Monday, December 8, 2014

FROZEN: When Your Furnace Dies in December!

Let’s assume that Disney’s hit film FROZEN wasn't really the intended decorating theme for your family’s tree trimming party. In the midst of all of your holiday festivities, imagine that your furnace suddenly dies. Goodbye, old friend. Finito! 

The situation quickly becomes complicated because your furnace is so old, it’s really not worth repairing. A new furnace must be installed immediately, but there’s not really enough time to carefully research all of the options. It’s a big decision, plus it's a significant financial commitment. Remember, a furnace is like a serious relationship that you hope you can count on for at least the next 15 - 20 years. 

Talk about shopping under pressure! Suddenly FROZEN has become your unexpected holiday theme and it’s not really all that sparkling and glorious. Your family is freezing and you need to take action immediately. 

The Energy Experts feel your pain are here to share some helpful tips when shopping for a new furnace

Proactive Maintenance: When your furnace has suddenly stopped working, no one really wants to hear the “I told you so” lecture. Yet it’s true, because each and every year we recommend pre-winter furnace maintenance. Before those winter winds start howling, ensure that your furnace is operational and safe. Have your furnace inspected by a professional who will change the filter, check for leaks and unhealthy gases. It’s a good time to have the furnace ducts cleaned, too. If there is a problem with your furnace, it’s better to know about it in advance of winter’s first snowfall.

Whole House Energy Audit: As a homeowner, you may eventually need to replace your furnace. This could be due to the age of the furnace or the desire to increase your home’s energy efficiency. This is a perfect opportunity for a whole house energy audit conducted by a professional. A quickie “clip board” audit offered by a furnace sales person is not likely to deliver unbiased information. A whole house energy audit looks at the performance of your home in its entirety. Follow along with the energy auditor and learn about the importance of insulation and sealing air leaks. Make informed decisions about the type of heating and cooling your home needs based on a professional whole house energy audit. 

Furnace Size Matters: Furnaces are a bit like Goldilocks’ options of too small, too big and just right. A furnace that’s too small simply won’t do an adequate job of heating and cooling your home. A furnace that’s too large cycles off and on too frequently, wasting energy, straining components and creating uneven temperatures in the home. Choosing the correct furnace size is best determined by a professional who will also factor in issues such as climate, construction and overall design of the home.

Efficiency Matters: Gas is currently the most common heating fuel. Heating efficiency is rated on how easily a furnace converts gas into heating energy. The rating system known as AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) calculates efficiency into a number that indicates how much heat the furnace can wring from each therm of gas. The higher the AFUE number, the more efficiently the furnace is functioning. By law, the lowest efficiency rating allowed is 78% and the highest efficiency is rated at 97%. The cost of purchasing a new furnace is linked to its efficiency, therefore the most energy efficient furnaces command top dollar. This cost is offset by energy savings over time and that varies by your climate, how well your home is insulated and local utility costs. Keep efficiency in mind when you are shopping for a new furnace. Remember, it’s a long term relationship!

The Energy Experts and Pro Energy Consultants wish you and your family a warm and cozy holiday season!