Most homes throughout the U.S., and many throughout the Shenandoah Valley, use forced air furnace systems. Combustion furnaces offer a continuous supply of rich comfort and warmth regardless of outdoor temperature drops. They can make an excellent source of heating for older homes that aren't quite as "tight" or as well insulated as modern construction requires. Forced air furnaces in our area typically use #2 Fuel Oil, L.P. Gas, or in the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro natural gas furnaces may be an option too. Forced air furnaces are found in a wide variety of efficiency ratings, but can generally be categorized into three groups. Older "Low-Efficiency" furnaces, a "Mid Efficiency" category, or the newer "High Efficiency" forced air furnace systems. Furnace efficiency for comparison purposes is rated using an industry standard AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating system.
Older "Low Efficiency" systems typically have natural draft flue systems, continuous pilot flame, heavier heat exchangers, and an AFUE of up to 70%. These systems have the highest average operating cost with a considerable amount of wasted heat. Out of each dollar spent to heat your home $.30 to $.40 or more are lost through the flue piping.
"Mid-Efficiency" furnaces have smaller diameter flue piping, induced draft fans, compact size and materials, electronic ignition (pilot) systems, and AFUE of 80%-83%. Mid Efficiency systems are a considerable upgrade over natural draft furnaces.
Newer "High-Efficiency" furnaces generally are the most compact in sizing and have secondary heat exchangers allowing condensing gases for extra efficiency and low temperature flue piping (pvc), AFUE for these furnaces are 90%-98.5%. These newer high efficiency systems offer highest ratings with only pennies on the dollar of wasted heat through the flue.
AHRI.org is the independent organization responsible for rating heating and air conditioning equipment offered in the U.S.
American Plumbing Heating Cooling is here to help keep your current furnace running at peak efficiency, or to help you upgrade to a more cost efficient heating appliance. Call Us to schedule and appointment with a local heating pro.