If it is winter time and your home feels cold and unfriendly, and electric furnace can make a world of difference in helping your survive a harsh, freezing winter. Shop around a bit and make sure you choose the best energy efficient furnace for your home, apartment, office or mobile home. The newer electric models are designed for longevity and you can expect to get about 20-30 years of service from your furnace.
Types of electric furnaces
Furnaces are always available with different energy sources – wood, gas, oil or electricity. For each source, there are various technologies used to spread the heat like water-based radiant heating systems or burner or boiler chambers. From heat treatment furnaces, combustion furnaces or induction furnaces, you want to be sure to select a furnace with a long heat exchanger warranty. Pick a furnace manufacturer and a dealer that have been in business for a considerable time.
- Carrier – They have been in business for a long time and offer an excellent 20 year warranty coverage on their heat exchanger. Carrier furnaces are not only high-efficiency and high-tech furnaces, they are reputable and certified.
- Goodman – Warranty – 20 years to lifetime warranty on heat exchanger, 5 years on parts
- Trane – highly recommended and also with 20 years to lifetime warranty on heat exchanger as well as 5 years on parts.
- Coleman – their condensing furnaces have annual fuel utilization efficiency ranges from 90 to 94. All Frigidaire’s electric furnaces rate a 92 for their annual fuel utilization efficiency.
Other electrical furnace brands are Bard, American Standard, Intetherm, Ruud, Nordyne, amongst others.
Depending on the way hot air is distributed, there are a number of different electric furnaces. The heaters are the radiative types, convection heaters and forced convection heater. With the radiative heater, the heating element is enclosed in a glass bulb and the heat is directed away from the element. With convection type heaters the warm air fills the room slowly. With forced convection heaters, blowers move the hot air quickly.
Advantages of Electrical Heating
- Electric furnaces are easy to install and they don’t require additional fuel pipes, fuel storage tanks or venting. Unlike other furnaces, electrical furnaces have few moving parts, which makes maintenance easy as well. The fact that they have a compact central heating unit with a blower fan means that they can be adapted to add on central air conditioning units.
- Electric furnaces have safety catches to avoid overheating the coils. A sequencer device determines which coils get electricity and when. A limit switch is available for when a coil exceeds the maximum temperature allotted and it diverts the electricity away from the coil until it has cooled down. A fusible link is installed for when the other two safety measures fail.
- Electricity is more and more available in almost all areas around the world, and even in rural areas electricity is becoming more the norm. Many home owners are generating electricity from wind turbines or solar panels. This is particularly useful in sunny and windy areas.
- It is certainly cleaner than oil or gas and they are safer because automatic breakers protect them from overloading. They also operate quietly.
- An advantage of an electric furnace over the other types of electric heat is that they can humidify and cool the air. The furnaces come in sizes 10 to 30 kilowatts; in increments of 5 kilowatts. A 30 kilowatt furnace has a capacity of about 102,000 BTUs.
How do You Maintain these Electric Furnaces?
Electric furnaces are not difficult to maintain, but what most people appreciate is that there is no disturbing a fuel line and causing a leak. Make use of the little booklet that comes with your electric furnace and see what they have to say about replacing the filter. A clogged filter will force the unit to work harder as well as use more energy, defeating its purpose as an energy efficient furnace.
It doesn’t matter which type of filter you use, changing the filter is much the same. Make sure you turn off the furnace first before looking at the filter. Open the access panel to your filter. The filter is mostly found on the side there the cool air enters the furnace. The filter should slide out pretty easily, and when you install the new filter, look at the arrows on the filter because they tell you which direction the air should flow. The new filter should just slide into the slot from which the old one was removed. While you are busy with this, take the time to vacuum out all dust inside the furnace ducts. Shut the access panel before switching the furnace on again.
The manufacturer will no doubt offer a maintenance service for a certain period and it is a good idea to make use of this. Also ensure that you fill in the warranty details and forward it to the manufacturer to benefit from the warranties. It doesn’t matter what brand of heating furnace you have, because if it comes from a reputable manufacturer, they will have skilled technicians who will perform regular maintenance on your furnace to ensure it works to maximum performance. By doing these checks regularly, your furnace will run better and you can cut down on regular repairs in the future. The furnace is clean, checked for safety and adjusted to ensure reliable operation.
