If you're renovating an older home, there's a good chance you'll have to replace the heating system too. Besides choosing a gas or electric furnace, you'll also have to choose the type and size to install. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choices.
Choosing Gas Or Electric
Modern furnaces are energy efficient, so you can't really make a bad choice when it comes to gas or electric. However, they function a little differently, so one type may be more suitable than the other for your home. If you'll have to endure long, cold winters, then a gas furnace might be best. Gas tends to be warmer heat than electric. Plus, if your unit has to run most of the day and night, your operating costs will be lower if you go with gas. On the downside, gas units tend to be noisier, and they have more parts, so more things can go wrong over their lifetime. Also, you'll need to have access to a gas supply to operate one. An electric unit may be the best choice if your winters are short or mild because your furnace won't have to work hard and drive up your power bills.
Picking The Best Type
There are three main types of furnaces. These are the single-stage, two-stage, and modulating. They differ in price, how well they heat your home, and their energy efficiency. You control a single-stage furnace by setting a high temperature. When the temperature falls below it, the furnace kicks on. The furnace constantly kicks on and off, and this creates inconsistent temperatures in your home. When the furnace is off, you'll feel chilly and when it kicks back on, you may feel too warm. These inconsistent temperatures allow for cold air pockets to form in the house too, so it may be difficult to keep your home warm enough to be comfortable when it is very cold outside. The advantage to this type of furnace is that it is the least expensive option on the market.
A two-stage furnace works a little differently. You set a high and low temperature on the furnace. This keeps the temperatures from dipping too low. The air temperature doesn't vary so much, so the furnace doesn't have to work so hard every time it kicks back on. A two-stage furnace is more energy efficient and you'll probably feel more comfortable with this type of heating.
A modulating system is designed to be the most energy efficient of them all. The flame is able to adjust itself so the temperature is kept nearly constant in your home. These units tend to run more, so they make more noise, but they make your home the most comfortable during the cold winter months. The downside is that this is the most expensive type of furnace you can buy.
Determining The Right Size
You may think it's best to buy the largest furnace you can afford to keep your home nice and toasty. However, having a furnace that is too big is a mistake. The furnace will kick on and off more than necessary, so the unit will wear out faster. Plus, it is actually harder to control your indoor climate if the HVAC is too large. Instead, you want the smallest system that is able to warm your home. Several factors come into play. The best way to determine the right size is to let a heating contractor do the calculations for you. In addition to figuring the square footage of your home, the contractor measures the insulation and inspects the windows and doors to see how well they block cold air. The contractor also needs to consider the property your house sits on and whether there are wind breaks or other buildings that offer some protection from the cold.
Since you're renovating your home, you'll want to make sure the insulation is upgraded too. With adequate insulation in the attic, crawlspace, windows and between the walls, your new furnace will operate more efficiently, and you'll stay much more comfortable once the temperatures turn cold. Plus, when you have a well-insulated home, you'll be able to buy a less expensive HVAC unit, and it will cost less to operate it over its lifetime.
For more information, talk to a professional like Property Monkey.