What Is A High Efficiency Furnace?
A lot has changed over the years in the way we heat our homes.
Head back to the nineteenth century, and you’d find most families gathered around the fireplace. By the early twentieth century, coal was being used to heat the home.
Innovation continued and gave us our modern day furnace designs. But even if you look at the past few decades, you would notice significant changes in the way we heat our homes. The purpose of the furnace is to extract energy from the combustion process, then send the heat throughout your home. The more that stays in your home, the less that exhausts up the chimney, the more efficient the heating process is. If you compare today’s models with those from even a decade or two ago, furnaces are far more efficient than ever before.
Consumable energy is measured by its annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE. If you purchase a new furnace today, you will find it has an AFUE rating to make it comparable to other makes and models. Higher efficiency ratings mean you’ll use less fuel for the same amount of heat, and that your furnace will emit less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to complete the process.
Let’s talk about how the heating process works in your home.
When your thermostat recognizes the temperature in your home has fallen below your desired level, it signals the furnace to begin producing heat. This process opens the gas valve and causes the burners to ignite in the combustion chamber. Depending on the age of your furnace, this process starts with a standing pilot light, or on newer furnaces, with an electronic ignition.
Once the burners start up, the combustion chamber heats.
In low efficiency furnaces, exhaust is sent up the flue while heat builds and is dispersed throughout the ductwork in your home.
In medium efficiency furnaces, a blower is used to propel warmed air into the ductwork, reducing the amount of air escaping into the flue. It’s also designed to draw in fresh air to keep the system functioning properly.
In high efficiency furnaces, they are designed to keep as much of the heat in the heat exchanger as possible. They have a secondary heat exchanger designed to condense steam in the exhaust back into water, and then expel it through a plastic CPVC or ABS venting system located in a wall running out of the house. If you do not have one of these two systems in place, you do not have a high efficiency furnace.
The best thing with high efficiency furnaces is they offer you different levels of sophistication. Low efficiency models are all-or-nothing systems. But high efficiency systems can have variable levels of heating that are quieter and less wasteful than their counterparts. And you’ll feel warmer in the process.
Is high efficiency your best choice? You bet. But keep in mind it may take a bit of reconfiguring to get it to fit inside your home. Your chimney may need to be realigned. You may need to incorporate more space. But once you have it in your home, you’ll notice the difference.
Are you ready for a high efficiency furnace to help heat your home?