Have you been hearing odd sounds coming from your heater lately? Or have you seen an unexplained spike in your electric bill? If so, it may be time for you to get a new electric furnace. Regular and proper maintenance can keep your furnace running happily for years and years, but even with the best of care, it still has a finite life span. You may not have noticed any problems with your current heating system, but any unit 15 years or older more than likely needs to be replaced. Which leaves you with the difficult question: how do you replace it?
With years of experience installing and servicing HVAC systems of all kinds, we’ve handled more than our fair share ofelectric furnaces. Our services don’t just extend to the mechanics, though. We’re also here to help guide our clients through the whole process, from purchase to installation. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, never fear! Whether you’re a veteran homeowner or this is your first major purchase, our HVAC experts are at your disposal. We’re here to walk you through what you should know about electric furnaces, along with the options you should consider.
Basics of an Electric Furnace
Most furnaces work by using an internal heating element to generate warm air, then a system of blowers to circulate that air throughout your home. By working in tandem with your thermostat and the rest of your HVAC system, a furnace is able to maintain a set temperature within your home, activating if the internal temperature drops below where the thermostat has been set. Some units come with additional features, such as humidity control tools, enhanced air filtration, and some air conditioning capabilities, but the core of any furnace is that heating capability.
An electric furnace, as the name indicates, utilizes electrical power to generate heat as well as to power the other mechanisms within the unit. This sets it apart from the other common types of furnaces, which burn gas or oil in order to generate heat. There are pros and cons to using electricity over gas or oil, although the weight they carry will depend on your climate and home.
For example, an electric furnace tends to run less efficiently than an oil or gas one, making them less suited to extreme climates due to the cost of energy needed. However, they also don’t need to be vented, making electric furnaces easier to install than their oil or gas counterparts. On top of that, an electric furnace doesn’t produce greenhouse gases or rely on oil deliveries or a natural gas connection to function. All of this is to say that when considering the options for a new electric furnace, it’s also important to understand what sets it apart from furnaces using different types of fuel.
Options to Consider When Buying an Electric Furnace
Looking into specific models can quickly become overwhelming, with various different specifications, capabilities, and prices to consider. When first searching through the options, it’s important you focus on a few key factors first, to narrow down your options. Here are a few things to look for in an electric furnace.
Size and Power
While the size of your furnace might not be the first thing you think of when shopping for a new one, it actually has a major impact on its ability to heat your home. That’s because the size of your furnace needs to directly correlate with the size of your home in order to keep it heated as effectively as possible.
If the unit you buy is too small and underpowered, it’s going to have to work constantly in order to heat your home. This means not only a higher energy bill, but more wear and tear on the unit that may end up affecting its life span. If the furnace is too large, it’s going to constantly overshoot the temperature you set the thermostat to, forcing it to turn on and off all day long as the temperature rises and falls. Get an accurate assessment of how much space you need to heat, then narrow your search to furnaces that are properly sized and powered to your needs.
When considering your options while buying a new electric furnace, you will certainly want to look into the efficiency of each model. The annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating can tell you exactly what percentage of energy a furnace consumes actually goes toward heating your home. The higher the percentage, the less energy a furnace needs to consume in order to keep your home at the desired temperature.
With the advancement of home heating technology, nearly all furnaces manufactured today are more efficient than older units. That being said, the type of fuel your furnace uses will have an impact on its overall efficiency too. Electric furnaces tend to run less efficiently than oil or gas, which can be a drawback for some homeowners. However, there are still efficient electric furnaces on the market, and you may find the benefits outweigh a potentially less efficient fuel source.
Out of all the other factors to consider when shopping for a new electric furnace, cost tends to weigh the most heavily on the mind. As with any furnace, you’ll need to keep two prices in mind when buying it: unit price and installation price. Luckily, electric furnaces run on the cheaper side for both. For the unit itself, you can expect to spend around $700 to $1,500. Installation will run a bit higher, adding a few thousand to the overall price tag. Of course, each installation is different, and a well-trained technician, such as those at Entek, will be able to give you an accurate estimate of what an installation would cost for you.
While the lower initial cost is appealing, there are some drawbacks. In the long run, lower efficiency can mean a higher energy bill at the end of the month. That being said, the lower installation and purchase cost of electric furnaces can be appealing to many homeowners, especially those in climates that are well-suited to electric heating. If you’re not certain where your home falls, just ask. With our experience and your help, we’ll be able to find the most economical choice for your household.