With the hottest summer months coming up, we often don’t think about the systems heating our home during the winter. It is important to remember, however, just because your furnace is out of sight doesn’t mean it should be out of your mind. Ensuring that your furnace is working to its top efficiency is key to keeping your utility bills low, the air you breathe clean and keeping your home warm throughout the year. Here’s how to know if your furnace is in need of an upgrade:

1. My gas bills keep getting higher but my furnace still isn’t heating my home properly…

Furnaces can account for up to 70% of your total home energy consumption, but that doesn’t mean that they are working properly! The thermal efficiency of furnaces is measured in AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) which measures the percentage of energy used for thermal heating and the percentage of energy lost due to inefficiency.

Most single stage mid-efficiency and older high-efficiency furnaces have a 60-90% AFUE. The new high-efficiency two stage furnaces operate on 95% AFUE, meaning that 95% of your energy used for heating is converted in to thermal energy in your home. The older furnaces use an alternating current motor which can be extremely inefficient, resulting in up to 40% energy lost. If your utility bills are going up and you are still feeling chilly in your home, it may be time to upgrade to a two stage high efficiency gas furnace to make sure that 95 cents of every dollar spent on gas really goes toward heating your home.

2. I’m constantly turning my heat up and down in the winter and I never seem to get it quite right…

Single stage gas furnaces use the alternating current motor to operate on an “all on” or “all off” metric, resulting in high energy loss and making it more difficult to keep your home comfortable during those in-between months. High efficiency gas furnaces are multi-speed and run on low power when unneeded, increasing when the outside temperature drops automatically increasing to high capacity to keep your home cozy and comfortable before you know it!

3. I’ve decided to change my furnace, but installation is expensive and the installation requirements for my home seem so complicated…

Depending on your existing furnace and your home’s specifications, installation can be a speed-bump on the road to high-efficiency, but let’s break it down. If your furnace is vented through your chimney, it is likely a mid-efficiency furnace which can no longer be installed in homes in Canada due to a 2010 federally legislated efficiency boost. If your furnace is vented through black ABS pipes, it is likely an old high-efficiency furnace. The new high-efficiency gas furnaces vent horizontally through the wall, ensuring that no heat is lost up the chimney.

If you are unsure about upgrading, want to make sure that a high-efficiency furnace can be installed in your home or simply want to ensure that your furnace is running efficiently, contact an EcoLife representative to arrange for a home inspection, free of charge. When you decide to make the switch, at EcoLife, we provide zero cost upfront when you purchase or rent a furnace and offer free installation and labour. To find out about our various simple and hassle-free payment plans, contact an EcoLife representative today and have your new furnace installed tomorrow!

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