There is nothing quite like stepping into a warm, cozy home on a cold Alberta day. It’s even better when you can do it economically.
The majority of your energy bill is used to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. If you are in the market for a new furnace, you’ll want to choose carefully. At ATCO EnergySense, we can help you make the right decision. Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about furnaces.
Condensing gas furnaces with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 90 per cent or higher are typically the only type of furnaces available on the market today.
As well as lowering operating costs, high-efficiency condensing gas furnaces may increase the resale value of your home and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s important to buy a furnace that is the right size for your home. An oversized furnace will not operate at or near peak efficiency and an undersized furnace will not heat your home properly.
A heating contractor can help you choose an appropriately sized furnace. This professional will do a “heat-loss analysis” of your home and take into account things such as the size and age of your house, the number of windows it has, and the type and amount of insulation.
AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. You can find your furnace’s AFUE rating on the EnerGuide label or in the manufacturer’s brochure. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model and the lower its operating cost.
As of December 31, 2009, the Government of Canada requires all newly manufactured gas furnaces to have a minimum AFUE rating of 90 per cent.
When you buy a new furnace, you might feel a bit confused—or even overwhelmed—by the choices you’ll have to make! Do you want a single-stage, two-stage, or modulating burner? Is the single-speed, two-speed, or variable speed fan the best for your needs? To learn more about these terms, read the Furnace Burners and Fans fact sheet.
A furnace fan that runs continuously ensures uniform temperatures throughout your home. However, if the fan is powered by an alternating current (A/C) motor, it will use large amounts of electricity. You can reduce energy consumption (and therefore cost) by purchasing a furnace with a high-efficiency, brushless direct current (D/C) motor, which uses up to 70 per cent less electricity.
Many newer furnaces have DC motors, so running the fan continuously does not significantly affect their electricity consumption.
• Apply weather stripping around doors and windows to form an airtight seal that will prevent air leaks and drafts.
• Insulate the attic and the basement. These are the two areas of your home that have the potential to lose the most heat.
• Use caulking and weather stripping to make your home as energy efficient as possible.
• Have a certified heating professional inspect the furnace, vents and chimney regularly, according to the manufacturers’ specifications, to ensure they are operating efficiently and safely.
• Do not store combustible materials, such as paint thinners, gasoline, cleaning agents and other flammable objects, near the furnace.
For more energy-saving tips, visit our Energy Fact Sheets page.
In Alberta, most space heating systems are fuelled by natural gas, usually by a forced air furnace.
ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business solutions in Structures & Logistics, Electricity, Pipelines & Liquids, and Retail Energy. More information about ATCO can be found on www.ATCO.com.