Learn About Upgrading Your Furnace or Boiler

Learn about the GreenHomes Recommended Solution for Your Home

Furnaces are heating systems that heat the air in the home. Additionally, furnace systems circulate the air through a series of heating ducts. This keeps your home warm in the wintertime. Similarly, boilers heat water and circulate the heated water through a series of pipes to heat your home. Both furnaces and boilers function as the main heating system in your home. Therefore, it is important to make sure the furnace or boiler remains reliable and energy efficient. Conversely, if they are not, then consider looking for some furnace solutions that will make a difference.

For example, homeowners possess multiple options when upgrading the furnace or boiler in your home. These include a range of efficiencies, fuel types, sizes and costs. Additionally, furnaces or boilers require fuel, such as natural gas, propane gas or oil, which produces your heat. When upgrading the heating system in your house, most homeowners continue using the same heating fuel in their previous heating system. However, it is possible to switch fuel types in some situations.

Proper Furnace or Boiler Efficiency

New residential furnaces and boilers are required to be rated for efficiency in terms of AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. For example, furnace or boiler that operates at 90% efficiency is 90% AFUE. And a furnace that operates at 80% efficiency is 80% AFUE. The higher the AFUE, the higher the heating equipment’s operating efficiency. GreenHomes recommends natural gas and propane systems maintain a 95% AFUE or higher. Conversely, we recommend oil-fired systems maintain an AFUE of 87% or higher. Make sure you know the AFUE of your new furnace or boiler BEFORE it is installed.

Frequently, furnaces connect to leaky and uninsulated ductwork. GreenHomes recommends furnace ductwork contain proper air sealing where accessible and insulated in all unconditioned spaces or where condensation possibly occurs.

Conversely, boilers connect to a series of pipes that circulate hot water throughout your home to keep your house warm. These heating pipes should be well insulated wherever they are accessible.

Proper Furnace or Boiler Sizing

Furnace and boiler sizing is not a matter of the physical size of the equipment but rather the amount of heat produced per hour. BTU’s (British Thermal Units) per hour shows or expresses the necessary furnace or boiler sizing. The size of the furnace or boiler needed depends on the efficiency level. Also, the climate of a house and the square footage impact the size as well.

For example, a larger, leaker, poorly insulated house in a cold climate needs a higher BTU/hr furnace/boiler. Conversely, a smaller, tighter, well insulated house in a warmer climate needs a smaller heating unit. GreenHomes recommends contractors perform a heating load calculation such as ACCA Manual J. This test helps determine the heating load of the house. Then, we recommend applying the ACCA Manual S to properly size the furnace or boiler. Never accept the proper sizing of an upgraded furnace or boiler based on the size of the older equipment. Never rely on “rules of thumb” for sizing a new heating system as well.

Help Me Upgrade My Furnace
Start Your Project Now!