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Why High Efficiency Furnaces Are So… Highly Efficient?

money_signs_out_of_house_chimneyThe true winter weather is on the way, with colder temperatures and the anticipation of snow. Make sure that you make preparations for the deepest part of the season, such as taking a look at the City of Summit Department of Community Service’s Snow Guidelines and consider if you need to replace your old and untrustworthy furnace with a new, high-efficiency model.

Last week we investigated the rate of return on putting in a high efficiency heating system. This week, we’d like to explain why high efficiency furnaces are able to use so much less energy than other models. What’s the secret behind the high efficiency? It’s more than one thing, as we’ll talk about below.

Basic Technology Improvements

The simplest answer to “why is [machine type] more efficient than it once was” is that technology continues to evolve. Newer furnaces have greater precision and lighter parts, which helps them to run by consuming less power. But there are a few specific advances that have made the biggest difference, such as…

Sealed Combustion

For decades, furnaces worked through atmospheric combustion, which is an elaborate way of saying that their combustion chambers were open to the air in the rest of the house. If you can look into your furnace and see the flames from the burners, that’s atmospheric combustion. The combustion chamber draws the air it needs for the burners from directly around the furnace—but this also allows some of the heat from the combustion chamber to bleed away before it can be used. The newer sealed combustion chambers are closed to the house, and instead draw their air from a PVC tube leading to the outside. That means less heat loss—plus, it’s a safer type of system and won’t dry out the air in a house.

Electronic Ignition Systems

The standing pilot light is no longer the way new furnaces light the burners. Instead, they use electronic ignition systems that create an electric spark to ignite the burners. A standing pilot light is a continuous drain on natural gas, so the change to electronic ignition improves furnace efficiency.

Condensing Furnaces

The gas furnaces that score the highest AFUE ratings are condensing furnaces, which run the combustion gas through two sets of heat exchangers rather than one. The combustion gas vapor left over in the first heat exchanger isn’t sent out the exhaust flue as in a standard furnace, but sent to the second heat exchanger where it’s condensed to release even more heat. This makes the most use of the fuel source possible.

Multiple Stage Furnaces

An older gas furnace’s burners were either on or off: they used the same amount of energy no matter the heating needs of the house. Two-stage furnaces can vary how much energy they use, so that they do not operate at 100% capacity at all times. The furnace will drop down to the less energy-consuming stage when the house doesn’t need as much heat.

Ready to have a new high-efficiency furnace installation in Summit, NJ? We’re the experienced HVAC people who can do the job. Contact our offices, and one of our friendly and skilled team members will help you find the ideal heating solution for your home.

Air Creations, Inc., Serving Central and Northern New Jersey since 1987. “We Do It Right!”

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