Is Your Building Ready for a New Furnace? Use these Tips Before You Buy
When it’s finally time to replace the furnace in your commercial building, you want to make sure you get a new furnace that will provide the amount of heating you need at the most economical cost. There are several important factors that should be taken into consideration when buying a new furnace, all of which will affect either price, performance or ongoing costs.
Make Sure it’s Really Time to Replace
Replacing a furnace, especially in a commercial building, can be a costly undertaking. A new furnace can cost several thousand dollars. Before making the investment in new heating equipment, carefully evaluate your existing furnace to see if it would be possible to get some more service out of it. Consider factors such as:
- Age of the furnace: Furnaces around 15 years old are likely to be reaching the point where replacement may be a good idea.
- Condition of the furnace: If your furnace has received regular preventive maintenance and is in good condition, it may still work for another season or two.
- Efficiency of furnace: Older furnaces typically have lower efficiency ratings. As furnaces approach the end of their useful lives, their efficiency levels also drop. Recent dramatic drops in efficiency could indicate replacement.
- Performance of the furnace: Your furnace is supposed to keep your indoor spaces warm and comfortable, and if the equipment has been failing at doing that, replacement is your best option.
Choose the Fuel Type
In most cases, it’s best to replace an existing furnace with a model that uses the same type of fuel as your existing equipment. For example, if your current furnace uses natural gas, you’re probably better off installing a new gas furnace. You’ll already have the utility connections and supply lines needed for the new equipment. However, a change in fuel type may be more convenient or more efficient, such as changing from a gas to an electric furnace. Ask your HVAC service provider about the pros and cons of switching to a different fuel type.
Get the Proper Size
Furnaces must be sized properly to ensure they provide the amount of heating you need in your commercial building. Sizing, in this case, does not refer to the equipment’s physical dimensions, but to its functional capacity and ability to produce heat. Your commercial building will have a heating load, which is the amount of heating needed to meet indoor temperature needs. Have your HVAC professional conduct a heating load calculation to identify the exact load that must be met by your new furnace. With this information, you can choose a new HVAC system that will heat your building properly.
Purchase for Efficiency
When buying a new furnace, especially one that is going to be expected to serve a commercial facility for many years, purchase the most efficient model possible. High-efficiency furnaces use less fuel to produce heat and are therefore less costly to operate. Look for models with a high AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. There are efficiency-boosting features that can also be added, such as variable-speed air handlers or dual heat exchangers. High-efficiency models can significantly reduce your monthly heating costs. It is common to recover most or all of the cost of a new high-efficiency furnace though monthly savings alone by about the halfway point of the equipment’s expected lifespan.
Get Professional Installation
Rely on your trusted local HVAC professional to install your furnace. Expert installation ensures that the equipment will work properly and at its highest possible level of efficiency. Professional installation also ensures that the furnace will work safely and that potential dangers, such as carbon monoxide leaks, have been addressed.
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