You might think that you have to have a degree in thermodynamics in order to understand how a furnace works, and how the components used in the furnace work together to determine how efficient the furnace will be, but even a layman should understand what to look for when buying a highly efficient furnace. At the very least, you need to appreciate having two heat exchangers and a modulating motor.
Two Exchangers Make a Condensing Furnace
A conventional furnace will have one heat exchanger, which it uses to extract heat from the exhaust gases created by burning a fuel. It is restricted on how much heat it can extract, however, by the need to vent the poisonous exhaust out of your house. The single heat exchanger leaves enough heat in the gases so that they can rise up a vent pipe out of your house. A condensing furnace will have two heat exchangers, and these will allow it to extract so much heat that it condenses back to a liquid. This innovation allows the condensing furnace to reach a much higher efficiency rating than a conventional furnace.
A Modulating Motor
Conventional furnaces will have a one-speed motor, which means that your furnace can only come on at full blast. A modulating motor allows a furnace to adjust its output to the heating demands of the situation. Thus, it can come on at full blast when there is a need to heat up your home quickly, but it will run at lower speeds to maintain the heat in your house. By running at lower speeds for longer periods of time, a modulating motor will use less fuel than a conventional furnace which races then stops, races then stops.
Federal law requires a furnace to be at least 78% efficient. Conventional furnaces will meet at least this level of efficiency. Furnaces that are only 78% efficient will cost much less than higher efficiency models, so you can save money on installation costs by purchasing one. On the other hand, a higher efficiency will save you money on your operating costs over the life of your furnace. Thus, purchasing a conventional furnace is a short-term gain but long-term loss. If you really want to save money, the condensing furnace is the way to go. As long as your financing costs are not more than the amount of money you save on your utility costs, you should start saving money right away.
To learn more, contact a heating service company like Biggerstaff Plumbing Heating & Air.