If you are considering purchasing a new heating system for your home, then there are several things you should consider before making such a major decision. Below, we have outlined some of the top things you need to know about when you are trying to choose the best new heating system for your home.
Proper sizing is important to ensure efficient operation and comfort. An oversized heating system will heat your home quicker, but cannot reach its peak operating efficiency, and this wastes energy and causes excess wear on the system.
Before purchasing a new heating system, ask your technician to perform a heating load calculation. This takes into account your home’s square footage, current insulation levels, window orientation and other important factors. The calculation will help you determine what size and type of heating system will work best to keep your home comfortable.
As you compare costs of heating systems, consider the initial cost as well as the long-term expenses of operating and maintaining the system. Look for the yellow EnergyGuide label, which can help you estimate annual energy costs. Your HVAC contractor should be able to provide estimates of typical maintenance costs over time for each system as well.
Efficiency is Important
Another important factor to keep in mind is the heating system’s efficiency. The more efficient the system, the less it will cost to run. These savings in energy costs will add up over the lifetime of your heating system.
Different Types of Systems
There are a number of different heating systems to choose from. It’s important that you understand your options before deciding which system is right for your home.
New propane, gas, or oil furnaces typically have efficiencies between 77% and 97% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). In addition to the AFUE, also consider the system’s electrical efficiency. Furnaces often use a large amount of electricity to power the fan motor, so seek out a furnace with a high electrical efficiency. Multi-speed or variable speed fan motors are oftentimes more efficient than single-speed motors.
Furnaces are mainly available in “minimum efficiency” (AFUE of 78-80%), “mid efficiency” (AFUE 83% for gas/propane, and 87% for oil), or “high efficiency” (AFUEs of 90-96%).
Boilers are also rated with an AFUE. All heating boilers manufactured after 1992 are required to have an AFUE of at least 80%. When purchasing a new boiler, look for features such as efficiency controls, minimal electrical needs, and indirect water heating.
Heat pumps operate on the same refrigerant cycle as an air conditioner does, but during the heating season the cycle is reversed to distribute heat throughout your home. Heat pumps are more energy-efficient than other types of electric heating systems. Look for a high seasonal efficiency or HSPF, between 8 and 9; the higher the HSPF, the lower your energy costs.
Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient, as they absorb heat from either below the ground or from water circulated below the ground. Geothermal heat pump efficiency is conveyed as a COP or Coefficient of Performance. A COP of 3 is about equal to an HSPF of 10. Most geothermal models have COP ratings of 2.5 to 4 and some municipalities provide monetary incentives to help offset the initial expense of installing a geothermal system.
Want More Expert Information on Home Heating?
Give us a call. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about choosing the right home heating system for you and your loved ones. Call us today at (425) 746-3077.