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Common Furnace Questions

Considering getting a furnace for your home? Let’s dive into everything you need to know about this HVAC system.

What is a furnace?

A furnace is an HVAC system that can provide both heating and cooling to your home. This type of central heating system can be found in the form of an electric furnace, natural gas furnace, or oil furnace.

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How long does a furnace last?

The general rule of thumb is that a furnace will work reliably for 10 to 15 years. If the furnace was already installed in your home when you bought it, there should be a sticker plainly visible that includes the make and model number as well as when it was installed. If your furnace is 10 years old, you should begin to make a plan for eventually upgrading it so that you can plan your expenses and still avoid an unexpected failure. A Hurley & David Comfort Advisor can help you understand the options for a furnace upgrade that improves your home comfort and reduces your energy costs through greater efficiency.

What size furnace do I need for my home?

A basic rule of thumb for furnace size calculation is that it takes 30 BTUs for every 1,000 square feet of a house. So, if you have a 1,000-square-foot house, you need a furnace that has a 30,000 BTU output. You can even use an online furnace size calculator to have a better idea of what you might need.

Prior to a furnace installation, a HVAC technician usually performs a home energy analysis by taking into account your isolation, home layout, and other factors before advising which size furnace you need.

How often to change furnace filter?

To maintain healthy air in your home, change the filters in your furnace every three months. Keep in mind that if your comfort system also includes central air, your system is in use all year round not just during heating season. The filter is most commonly found next to the furnace’s blower; the location of the blower varies depending on the furnace manufacturer and how it is installed (horizontal or vertical). Look for a slot roughly one inch wide that runs the width or height of the duct attached to the blower; the filter slides in/out from there.

Can I add a smart thermostat to my existing furnace?

Yes! Hurley & David can help you get all the benefits of a smart thermostat even if your furnace was installed with a conventional one. If you are considering upgrading to a smart home system (also called home automation) that integrates multiple functions such as security and lighting, contact us today. We can help ensure you get all the benefits in efficiency and comfort from your furnace that a smart home or smart thermostat can provide.

If I have a furnace can I add central air to my home?

Yes! Central air conditioning uses the same ductwork as a home’s furnace. The other most common heating system, boilers, use piping to move hot water rather than ducts to move hot air. So it is considerably harder to add central air to a home where the heating system does not use a furnace. If you have the ductwork of a furnace heating system, we would be happy to advise you on your options to add the summer-long comfort of central air conditioning.

Why is my furnace blowing cold air?

If your furnace is blowing cold air in your home, this is a sign that there is an issue with your furnace. The issue would be located in the flame detector, gas supply, air filter, pilot light, or condensate lines. You might be able to fix this issue by cleaning your condensate line or replacing some of your furnace parts. If you’re not sure what to do or how to diagnose the exact issue, you should contact your local furnace technician.

What are the signs of an aging furnace?

One of the most obvious signs that your furnace may be past its useful life is excessive cycling, meaning that your furnace turns on and off much more frequently than typical. You will hear it turning on and off and yet you won’t notice much change in the air temperature.

Another common sign of an aging furnace is that it will take much longer for the temperature in the house to rise to the level you have set on your thermostat.

A potentially more dangerous sign would be unusual, loud noises (such as metallic banging) coming from the unit or any traces of a burning smell in the air being delivered from your furnace. If you detect these signs, immediately turn the heat off and contact us to have your furnace inspected. You might be in need of furnace repair or replacement as the failure of certain parts can lead to dangerous conditions.

Is there a way to make the air from my furnace less dry?

Yes! Hurley & David can provide you whole-home humidity control options that can give you control over the level of dryness in the heated air your furnace delivers to your living space. Though furnaces are very efficient they tend to deliver drier air; this can lead to poor interior air quality and a less comfortable home. Let us show you how a whole-home air quality system can let you enjoy healthier, more comfortable heat from your furnace.

Updates to the Regional HVAC Equipment Efficiency and Testing Standards

Effective January 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will update its efficiency and testing standards for residential and commercial HVAC equipment. All regulatory changes will differ by product type and region. Since the updated standards will result in price increases across all HVAC contractors, now is the time to buy the equipment you need for your home or business.

The minimum efficiency standards for residential and commercial air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured after January 1, 2023, will increase. This change will increase production efficiency and national energy savings while decreasing national energy consumption.

Northern U.S. & Canada

All split-system air conditioners, split-system heat pumps, and packaged units manufactured after January 1, 2023, must meet the updated standards. However, split-system air conditioners, split-system heat pumps, and packaged units manufactured before January 1, 2023, can be installed indefinitely. The efficiency rating for air conditioners will increase from 13 SEER to 15 SEER in these regions.

Southern U.S.

Split-system air conditioners manufactured before January 1, 2023, can’t be installed once the updated standards take effect. All installations of products that don’t meet the new standards must be completed by December 31, 2022. However, split-system heat pumps, single-packaged air conditioners, and single-packaged heat pumps manufactured after January 1, 2023, can be installed indefinitely. The efficiency rating for air conditioners will increase from 14 SEER to 15 SEER in both the Southwest and Southeast regions.

In addition to higher minimum efficiency standards, the M1 testing procedures used for residential and 3 to 5-ton light commercial, single-phase equipment manufactured on or after January 1, 2023, will increase. This change will produce more accurate SEER, EER, and HSPF efficiency ratings. Manufacturers will be required to re-test equipment using the new M1 Standard requirements as well as publish equipment efficiency ratings using the new efficiency metrics of SEER2, EER2, and HSPF2.

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