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Heating with Gas

A guide to choosing furnace size, efficiency, and features

Replacing or improving a furnace may not pay off as handsomely as it did during the energy crisis of the late 1970s. But it may deliver steady, modest savings. And efficient heating isn’t only about money. Because today’s furnaces burn less fuel to generate heat, they are less polluting than their predecessors. Some models with modulating heat output can produce heat more continuously than older furnaces, increasing comfort.

Heat pumps that wring heat from the ground or from outdoor air (and reverse the process in summer, to act as an air conditioner) are the preferred way to heat in the South and Southwest, and oil furnaces have a niche in older homes, mostly in the Northeast. But the majority of new central-heating systems use a gas furnace, the focus of this report.

The Basic Choices

How do most people go about buying a furnace? First, they contact contractors. To prepare this report, we did, too. More than 500 specialists in residential heating and air conditioning told us about their experiences in installing and maintaining heating equipment.

The major manufacturers of gas furnaces are American Standard (Trane), United Technology (Carrier, Bryant, Heil, Tempstar, and Comfortmaker brands) and Goodman (Janitrol and Amana). Other brands include Rheem (Ruud), and Lennox (Armstrong). All offer furnaces in a range of capacities and efficiencies, and we think manufacturers generally deliver on those specifications. Each brand offers a generally similar array of key features.

The degree of similarity between manufacturers’ offerings is one reason this report does not include Ratings of furnaces by brand. The most important steps in selecting a furnace, we think, are to ensure that the unit’s specifications fit your needs, that it is bought from a contractor who installs it well, and that it’s adequately maintained. Our survey results help confirm that view: When we asked about the most common reasons for service calls for furnaces, about twice as many contractors we surveyed cited human error—inadequate maintenance, for example, or improper installation—as cited defective equipment.

How Large a Furnace?

When it comes to furnaces, size counts—a lot. A furnace that’s too small won’t keep the house comfortable during extreme cold. Partly to avoid that possibility, most installed furnaces are too large for the home they’re installed in. Cost is only one of the problems with such a unit. Compared with a correctly sized furnace, a furnace that’s too large will cycle on and off more frequently. That puts more wear on its components, wastes energy, and may cause the temperature to vary uncomfortably. Also, upgrading to a larger furnace may require the installation of bigger ducts to accommodate the increased airflow. Without proper duct sizing, the airflow can be noisy.

To be sure of correct sizing, choose a contractor who agrees to take the time to calculate heating needs using an industry-standard calculation.

Thermostats

Home Furnace Thermostat
Adam’s video pick to help with your project-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cXvcs9VXXI&feature=related

The furnace thermostat is the nerve center of your home heating system. It’s the main control point that determines when and how much heat will be produced by the...

Air Duct Cleaning: Scam or Not?

Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?
Adams video picks-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omygm7z9fZU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu6u8KiA-o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLV6tdjXzUs&feature=related

First and for most I want to suggest that if or when you hire a...

Furnace Air Filters

Understanding Your Furnace Air Filter
Adams video pick-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5bII3ZW3Jk&feature=related

When you have a central furnace and air conditioning system, air quality often becomes an issue. These types of systems use duct work to transport air throughout your home. As one vent...

Get Your Furnace Tax Credit Now

Consumer Tax Incentives
Home Heating & Cooling Equipment
What are the incentives for home heating & cooling equipment?
Purchasers of highly efficient heating, cooling, and water heating equipment can take tax credits of 30% of installed cost for purchasing qualifying equipment,...

Invisible killer

Carbon Monoxide in Your Home
Adams video pick-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lchtRTDsHSM

Carbon monoxide could be leaking in your home right now, and unless you have a detector installed, you wouldn’t even know that it was happening until you were poisoned. Yet, every day you...

Money Lost in the Attic

Attic Insulation
Adams video pick-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK4Z8Tf-y3Y&feature=related

If you look at a weather map you will notice it’s not just Detroit, but the entire Northeast portion of the country that is being hit by harsh winter weather so far this year. Many homeowners...

High Efficiency Furnace, will save you Money….

High Efficiency is all the talk
Efficiency is in demand today. Whatever you do, you are expected to be highly efficient in it. Well, this is true with our home appliances as well. With the bills reaching the sky, the environmental issues and...

Know who to call

The Right Repairman for the job
It’s cold outside and your heat cuts off! It’s a problem most of us will probably encounter at some point in time. Don’t get burned when it comes to having a furnace doctor make a house call to...

How to choose Central air conditioning

From Consumers reports 2006:

What’s the best way to ensure that the central air-conditioning system you choose is
installed properly, and will provide the most efficient and reliable cooling for your home?
The pointers below can help you to...

Get your Home in the Zone and Save $$$

What is Zoning and Zone Control?
Zoning and Zone Control of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems are two ways of saying individual temperature control from one central HVAC System. Typically with almost all forced air systems there is only one thermostat...