Should You Have Your Furnace Repaired or Replaced? Here’s How To Make A Wise Decision On Your Heating System

Ottawa Homeowners Can Usually Just Have A Furnace Repair And Avoid The Cost Of A Furnace Replacement – But Sometimes, The Replacement Furnace Makes More Sense

If your old furnace s breaking down and needing a lot of repairs you may be thinking that it’s time to upgrade to a new high-efficiency model. If you’re like most homeowners these days, you want a furnace that makes it possible to spend less money on heating bills, use fewer natural resources, and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide your furnace pumps into the air. All without giving up warmth and comfort.

The efficiency of your furnace can make a big difference in your energy bills. Heating accounts for approximately 30% of the energy used in a typical home. If your old furnace has stopped working completely, you’re most likely looking at new, high-efficiency furnaces. But, even if your old furnace seems to be working okay, it might be time to consider replacing it with a more efficient model—to save money over the long run and enjoy more heat and comfort now. If you intend to stay in your home for more than a few years, upgrading from an old, inefficient furnace to a new, high-efficiency model can pay for itself over time with money saved on energy
bills, and it will improve your comfort.

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For every Ottawa homeowner, an efficient furnace is a key to staying comfortable at home.

When Should You Replace Your Furnace?

Once a furnace is 10 to 15 years old, the monthly energy savings from upgrading to a newer, more efficient model can often offer such significant advantages that it makes sense to go ahead with a furnace replacement, even though the initial investment is more than a furnace repair. This is especially true when the current system is unreliable or has major problems.

Furnace Breakdowns and Repairs Can Be Expensive And Avoidable

If your furnace was installed before 1992, it is probably obsolete. In 1992 standards for furnace manufacturers required every new furnace to convert at least 78% of its fuel into heat. In 2013, these minimums rose to 80%. All new models sold must meet or surpass this percentage.

These days, 95% fuel efficiency is a common rating among new gas-powered furnaces, and many of the best models on the market have efficiencies as high as 98.5%. So, if your gas or oil-burning furnace was installed before 1992, you’re probably sending 30% or more of your energy dollars up the furnace flue. In fact, if you have an older forced-air furnace
operating at a very low-efficiency level, it probably produces about half the heat it could be providing on the same amount of fuel.

And for those of you who are eco-conscious, your old furnace is pumping up to 4 tons of carbon dioxide, the “greenhouse gas,” into the atmosphere each year.

The measurement of furnace fuel efficiency is called an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. All new furnaces are posted with this rating, generally in the form of a yellow “EnergyGuide” label.
AFUE measures how efficient your furnace is at converting fuel into heat for your home. The higher it is, the better. So an 80% AFUE furnace means that 80% of your fuel will be used to directly heat your home, and the other 20% will be wasted up the furnace flue.

Today’s standard furnace is about 80% efficient (meaning 20 percent of the fuel energy goes up the chimney). An 80% AFUE rated furnace takes 80 cents out of every dollar spent for energy to heat your home and converts it to heat. The other 20 cents or more of every dollar is wasted. Those dollars can add up in a hurry at today’s energy prices. But you can get furnaces all the way up to 98.5% efficient. That kind of super efficiency can add on $1,000 to $2,000 to your cost, so do the math.

For example, if you’re paying $2,000 in annual heating costs, a 15% bump in AFUE (from 80% to 95%) would save you about $300 per year. If the added cost is $1,500, that’s a five-year payback, well worth the upfront cost (as long as you’re staying in your home for eight to 10 years).

AFUE isn’t the only specification you should look at when choosing a new furnace. If energy efficiency matters to you, it’s also important to understand:

● Stages of heat, whether one stage, two stages, or modulating
● Airflow, whether on/off or variable speed

Single-stage furnaces only have one setting: “on” at full blast. When a single-stage furnace is running, it’s blowing hot air into your home using the maximum capacity possible. A two-stage furnace has two different speeds: “on” at full blast and “slow,” a speed that usually works out to around 65% of the furnace’s capacity.

Most of the time, the slower speed is enough for heating your home and doesn’t require as much energy as a single-stage furnace. It’s also quieter. You won’t get that “whoosh” every time the heat turns on.

When the temperature drops significantly and the slower speed won’t keep your home warm, the second stage kicks in and the furnace operates a full blast.

Why does all of this matter? Because both 80% and 95% furnaces are available as single-stage or two-stage units. An 80% furnace with two stages of heat will usually be better for your energy bills than a 95% furnace with just one stage. Some 95% furnaces even come with a modulating gas valve. Instead of just two stages, the furnace operates at a variety of capacities to match your heating needs at any given moment.

Furnace replacement technician in Ottawa
An energy efficient furnace keeps your family warm and safe through winter – at a lower cost.

Variable speed airflow is a plus as well. Standard furnaces will offer full blast airflow with no variation in speed. Units with variable speed airflow do a better job controlling the amount of hot air that enters your home. As such, they’re more efficient than standard units. If energy efficiency is your top concern, a fully modulating 95% furnace with variable airflow is your best choice.

Should You Have Us Perform Furnace Repair, Or Furnace Replacement?

We can give you options to help you choose whether you want to repair or replace your broken furnace. If you have questions or concerns about upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace and want to discuss it the experts, our team at JD Swallow is ready to help you determine what is best for your home and your family’s needs. They offer complete replacement services if you choose to make the move to an upgraded, high-efficiency TempStar® furnace, as well as comprehensive maintenance and repair services to keep your system running smoothly.