Buying a furnace online can be tempting. Online retailers have lower overhead costs and eliminate the middle man, which allows them to offer you a discount on the price you’d pay for the same furnace from most conventional retailers. However, in many cases, these savings are illusory; whatever price discount you might enjoy can quickly evaporate when it comes to shipping and installation costs. Moreover, buying a furnace online means you risk limiting or even invalidating the unit’s factory warranty.
If your furnace receives a red tag during a maintenance call or utility inspection, you’re suddenly facing not only an abrupt loss of residential heating but also a serious threat to the health and lives of everyone in your home. A red-tagged furnace means that an HVAC expert or utility company inspector has found a critical safety problem with the unit, usually a cracked or damaged heat exchanger, and the furnace must be shut down until the damage is repaired or the furnace replaced.
A little information can go a long way in allaying any anxiety about furnace replacement. So before you’re mired knee-deep in Energy Star ratings, air flow measurements and cubic feet, here are a few things to remember as you look for a furnace.
If you’re looking for an energy-efficient heating solution for your home, one of the most versatile options is a dual-fuel system. These systems maximize efficiency by combining a traditional heat pump with a gas-powered furnace. The result is an all-in-one heating and cooling solution that is capable of maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home regardless of the weather outdoors.
If you’re in the market for a new furnace, there are several factors, AFUE ratings foremost among them, that you’ll want to keep in mind. First of all, AFUE, or “annual fuel utilization efficiency,” measures how well a furnace converts energy into actual heat. The higher the AFUE rating, the more energy is being successfully converted. So a furnace with 90 percent AFUE only loses a 10th of its energy up the chimney or flue.