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Attention Detroit Heating Customers:

This Winter Get Informed...Get the Facts!

When it comes time to replace your old, faithful furnace, first get informed of all the home heating options available.

Electric and Oil Furnaces are still in use by many households, but Forced Air Furnaces - which run on propane or natural gas - are considered to be more efficient and economical. To determine the efficiency - or more specifically, Forced Air Furnace Energy Efficiency - of these units, the heat production of each unit is measured. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is the most commonly  used measure of a furnace's heating efficiency. By comparing the amount of heat actually delivered to your house with the amount of fuel required to run the furnace, the AFUE can be determined.  As an example, a furnace with an 80% AFUE rating converts 80% of the fuel into actual heat.  That means the other 20% of the fuel is wasted. These figures do not take into account electricity usage.

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), furnaces sold in the United States must have a minimum AFUE reading of 78%, effective as of January 1, 1992. In the case of Mobile Home Furnaces, an AFUE of 75% is mandatory.

The Department of Energy defines AFUE as:

"The measure of seasonal or annual efficiency of a furnace or boiler. It takes into account the cyclic on/off operation and associated energy losses of the heating unit as it responds to changes in the load, which in turn is affected by changes in weather and occupant controls."

More than just a fancy acronym, BTUs (or British Thermal Units) are an important measure of energy that refer to the amount of heat required to properly and efficiently heat your home to a comfortable level. The technical definition of BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one (1) degree Fahrenheit.

Together, the AFUE and BTU form two of the most important criteria you should consider before purchasing your next furnace. Depending on the needs of your particular home, your Local Furnace Dealer can also help you with proper sizing and selection of a suitable furnace for your home.

There are five different categories of modern furnaces:

Single-Stage Furnace

• one fan speed
• available with an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) of both 80% and 95%
• operates at 100% BTU Capacity at all times
• the most common furnaces - generally least efficient and loudest running.

Two-Stage Furnace

• has 2 fan speeds
• available with an AFUE of both 80% and 92% (or greater)
• operate at 60% BTU Capacity, and progress to 100% as necessary
• more uniform heat distribution - quieter than Single Stage Furnaces

Two-Stage Variable Speed Furnace

• available with an AFUE of both 80% and 95% (or greater)
• operate at 60% BTU Capacity, and progress to 100% - via a variable speed motor
• much quieter than Single Stage or Two Stage Furnaces
• recommended choices for 2 and 3 story homes, when additional equipment is added to a furnace

Three-Stage Variable Speed Furnace

• available with an AFUE of both 80% and 95% (or greater) These furnaces
•  operate at 60% BTU Capacity, and progress to 100% - via a variable speed motor
•  much quieter than Single Stage or Two Stage Furnaces
•  recommended choices for maximum efficiency in 2 and 3 story homes, when additional equipment is added to a furnace

Modulating Variable Speed Furnace

• best furnace available in operating efficiency
• even distribution of heat
• quiet operation and unsurpassed comfort level
• preferred choice when additional equipment of any type is added to the furnace heating system
• AFUE levels varies from 80% to 98%

With all of these Furnace Options - with great features -available , it is easy to overlook the most important feature to consider in a furnace: safety. Because of the mechanical nature of your furnace, many parts can break down over time. Buying quality products such as Carrier, Lennox, or Trane will not only save you money in the long run, but allow you and your family to rest easy in the safety and comfort of your home this winter.

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