requires the collection and condensation of these gases into a liquid in a second heat exchanger, which releases almost all of the heat generated during combustion. 

Because of this, a condensing furnace is another name for a high-efficiency furnace. PVC is included in the furnace design, and the condensate is essentially carbonic acid. Any metal used in this pipe would rapidly corrode from the acidified water and cause a leak in the drain.

High-efficiency furnaces are designed with an exhaust gas vent pipe, which may be made of PVC since all the heat has been eliminated. It is necessary to pull in combustion air from the outside using a second PVC pipe as the condensing process requires the furnace to be contained within a sealed combustion chamber. A circular PVC pipe that serves as both an intake and an exhaust vent is a feature seen in most designs.

Should You Invest in a High-Efficiency Furnace?

Similar to how most individuals purchase a new automobile based on their needs, furnace buyers also do so. The climate in the area is most likely the most important thing to think about. Southerners don’t require as much heating as their northern counterparts, so a heat pump (https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Heat_pump) system, which also functions as an air conditioner, seems like a more sensible choice for them. 

Even a mid-efficiency propane furnace makes more sense because it won’t be used as frequently as a high-efficiency one ($3,000 to $5,000) and can be installed for less money ($1,500 to $2,500).

Another crucial element is where the furnace is located in the house. When replacing a heating system in a well-ventilated basement or crawl room, sufficient airflow is present to warrant a mid-efficiency unit. Putting in all the vents and drains. 

A sealed boiler that draws air in from the outside might be a more efficient and secure option, though, if the furnace room is a little space in the heart of the home with no air circulation.

How and When to Use High-Efficiency Furnaces

The Department of Energy admits that, across the course of their lifespan, high-efficiency furnaces save energy costs; however, whether or not this is sufficient to make up for the higher initial cost and installation expenses depends on how long you intend to stay in your house. In case you are planning to move or could be transferred for work, a high-efficiency furnace might not be the greatest option. To know more on how to save energy with furnaces and boilers, click here.

However, if you are living in your permanent home, then it’s a wonderful investment. However, if you install a high-efficiency combustion chamber, many states and electricity providers offer tax reductions and incentives. These might sufficiently make up the installation costs thus rendering installing one cost-effective, even if you’re not sure how long you’ll stay in your house.


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