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Should I Upgrade to a Higher Efficiency Heater?

This is a dilemma that many homeowners encounter when it comes to planning for long-term comfort. With furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers on the market that have incredibly high energy efficiency ratings (thanks to huge advances in HVAC technology over the last decade), it’s tempting to make an upgrade to benefit from the energy savings. But is this always the best choice, and will these systems save money in the long run?

Let’s consider the gas furnace as an example

The gas furnace is the most common type of home heating system—and new gas furnaces have made tremendous efficiency improvements. For example, an older furnace may have an AFUE rating (the percentage of natural gas converted to heat) of 80% or 85%. But the new condensing furnaces and variable speed furnaces can get over 95% AFUE. That’s an significant difference in how efficiently the furnace operates.

However… these higher efficiency furnaces cost more to install. And that is the problem people run into.

Rate of Return (ROI)

The rate of return for a heating system is the amount of time it takes for the heater to pay back its installation cost in energy savings. ROI is higher for a system that’s more expensive. For most high efficiency furnaces, 10 years ROI is an outside estimate. If you don’t think that you’ll be staying in your home that length of time, then going for the more expensive high efficiency system may not be the best choice.

Proper selection and installation

Something important to note here: high efficiency ratings for heaters won’t mean anything if the wrong type or size of heater was installed. You aren’t automatically guaranteed savings just because of a high AFUE rating (or HSPF rating for a heat pump). Always go to HVAC professionals for installation, since they’ll help you balance out both heating and budget issues so you end up with the ideal new heating system.

Air Creations, Inc. offers great new heating system installations in Mountainside, NJ. “We Do It Right!”

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