We should be well into the throes of winter by now. Is your gas bill higher than you would like? One sure way to reduce your gas bill is by installing a new high-efficiency furnace. Unless you own stock in The Gas Company reducing your gas bill would be a good idea. Check their stock (Sempra Energy – SRE), it has not been going down.
Besides costing more to operate, older furnaces may also require repairs. Spending money to repair an old furnace may not be your best decision. Along with saving money, a new furnace will reduce the amount of exhaust gases that are distributed into our atmosphere.
Older furnaces (1970’s to 1980’s) were typically about 65% efficient. That means for every dollar that you’re spending to heat your home, you’re getting .65¢ worth of heat. The remaining .35¢ is going out the flue pipe. The minimum efficiency rating for new furnaces that can be sold in California is 80% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), although some furnaces can achieve more than 95% AFUE.
In addition, new furnaces do not have a pilot light. All modern furnaces have some type of electronic ignition. This is very a reliable system and does not waste gas by having a pilot light burning all year long. There may be some rebates and tax advantages when replacing your older furnace, but the biggest savings will be in the reduction of your gas bill.
Listed below are a few things to consider when thinking about replacing your older furnace.
What is the age of your current furnace? (Furnace usually last about 20 years) How long do you plan on living in your home? Do you use your furnace more than average? Is your thermostat usually set lower (60° – 64°), or do you like your home warmer (68° – 72°)? How has your current furnace performed? Has it needed frequent repairs? Is it noisy? Are you planning a remodel or room addition in the near future?
The cost of labor and equipment is not going to be lower in the future. If your furnace is nearing 15 years old, start planning now for that day when your furnace breaks down. This will prevent you from having to make a decision for a repair when it’s cold and you need heat – now.
If you would like us to contact you via e-mail, regarding specials and other heating and air conditioning information, send your e-mail address to me at [email protected]. For more detailed information about heating and cooling systems, join us at our next Homeowners Workshop on February 24th. All questions will be addressed, so bring your list. There is no cost, so bring your friends, neighbors, and relatives. If you are interested in attending, call Alex at (818) 886-2600 to make a reservation, as space is limited. Join us for a couple of hours and you’ll take home some useful information.
Jim Berry was a heating and air conditioning service technician prior to becoming a Sales Consultant for Kahn Air Conditioning. Kahn hosts free workshops to help homeowners learn more about heating and air conditioning systems. For questions regarding heating or air conditioning, send an e-mail to
Jim at [email protected]