Just because you buy a new furnace does not mean that you get the most efficient furnace on the market. There are some furnaces that are designed to vent exhaust gases out of a vent pipe, and some furnaces that condense the exhaust gases to a liquid, which then drains out of the furnace through a drain pipe. While you could save some money by buying a conventional furnace, you will get more efficiency from a condensing furnace.
The Disadvantages of a Conventional Furnace
A conventional furnace has only one heat exchanger and a vent pipe, and these two features account for its lack of efficiency. A furnace will burn fuel, and the exhaust from this fuel rises up into a system of tubes known as a heat exchanger. The furnace fan pushes the air from your house over these pipes, which serves two purposes: the air flow cools the heat exchanger, and the heat exchanger warms the air flowing into your house.
Your furnace also needs a way to get the dangerous exhaust gases out of your house. The conventional solution is to leave enough heat in the exhaust gases that they will rise up out of your house through a vent pipe. The heat that escapes from your house is thus wasted.
The Advantages of a Condensing Furnace
A condensing furnace has two heat exchangers, and the second exchanger is the key to its efficiency because it absorbs so much heat from the exhaust gases that they convert back to a liquid. Because of this improved design, a condensing furnace can help you reach efficiency levels of up to 98%. The one challenge with a condensing furnace is that you need a drain pipe somewhere close to your furnace otherwise you will not be able to install one in your home.
When you install a new furnace or replace an old one, your biggest concern might be to keep the initial cost down. This is a worthy concern, but if you are too focused on keeping installation costs down, you might find that you are paying too much to heat your home from month to month. If you can afford a condensing furnace, it's improved efficiency should help you to keep your utility costs down, which in turn will help you to pay for the furnace. Once you pay the furnace off, you can enjoy lower costs over the life of your furnace.
For more information on your options, contact a furnace repair specialist.