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Buying a Gas Furnace

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When it comes to fuel efficiency, experts say that nothing beats a gas condensing furnace, which has annual fuel-utilization efficiency (AFUE) of at least 90 percent.
To understand this, you have to know what AFUE means.
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency is a guideline set forth by the US Department of Energy and attempts to represent the actual, season-long, average efficiency of a gas furnace.
In simple language this means that the homeowner gets a much more accurate picture of operating costs when installing a gas furnace.
If a gas furnace is about fifteen years old the AFUE is likely to be around 65%.
If you're looking for the best gas furnace for your home you should start with an AFUE of at least 90%.
At Consumer Search Reviews, the word is that compared with an 80 percent AFUE furnace, a condensing furnace might save you $8 or so for every $100 you spend on heating.
Whether this savings is enough to offset the extra up-front cost will depend on factors such as climate, utility rates and the energy efficiency of the home.
However, experts say that if you live in an area with harsh winters, such as the Northeast or the Midwest, a condensing furnace will probably pay for itself over time.
High-efficiency gas furnaces with an AFUE of 95 percent or more can qualify for a tax credit of up to $150 until the end of 2011.
State governments and utility companies may offer additional rebates.
Things to consider before settling on a high efficiency gas furnace 1.
Have your licensed dealer visit your house and do a complete evaluation or load calculation.
What this means is that he will take into account the size of the house, the climate where you live, the number and type of windows installed, what type of insulation, as well as how many people are living in the house.
He'll check to see what materials the house has been built with and check seals, estimate air leakage, and locate existing vents and ductwork.
Doing a load calculation determines what size unit your home requires.
An over or under-sized unit is a common mistake buyers make.
When a licensed dealer performs a load calculation, you will have a smooth running system and a comfortable home.
Having said all of the above, a high efficiency gas furnace may not always be the most appropriate choice.
Your 90% efficient furnace will cost you more than your 80% efficient furnace if you move to a new house within the payoff period, meaning the period over which you would have recouped costs.
Don't forget either, that if you move, you are no longer the registered owner of the house, and will not be entitled to the free replacement unit you would have received.
Several sources offer general information about energy-efficient furnaces and their potential cost savings.
These include EnergySavers.
gov, ConsumerReports.
org,, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient and Economy.
National Geographic's TheGreenGuide.
com offers information about the environmental benefits of high-efficiency furnaces, while the Energy Star website, EnergyStar.
gov, has information about federal tax credits and other rebates.
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