Furnace maintenance is the thorough inspection and tune-up of your heating system. It's a preventive…
It’s true that oil and gas furnaces are still very common in households today. After using them for decades without any major glitches, you may often wonder whether it is worth switching to an electric furnace. Are they efficient enough? How efficient are they in the first place?
If you’ve been asking yourself such questions, then you came to the right place. Electric furnaces are becoming more popular by the day because of their quality heating and excellent energy efficiency. No matter what your heating requirements may be, using an electric furnace can help you spend less on heating. Keep reading to find out how efficient electric furnaces are, and what you can do to maintain their efficiency.
How Electric Furnaces Work
An electric furnace works a lot like a gas furnace. The only difference is that they have electric heating elements which they use to generate heat instead of gas burners. When it comes to its function, an electric furnace is comparable to a hair dryer. It sucks in air into the system and sends it through a heat exchanger. The electric heating elements then warm up the air before it’s pushed into your ductwork by a blower. The ductwork then distributes the air throughout your home. First of all, based on this information, there are no moving parts in an electric furnace that would make it less efficient.
As you are going to see shortly, electric furnaces are 100% efficient, since all the electricity they use to run is put toward heating your house. On the other hand, a proportion of the energy a gas furnace uses to produce heat is lost through the flue once combustion occurs.
How Efficiency Is Rated
To understand how experts rate the efficiency levels of furnaces, you have to understand something known as the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). You can easily see this term on your furnace’s stats.
AFUE is the official measurement of energy efficiency, and it is usually listed in the form of a percentage. It is the amount of gas or electricity your furnace converts into heat energy. The rest of the energy goes to waste in the form of exhaust. If you have a mid-efficiency gas furnace, for instance, its stats may read 80%. That means that the unit is converting 80% of the gas to heat and losing 20% through the flue.
Generally, the efficiency ratings for gas furnaces have been increasing. If your gas furnace is more than a decade old, then its efficiency is no more than 85%. The latest gas furnaces are roughly 90% efficient, although the price of the unit increases with its efficiency rating.
The efficiency range of an electric furnace is very simple; all modern electric furnaces have an AFUE of 100%. That means that all electric furnaces convert electricity into heat energy without any wastage.
High Efficiency Doesn’t Always Mean Optimal Heating
Unfortunately, AFUE doesn’t include the heat that is typically lost through piping or ducting. According to Energy Saver, the amount of heat that is lost before reaching your home can be as high as 35% of the total energy output. To enjoy the high efficiency of your electric furnace, you need to work hard to ensure no heat is lost on the way. The following are some of the things you can do to ensure your electric furnace remains efficient.
Make Sure Your Filter Is Clean
If you install an electric furnace, the unit’s air filter will be removing as many airborne particles as possible from your air. Over time, there will be a build-up of dirt around this component, restricting the airflow to your furnace. This will make your unit work harder than it should, thereby reducing its efficiency.
If you want your electric furnace to remain 100% efficient, you have to make sure the filter stays clean. You may also have to replace this component if it becomes too run-down. If you get an HVAC professional to maintain your unit, then you won’t have to worry about your filter because they’ll ensure it is cleaned and replaced as necessary.
Make Sure There Are No Air Leaks
No matter how great your furnace is, air leaks can reduce its efficiency tremendously. If your air ducts are worn, old or simply improperly sealed, up to 20% of your heated air can escape before reaching your rooms. You need to take time to ensure your ductwork is sealed professionally so that as much of the heated air as possible reaches your living spaces. Similarly, you need to ensure your home is well insulated so that the hot air is not lost through your windows, doors, walls and ceilings.
Doing so also ensures your furnace serves you for longer because it won’t have to work harder and break down frequently.
Consider Installing a Programmable Thermostat
If you want to maintain your furnace’s efficiency, you can try using it sparingly. One of the best ways to help you do that is by installing a programmable thermostat. If you think about it, it’s very wasteful and unnecessary to have a uniform temperature in your house throughout the day, including when you are far away from home. On the other hand, it’s not easy to keep changing the temperature manually whenever we get into the house or go out. Moreover, having to wait for the air to become warm after arriving home from work is not the most enjoyable or experience.
When you get a programmable thermostat, all these struggles will be a thing of the past. The device automatically changes the temperature for you based on your routine, so you don’t have to make any adjustments. Your home will always be warm whenever you walk into your house and cool whenever you are not around. Evidently, having such a device would help you spend less on heating, save time and keep you comfortable and stress-free throughout.
Schedule Regular Furnace Tune-Ups
Electric furnaces operate flawlessly when they’re new and start becoming inefficient over time if they’re not maintained properly. Like any other machine, an electric furnace experiences a level of wear and tear each time you use it. This means that if it goes unchecked for a while, small issues may snowball and lead to severe efficiency problems.
Some of the issues that a professional would look for are cracks, blocked radiators and loose parts. Getting your furnace tuned-up regularly is a perfect to way to ensure your furnace is operating optimally throughout the heating season.
Stay on Top of Things
One of the best ways of ensuring your furnace stays efficient is replacing it when it becomes too old. It’s true that some people have managed to use their furnaces for up to 40 years; however, using your furnace for more than 20 years is not recommended. When your well-maintained electric furnace turns 15 years old, consider replacing it to continue enjoying high efficiency. The longer you use your furnace, the more wear and tear it’ll have.
If you want to switch to an electric furnace today, we are the team to call. IT Landes has been providing excellent furnace installation services in Montgomery, AL, for years. There’s no reason why you should not enjoy our quality workmanship and customer service. Call us today to schedule an appointment. We repair, maintain and install cooling and heating systems along with providing first-rate plumbing services.