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Choosing a Heating System

Choosing the Right Heating System
There’s a lot that goes into selecting an efficient, effective heating (or cooling) system. The best system for your neighbor won’t necessarily be the best system for you. And while price and budget are important considerations, they should never be the only deciding factors.

That’s why our Design Specialists are ready to walk you through the heating system selection process. Here are some of the points they’ll cover.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): This is the manufacturer’s rating of furnace efficiency. An AFUE of 97% indicates that the furnace is capable of converting 97% of the fuel used into heat, with 3% escaping through the exhaust system. Like gas mileage ratings for cars, AFUEs are estimates, and actual performance will vary.

British Thermal Units (BTUs): This is a measure of an HVAC system’s capacity – how much heating (or cooling) a system can provide. It’s very important to select a heating system with a BTU appropriate for your home. The larger your home (including ceiling height), the greater the BTUs you’ll need.

Blower Motor: Furnaces use one of three types of blower motors to send heated air into a home’s duct work. The most basic is the single-stage: This is either on or off. A two-stage, or two-speed, blower motor usually runs at about 65% capacity, but will kick into a higher speed when heating demand increases due to extremely cold outside temperatures. A variable-speed blower motor runs at different speeds to control the amount of warm air sent through the ducts.

Insulation: How well a home is insulated affects how well a given heating system maintains comfortable indoor temperatures. Two identical homes that differ only in that one is very well insulated and the other poorly insulated may require different heating systems to provide the same level of comfort.

Thermostat Technology: Programmable thermostats allow you to save energy by controlling target temperatures based on a household’s schedule. Some thermostats even learn the most efficient settings and automatically program themselves.

Warranties: Furnace warranties typically range from 5 to 10 years, depending on the brand.