4 Steps to Choosing a New Heating System

Heating Radiator

A few weeks ago, we talked about how to make an emergency furnace purchase.

This week, we take a more proactive and preventative approach as we discuss how to plan towards a new furnace purchase.

If you don’t have to rush into your heating system upgrade, you have the luxury of thinking through each aspect, from prepping your space for the new system to pricing out different energy options to thinking through distribution and installation concerns in advance.

If you are a planner by nature, you will love this week’s post! And if you are not one to plan ahead, this post will give you a heads-up about what to expect when it is time to upgrade.

P.S. Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post to find out how you can get a FREE air conditioner when you purchase a new furnace from Shipton’s!

Step 1: Sealing and Insulating

The first step towards planning for the purchase of a new heating system is actually not about choosing a new system at all!

This is because whatever new system you select, it is already sure to be more energy efficient than whatever you have now (no matter how cutting-edge it may have been at the time you purchased it). Any heater that is five years or older already can’t keep up with the new Energy Star-rated heating systems coming out today.

However, regardless of how energy efficient your new heater may be, you can still spend more than you need to on energy consumption if your house is drafty or poorly insulated. So the goal here is to make sure your home is ready to capture and retain every bit of the heat your new furnace is generating!

And if you don’t need to buy a new heating system right now, but you would like to trim your heating bill, sealing and insulating your home is definitely the way to go. Sealing, weatherstripping and insulating will not only lower your heating and cooling costs, but also help balance your indoor air humidity levels.

Your sealing and insulating work should include sealing and weatherstripping ducts, windows, doors, and cracks, and insulating ducts, crawl spaces, attics, basements, and other rooms as needed.

Step 2: Choose Your Energy Source

Choosing your energy source may be simple or challenging depending on where you live. In larger cities and major metropolitan areas, the energy choices are likely plentiful.

But if you live in a more rural area, your choices may be much more limited or constrained by delivery costs, so be sure to investigate not only the price of your energy options, but also possible one-time costs to hook up new power lines to your heating system.

These costs aside, one of the best ways to estimate how much it may cost to run a new heating system is to take a look at its seasonal efficiency, which is measured by the system’s Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating.

The Natural Resources Council of Canada provides this guidance in terms of the seasonal energy efficiency of various energy sources:

  • Electricity: up to 100 percent
  • Oil: 60 to 89 percent
  • Natural gas: 60 to 96 percent
  • Propane: 60 to 94 percent
  • Wood: 40 to 80 percent

The variance in AFUE efficiency in each fuel source is based on the age and type of heating system installed as well as on the type of fuel used to run that system. For general purposes, if a system is 90 percent efficient, that means at most 10 percent of the energy purchased to run it may be lost due to leakage.

Step 3: Decide on Distribution

Some distribution systems, such as ductless or zone-based ducts, are easy to convert or add on to. Other distribution systems can be problematic to upgrade.

If you are adding on to your home space and you need to extend heating into the new area, you may want to consider adding a new type of heating system in that space rather than trying to extend a complex heating distribution system.

Systems that are commonly used to heat additional spaces include these:

  • Gas fireplaces
  • Radiant heaters
  • Direct vent wall furnaces

Step 4: Choose Your Heating System

Choosing a new furnace may sound like the hardest part of upgrading to a new heating system, but actually it is one of the easiest! The hardest part is figuring out what fuel to use and how to distribute the heat throughout your space.

Once you have decided on those two aspects, your choice of furnace or heater is naturally narrowed down for you.

This is also where, if you haven’t already, you want to bring in a licensed HVAC contractor to help you select the right size unit for your space. One of the most common mistakes that is still made all too frequently is choosing a unit that is more powerful than what your space requires.

When you size your new unit perfectly for the amount of space you need to heat, you can maximize its efficiency rating and spend the least on energy costs.

Selecting the right-sized unit for your space can also qualify you to apply for energy efficiency credits and rebates through Ontario to help offset the cost of your new system.

Buy a Furnace, Get a FREE Air Conditioner!

Yes, you read that right! If you upgrade your furnace right now and through March 31, 2018, we will give you a FREE 14 SEER air conditioner!

This offer is valid for anyone who purchases a Shipton’s GMVM97 or Shipton’s GMVC96 furnace plus installation. These units can qualify you for energy efficiency rebates and you will also receive a 10-year parts and labour warranty.

Give us a call at 905-549-4616 or complete this online form to learn more!

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