Every home in Blandon, PA needs a fixed, permanent heating solution. Whether you currently have inefficient baseboard heaters or an outdated furnace, there are plenty of options to choose from. Heat pumps use heat transfer to bring warm outdoor air in and create even and comfortable temperatures without burning fuel. Furnaces offer steady heat, and they can achieve residents’ preferred temperatures within the shortest period. You can also opt for the clean, radiant heat that boilers supply or create separate heating zones with a ductless mini-split. To help you make the most of this all-important home improvement, the following is everything you need to know about choosing the right heating system.

Upfront Costs and Installation Costs

Certain forms of heating equipment are significantly less costly than others. However, low upfront prices aren’t always paired with low installation costs. For instance, if you’re currently using an oil-fired boiler for heat, choosing a gas-fired furnace for its longer lifespan and lower operating costs might seem like the most cost-effective choice, but all residential heating systems require a necessary amount of infrastructure. For this transition, you’ll have to remove your oil-fired heater’s fuel tank, refine your equipment storage area, and trade your radiators for HVAC air ducts, vents, and grilles. Thus, when making side-by-side comparisons of costs, be sure to consider both the upfront price new equipment and the cost of putting it in.

Essential Building Modifications

At times, even switching from an older gas-fired furnace to a more modern model requires building modifications. New, high-efficiency furnaces have both primary heat exchangers and secondary heat exchangers. This makes them significantly larger than their predecessors and slightly more challenging to store. If you haven’t replaced your furnace in more than 15 years, there’s a good chance that your HVAC contractor will have to modify this space. Moreover, larger and more powerful furnaces require different venting systems and ductwork to better accommodate and support their performance.

When keeping your spending under control is the primary concern, it’s often best to leverage the infrastructure you already have. However, if you’re more interested in getting efficient performance throughout your heater’s lifespan, you may need to consider all-new heating equipment types to reach your goals.

Fuel Types and Your Operational Costs: Understanding AFUE Ratings

As required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), all furnaces and boilers come with annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings. These ratings determine what percentage of the fuel that heaters consume is converted into usable heat energy. For instance, a furnace that has an AFUE rating of just 83% only converts 83% of the fuel that it uses into heat energy, and the rest is lost in the form of exhaust gases.

You can find high-efficiency, fuel-fired heaters with AFUE ratings as high as 98.5%. However, there are also electric furnaces and boilers with AFUE ratings of 100%. While switching to all-electric heating equipment might seem like a no-brainer, it’s important to note that electricity rates are often far higher than both natural gas and heating oil prices. As such, having an electric furnace or boiler that converts all of the energy it consumes into usable heat isn’t necessarily going to save you money. In some environments, using an electric heating system is estimated to be as much as 2.5 times more costly than relying on natural gas heating instead.

AFUE ratings are helpful for determining the carbon impact of the heaters that have them. To an extent, they can also help you determine a furnace’s operational costs. But it’s better to compare AFUE ratings across heating systems that use the same fuel type. Cost-wise, a gas-fired furnace with a 98.5% AFUE is better than a gas-fired furnace with an AFUE of just 85.%. But an electric furnace with an AFUE rating of 100% will cost more than either to use.

The Availability of Heating Fuel

Fuel supply is another key factor to consider. If your home already has a natural gas service line, choosing a natural gas furnace will spare you the costs of having this line capped off. Natural gas is also significantly cheaper than heating oil, and it flows right into the home rather than requiring regular delivery.

Heating oil burns hotter than other heating fuels, and it’s non-combustible and non-flammable. There are also lots of heating oil suppliers in the region that offer scheduled delivery, emergency delivery, and on-demand drop-offs.

Convenience and safety are key. Sourcing the fuel for your new heating equipment should never be a challenge, even when the roads are iced over and getting truck-based deliveries out is all but impossible. If you’ve ever had a heating emergency due to insufficient fuel before, choosing natural gas or electricity will ensure that you never have to contend with this again.

Heat Pumps Offer Dual Functionality

The heat transfer used by heat pumps is highly efficient. These systems also provide both heating and cooling. You can use a heat pump to heat your entire home in winter, and you can set it in reverse for reliable cooling in summer. Given their dual functionality, heat pumps have heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) ratings to measure their heating efficiency and seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER/SEER2) ratings that denote their cooling efficiency. Moreover, purchasing a heat pump with a SEER2 rating of 16 and an HSPF of at least 9.5 could qualify you for an impressive tax credit until the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

There are countless options to explore, and the only way to navigate the market effectively and achieve an optimal outcome is by working with a seasoned HVAC technician. We can help you determine your goals for this purchase and find the perfect equipment for meeting them. We can also install your new heater to manufacturer specifications and walk you through using all of its available features and functions.

With three decades of combined experience, we proudly serve Blandon, PA and the surrounding communities. Our clients can count on us for superior heating, cooling, and HVAC air duct services. To find out about our preventative maintenance plans or shop for a new heater, contact Real Airflow Heating & Cooling today.

company icon