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Your House  >  Utility Room  >  Gas/Oil Furnace Monday, October 20, 2014
 
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 Gas/Oil Furnace
 

The most popular choice for home heating is a furnace. Furnaces can be heated by oil, propane or natural gas, with natural gas being the most common.

Natural gas furnaces come in 3 types – Standard efficiency, Mid-efficiency and High-efficiency. The efficiency of a furnace depends on it Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) – the ratio of heat output to the total energy consumed by the furnace.

A Standard-efficiency furnace has an AFUE of 50-79% and is common in most homes today. However, they are no longer available for purchase. These units use a standing pilot light, a single stage heat exchanger and air from indoors for combustions.

A Mid-efficiency furnace has an AFUE of 80-85%. Like the Standard-efficiency furnace, these too use a single stage heat exchanger. In addition, they feature electronic ignition, a power controlled vent fan and indoor air for combustion. A Mid-efficiency furnace reduces the indoor air lost up the chimney.

A High-efficiency furnace is the smartest choice when shopping for a new furnace. They have an AFUE of 90-97% and have an additional heat exchanger that recovers an additional 10-17% of the heat produced by the burning gas. Cooler exhaust gases are vented through a wall, as opposed to up a chimney. The presence of an electrically ignited burner rids the need for a pilot light.

High-efficiency furnaces can save upwards of 40% when compared to a standard-efficiency model, depending on the combustion and heat exchange design. Greenhouse gases released in to environment are also reduced. An additional 20-30% reduction in electricity use is possible if the unit has a variable speed brushless Direct Current Electronically Commutated Motor (DC ECM) furnace blower motor, as opposed to the standard AC induction motor.

ENERGY STAR qualified oil and gas furnaces have an AFUE of 83-90% or more, depending on the fuel source. These models are up to 15% more efficient than standard models. For optimal performance and savings, choose an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace.

The temperature your furnace operates at is controlled by a thermostat. For optimal thermostat settings and other heating ideas, please see the tips below.

 
  
 
 
 Furnace Tips
 
Make use of a programmable thermostat
Energy
Purchasing a programmable heater will allow you to automatically adjust the temperature while you are at work, when you are sleeping and while you are on vacation. Adjusting the thermostat by just 2 degrees can save a ton of CO2 each year.
Use ceiling fans to conserve energy
Energy
Use ceiling fans to circulate air and keep cool in the summer. Reverse the fan in the winter to push warm air down and conserve heat.
Put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat
Energy

Putting on a sweater will help lower your energy bills and save up to 1,000 lbs. Of CO2 emissions.
Look for the ENERGY STAR Label
Energy
When buying new, look for ENERGY STAR products to ensure optimal energy savings.
Turn thermostat temperature down at appropriate times
Energy
Programmable thermostats can adjust the temperature for various times of the day, days of the week and even times of the year. Program your thermostat to a lower temperature for when you sleep, when you are gone during the day and to change with the seasons.
Put on a sweater or use a blanket
Energy
Turn your thermostat down a degree or two and put on a cozy sweater or get under a warm blaket. Better yet, invest in an electric blanket or curl up in front of an energy efficient fireplace.
 
  
 
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