Choosing a High Efficiency Gas Furnace
Arkansas’s on the line. We’re going to talk with Tim about heating systems. What can we do for you?
TIM: Hi. I’d just like to know what your (inaudible) is and opinions of the most energy efficiency heating and cooling system on the market today. Because I’ve been doing some research and just so much information out there. I just don’t know which way to turn.
TOM: Well, let’s start by talking about the fuel, Tim. What are we talking about here? Are we talking about gas, electric, oil, propane? What?
TOM: Gas? Good. Well, I think gas is definitely going to be the most efficient way to go. Beyond that, you’re going to have to decide whether or not you want an average efficiency furnace or a high efficiency furnace. The higher the efficiency of the furnace, the less it costs to operate but also, the more it costs to buy. Higher efficiency furnaces are more expensive than lower efficiency furnaces. So that’s a tradeoff there.
Now, generally speaking, if you’re going to be in your house for the long haul, I would always spend the extra money and go high efficiency. Now, when you’re talking about high efficiency furnaces, what you’re going to be looking for is something called a condensing furnace. The reason it’s called a condensing furnace is because it takes so much heat out of that gas as it burns that what’s left is very low temperature. The exhaust gases out of a high efficiency furnace are fairly warm; they’re not super hot. And because they’re fairly warm, they also have a lot of water in them and that’s where the condensing part comes through. The water’s condensing out of the exhaust gases. It runs back through a plastic pipe, by the way; not a metal pipe. The temperature of the exhaust gas is so low, you don’t need a metal pipe to shoot it out of your house.
So, if I was starting from scratch, I would buy a high efficiency, condensing gas furnace and I would make sure that it’s hooked up properly because insulation is very, very important it be done right with these types of furnaces. They have very little room for mistakes. So you make sure it’s done by a pro, it’s done right, that the pipes come out of the house at the right place. Because it’s a plastic pipe, some people will bring them out side walls instead of roofs. And then, you have to make sure that they’re so many feet off the ground and that they’re not in your windows. A lot of little intricacies. So make sure you do it right. But really, dollar for dollar, I’d go high efficiency every time.