Time To Replace Your Furnace? Do The Math
Are you confused about whether it’s time to replace your furnace? For guidance, consider three key contributors to the performance of furnaces: heating load, fuel type and cost/energy efficiency.
Your heating load is the amount of warm air your furnace has to create to keep the house at about 65 degrees. Your contractor can determine this amount based on a number of things, like the size of your home and whether your ductwork is well designed, sealed and insulated. Generally, the lower the heating load, the less fuel your furnace will need for the winter.
Today’s furnaces use energy more wisely than older models. Also, furnaces naturally lose efficiency over time. If you’ve had your system more than 15 years, the Energy Star program estimates you might save as much as 15 percent by upgrading to a new, high-efficiency model. Look for one with an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) between 90 and 97 percent.
Let’s look at a simple calculation that can give you an idea of whether upgrading might be worthwhile:
- Compare the difference in efficiencies between your old furnace and a potential upgrade (going from an 80 percent to a 97 percent AFUE would be around a 17 percent difference)
- Add up all your fuel bills from the last heating season.
Multiply the sum by the first figure, the efficiency difference (17, in this example).
- Divide the potential cost of buying and installing an upgrade by the figure you reached in step 3.
- The final figure will give you an estimate for how many years it may take to see a return on the investment of a new system.
Remember, the price of fuel is always in flux. If it rises, the numbers in your calculation will change, and the investment will take longer to pay off. If it falls, you’ll see a return much sooner.
If you have questions about saving money with high-efficiency furnaces, contact one of our trained technicians at Sobieski Services.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Sobieski serves Wilmington, Delaware and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!