According to Lee’s Heating and Air owner Tony Oakman, your furnace plays an important role in keeping energy costs down in the heat of summer and in the cold of winter.
You think of your furnace as heating your home and your air conditioner as cooling your home. But according to Tony Oakman, from Lee’s Heating and Air, your furnace comes into play during the summer.
Tony Oakman says, “Most people don’t realize that your furnace determines how well the central air works—and not the cooler unit. The furnace is responsible for blowing the cool air from the air conditioning unit through the furnace ducts to cool your home. So your furnace’s efficiency will have a direct impact on how much energy you use and how well the air is circulated throughout the home—whether you’re using your central air conditioning system in the summer or your furnace during colder months.”
Oakman adds that there’s a lot of confusion about furnaces and efficiency. Furnaces today are rated using an industry standard known as the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. This measurement is given in percentages, and this number tells you how much of your fuel is used to heat your home and how much fuel is wasted. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. In simpler terms, this number gives you the percentage of energy used that is converted into heat. Today’s furnaces usually range between 78 percent to more than 96 percent. If you’ve got an older furnace the AFUE number could be as low as 60 percent. So, to start with, if you’ve got an older furnace and replaced it with a new one, you could save up to 40 percent on your heating bills—but that’s only part of the story.
Two furnaces that are similar in appearance and have identical AFUE numbers of 80 may actually be vastly different when it comes to electric consumption. In fact, one could be seven times more efficient than the other.
Oakman says consumers should be aware of the differences between a two-stage variable speed unit and a two-stage furnace. A two-stage variable speed unit has a high efficient variable air flow motor that blows air at higher speed based on the need to cool or heat. The fan runs continuously to keep air circulating in the home. This also helps prevent the hot and cold spots in your home.
“On the other hand, a two-stage furnace uses a standard motor with fixed air flows. Due to this type of motor, electric bills will be higher with this furnace than with a two-stage variable speed unit, especially if you have air conditioning. A two-stage furnace is an energy pig. In spite of the fact that the fan runs constantly with the variable speed unit, it runs more efficiently,” Oakman says.
Oakman notes that the two-stage variable unit cost averages $800 to $900 more than the two-stage standard unit when you purchase a new furnace. But because of the efficiency differences, he says you will make that back within a year of use. Then after that, you will continue to save on your energy bills each month.
In summary, a new furnace can save you money on your gas bills in the winter. And, if you buy a two-stage variable speed unit, your furnace can save you money on your electric bills in the summer and the winter.
If you don’t need to replace your furnace, or aren’t in a position to do so at this time, it’s also important for you to know that a furnace energy audit can help you make sure your system is operating at its optimum efficiency.
Lee’s Heating and Air will offer Studio 5 viewers a furnace energy audit for just $59—this is normally $159. It is a preseason special offer, and the number available will be limited based on available appointments. The furnace energy audit will give you the peace of mind that your system is safe and running as efficiently as possible. Call 801-747-LEES now to make an appointment.