When Your Heater Needs to Be Replaced, Here’s What to Look For in a New One

Buying a new heater is an event you’ll probably experience if you own your house long enough. Typically, a residential furnace lasts about 20 years before replacement is required. Reasons for buying a new unit range from frequent repairs to low energy efficiency to simply declining performance that doesn’t keep the home comfortable anymore.  Here are some important factors to consider when buying a new heater.

  • Gas or electric? Most furnaces today are gas-fired, though electric units are still common too. Most homeowners opt to replace their existing furnace with the same type. For example, installation costs of shifting from an electric furnace to a gas-fired model are high because of the need to add venting and gas lines.
  • Efficiency rating. Furnace efficiency is expressed by the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Estimate). It’s a percentage that represents the amount of heat actually utilized to warm your home versus the amount lost up the furnace exhaust vent. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the unit and the lower the operating costs. Standard-efficiency furnaces have an AFUE around 80%, while higher-efficiency units have an AFUE as high as 95%.
  • One stage or two?  Single-stage gas furnaces are the standard type that utilize one heat exchanger. Two-stage units, also known as condensing furnaces, are typically high-efficiency models. These furnaces incorporate a secondary heat exchanger to extract more heat from the furnace exhaust stream, which would otherwise be lost. Capturing this extra heat lowers operating costs and boosts heating performance. Two-stage furnaces, however, are notably more expensive than standard single-stage units.
  • Warranty terms. Most new furnaces offer at least the standard 10-year limited parts warranty. To cover the most expensive component in the system, however, separate heat-exchanger warranties are often included.  Heat exchangers in standard furnaces may be covered for 20 years or more. Moreover, some manufacturers now provide a lifetime warranty for heat exchangers in their more expensive, high-efficiency units.

Ask the professionals at Paitson Bros. for more information about buying a new heater. We’ve been advising Wabash Valley residents on important HVAC issues like furnace upgrades since 1922.

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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    Ethan Ethan Rayburn is a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and a 2005 graduate of Purdue University.

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