Don't Sweat it! Buying a New Furnace Checklist
Even though the price of natural gas has dropped by 11 percent since 2014, and the Department of Energy (DOE) predicts up to a 25 percent drop in heating bills this winter due to low oil prices, homeowners still shouldn’t overlook the biggest energy eater in their homes during the winter months – an inefficient furnace.
Unlike picking up a new refrigerator at a local appliance store, buying a furnace can be intimidating. Most consumers haven’t thought much about replacing their heating system and know very little about what’s involved.
Sweta Hari, a home heating expert with Lennox, a manufacturer of home comfort products, created this furnace-buying checklist to help consumers make the best choice for their home
Don’t panic! Do your research and read product reviews from homeowners on the major furnace manufacturer websites and consult energystar.gov, which will provide an overview of the types of furnaces available and their varying degrees of energy efficiency. Also check out the Good Housekeeping Institute and Consumer Reports, which evaluate performance, costs, and long-term reliability of heating systems.
Know the lingo. A furnace’s AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency, is the most important thing you need to know. The higher the AFUE, the more money you’ll save in the long run. New systems like the Lennox SLP98V gas furnace achieve up to 98.7% AFUE and can save more than $800 each year on utility bills, compared with an older, inefficient furnace with a 65% AFUE rating. Consider replacing a furnace that is more than 20 years old.
Consider Comfort. Today’s heating systems have a variety of new features that you should consider. New furnaces haeve settings like a car’s cruise control, automatically making adjustments as needed to allow for maximum comfort and fuel efficiency – saving energy and money. Others feature sound-absorbing material so you don’t hear when the furnace cycles on and off.
Pick a Pro. Resist the urge to buy a furnace at the big box retailers, such as Lowes or Home Depot. Instead, call a few different heating and cooling contractors who are affiliated with the major manufacturers you’ve researched. These contractors should be well versed and trained on the furnaces you’re interested in.
Cash in on special offers.Look for rebates on energy-efficient furnaces from the manufacturer and your local utility company. ENERGY STAR offers a handy rebate finder at www.energystar.gov/rebatefinder.
Read more about energy-saving heating and cooling options.
Companies: Lennox Industries