Your home can benefit the most from your decision to invest in a high efficiency furnace. Also known as a condensing furnace, this type of heating system has a dedicated secondary heat exchanger which boasts of the highest Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio. One thing that you will have to contend with is that these high efficiency systems cost more upfront, but once you install them, the energy savings on the backend will help you recoup your entire investment.
How High Efficiency Furnaces Operate
The distinctive characteristic of high efficiency furnaces is that they use a secondary heat exchanger that captures heat which would otherwise be lost. This recaptured heat is a critical component that boosts its operating efficiency. When the heat gets to the second heat exchanger, it is cooled and in a vaporized state. This helps in generating moisture.
Important Installation Considerations
Condensing furnaces require the skilled hands of an experienced HVAC contractor. The installation needs vary from those of a standard furnace and below are some of these specific considerations.
- Creating a Drainage System – If the furnace you are replacing is a standard non-condensing gas furnace, your contractor will need to facilitate drainage for the new unit. The new drainage system will help safely usher out water vapor released during the combustion process. The drainage system must have the appropriate pitch and the drain tubing must be unobstructed.
- Accommodating Venting – The second heat exchanger releases cooler gases which need an exhaust venting system. A majority of condensing furnaces achieve their venting through a side wall by way of PVC piping. The piping must be sloped adequately so that condensation can return to the furnace for proper draining.
- Chimney Venting – If the furnace that was in place used chimney for venting, the installation professional must make adjustments for a water heater that uses the chimney to vent exhaust gases.
- Sizing – Sizing is a very important factor when installing HVAC units not just non-condensing furnaces. When the system is oversized, it will lead to short cycling which causes corrosion and wastes energy in addition to drastic temperature swings. Your ductwork must also be properly sized so that it can accommodate the force of air that is generated by the variable speed blower.
The HVAC company you hire must follow these procedures from beginning to end. Any questions concerning the appropriateness of a high efficiency condensing furnace for your home should be directed to a qualified HVAC company preferably within your area. Never accept an installation job without seeing the contractor’s estimate and quote.