It’s that time of year here in the Chicago southwest suburbs where the temperature falls low enough for you to strongly contemplate turning on the heat, but is it cold enough for you to feel fully justified in cracking up the thermostat?
Do you know what’s truly the cause of this annual internal conflict? It’s the fear of using energy when it may not be necessary. Why? Because “spending” energy on heating equates directly to spending money. With the rising cost of energy bills over the years – especially heating bills – homeowners strive not to waste. But wanting to use less energy doesn’t have to mean accepting to be less comfortable.
Nortek Environmental, Inc. tries to keep customers as informed as possible when it comes to simple tips and changes that homeowners can make in order to save money on their utility bills. However, some of the tips that save you the largest amount of money are those that require a larger investment than others. That being said, one of the best changes you can make in your home to save big money on your utility bills this upcoming heating season is the installation of a High Efficiency Furnace.
By nature, a High Efficiency Furnace typically has an efficiency between 90 and 95%. The higher the efficiency percentage, the more efficient the High Efficiency Furnace is. At Nortek Environmental, Inc., we typically like to use an example using your furnace and a dollar bill. For example, let’s say that currently your home has a 70% efficiency furnace. What this means is that for every 1 dollar you put into your furnace, 70 cents of that one dollar is used to heat your home while the other 30 cents is thrown out and not used to heat your home. However, if you have a High Efficiency Furnace in your home of 95% efficiency, you will be converting 95 cents of every dollar you feed into your High Efficiency Furnace into energy to heat your home.
Today there are many options available to help keep your home warm without your bank account going cold. One of them includes getting a high efficiency furnace for your home, particularly if you intended to stay there for a few years or if your old one has simply stopped working.
A furnace’s job is to produce heat, and it uses energy to do so. The less energy it needs to use to get your home to the desired temperature, the better. Therefore, the more heat it can produce with a set amount of energy, the more “efficient” it is.
The fuel efficiency of a furnace is called its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. You may have seen a yellow label with the words “EnergyGuide” on new furnace models that shows the efficiency rating and the estimated annual cost to run it.
The AFUE rating is basically a ratio of the amount of annual fuel the furnace uses to the amount that it converts into heat. Modern furnaces have a minimum AFUE rating of 80%. A High Efficiency furnace was designed to burn fuel efficiently and require a minimal amount of energy to create and deliver heat for your home. Furnaces with an AFUE greater than 90% are considered “high efficiency” furnaces.
About 50% of the energy used in a typical home in the U.S. is for heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Therefore, if you can get your HVAC systems running more efficiently, you’ll spend less on your monthly energy bills.
In 1992, the U.S. Department of Energy began setting standards for furnace manufacturers that require their models to turn a minimum of 78% of the fuel used into heat. Today, the best models have efficiencies up to 98.5 %. So if your furnace was installed before 1992, it’s obsolete and likely wasting 30% or more of the energy it’s using.
You may be able to open the cabinet door on your furnace and find a date. Or at the very least, you could locate the model number and do a search on the internet for the manufacture date. Any recent model more than likely would turn up in the search results. You can also look to see if your furnace has an electronic ignition or a standing pilot light, with the latter giving you a hint that it is older.
The cost of a high efficiency furnace varies depending on several factors:
Additionally, you may be entitled to money back from your utility company. Check to see if yours offers an Energy Rebate with the installation of a High Efficiency Furnace. If you are a customer of ComEd and Nicor Gas, check out the energy and equipment rebates they offer.
Nortek Environmental, Inc. highly recommends that you are proactive in your search for a new furnace in your home. Remember, choosing and installing a High Efficiency Furnace before heating season begins means that you will get the most out of your High Efficiency Furnace and will start saving money on your utility bills the moment that you turn your furnace on. If you are interested in receiving more information regarding installing a High Efficiency Furnace in your home, never hesitate to contact Nortek Environmental, Inc. at (630) 548-1500 and we will be more than happy to assist you with any questions that you may have.