Staying warm affordably through New Jersey’s cold winters requires an efficient heating system. If your furnace is more than 15 years old, though, it may be less than 70 percent efficient and worth replacing.

The high-efficiency features on today’s furnaces let them reach efficiencies of up to 98.5 percent (as measured by AFUE, annual fuel utilization efficiency).

Fuel-saving ignition – On most modern furnaces, intermittent, direct spark, or hot-surface ignition has replaced continuous pilot lights that waste fuel.

Sealed combustion – Less efficient furnaces use warm indoor air for combustion. That air is then exhausted up the flue pipe, wasting the energy used to heat it. These furnaces rely on a continual flow of outdoor air into your home through unsealed cracks and gaps. A sealed combustion furnace uses a PVC pipe to draw outside air directly into the burner. This improves efficiency, reduces drafts, and decreases the risk of harmful combustion gases back-drafting into your home.

Condensing heat exchanger – Exhaust gas from a furnace’s primary heat exchanger contains heat that, in non-condensing furnaces, is exhausted outdoors. A condensing furnace uses a secondary heat exchanger to draw out this extra heat, so it goes to your home.

Variable-speed blower motor – This type of motor runs at different speeds to more precisely control the flow of heat in your home. Because it often runs at low speeds and doesn’t cycle frequently, it saves energy, reduces drafts, and produces more consistent temperatures.

Variable heat output – This feature, available on some furnaces with variable-speed blower motors, lets the furnace run at less than full capacity when less heat is needed. This saves energy and provides more consistent heating.

Zoned heating – A zoned heating system uses multiple thermostats connected to a central controller. The controller operates dampers in the ductwork to send different amounts of heat to different zones (rooms or areas). This lets you heat more efficiently by directing less heat to infrequently used parts of your home. You can also more closely adapt temperatures to room occupants’ preferences.

For more expert help understanding the features of today’s furnaces and choosing the right furnace for your home, please contact us at Pipe Works Services We’ve been providing reliable HVAC care in Morris, Union, and nearby counties since 1988.\ Our goal is to help educate our customers in Chatham, NJ, and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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