Furnace Service and Repair
When your gas furnace or electric furnace does need repair, however, our heating repair services are second to none. We will diagnose the problem and give you all of your options with their associated costs before we begin the work. No surprises, just up-front and easy to understand pricing.
Wipe dust from the furnace’s blower; check the blower belt and change it when it looks frayed. Remove the vent covers and wash them. Use your vacuum pipe to suction up dust and cobwebs. Don’t allow wiring to get hard and cracked; get an electrician out to fix them up and check out your thermostat at the same time.
Maintaining your furnace is important for your safety and health, not to mention your home’s budget. It is worth maintaining your furnace as you prolong its life.
If your furnace is not turning on properly, it could be the fuses. If a fuse needs to be changed, the furnace will need to be shut down. If you are not a handyman and don’t have the right sort of training, don’t try and repair and maintain your furnace on your own. Doing repairs when you are not sure what you are doing can cost you more in the long run.
What about Pricing?
Carrier and Trane furnace prices are the highest but there are many less expensive furnaces which are excellent, like Amana Goodman. The prices will vary according to the efficiency of the furnaces. A 90% efficient furnace will cost more than an 80% efficient furnace. Currently an electric furnace can cost in the region of 5 to $10,000.00. This included duct work and installation costs.
Rise in Gas Prices Makes Electricity a Worthy Alternative
Millions of people who make use of gas furnaces are looking for an alternative to gas, particularly since the price of heating a home with gas is rising. These increases mean that the average fuel bill will rise dramatically and people can’t afford to pay these increases. Many are looking at electric heating as an alternative. On top of that, if you install an electric furnace you will have done the groundwork for a central air conditioning later on. The furnaces are mostly installed in the basement or attic of homes.
Go for Energy Star Appliances
The use of electric furnaces is welcomed globally because of their energy savings and their contribution to the prevention of global warming. Remember, today more than ever before, emphasis is on investing in environmentally friendly appliances. You want to be saving money and saving the environment. The idea behind these electric furnaces is to maintain s comfortable temperature in your home. Compare your furnace with those that consume fossil fuels and you will see that your furnace is economical to operate.
Of course the operation of your furnace will depend on the thermostat. The thermostat is set at a certain temperature, and when the temperature inside your home falls below a certain temperature, the thermostat will sense this. Electric furnaces are extremely efficient, with an efficiency rating of 95% – 100%.
You want to make sure your furnace is en Energy Star appliance. They have strict guidelines to follow which are set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. When you see that an appliance is an Energy Star product, you can be sure you are getting a product which is more energy efficient than usual. The annual fuel utilization efficiency or AFUE should always have ratings of at least 85 or 90 percent. Always take into account how much noise you can put up with when you buy a furnace. Always look out for a variable-speed or two-speed furnace because then you are not likely to be bothered by noise
Remember the old furnaces? They used to work with fossil fuels and this in itself used to cause quite a bit of pollution because harmful gases were released into the air. The beauty of these furnaces is that they do not pollute the environment. The electricity consumption of the electric furnaces can also be controlled with the help of the thermostat. Modern electronics have also enabled the development of electric furnaces with low energy consumption.
Electric Furnaces have Safety on their Side
Electricity may be slightly higher in cost than gas or oil for instance, but it has many other benefits for the homeowner. With an electric furnace you are never going to have to worry about dangerous gas or oil leaks, and having the thing explode in your home causing serious injury or even death. Electric furnaces don’t produce dangerous gases so you never have to worry about carbon monoxide.
An important part of your furnace is the heating coil, which turns hot when electric current is passed through it. The coil then heats the temperature of the air around it, and this air is then blown through a blower and into the chilly house. The cold air in the house replaces the hot air in the electric furnace. Some furnaces also take in cold air from the atmosphere outside. Once the home reaches a certain level of being heated, the thermostat will shut off the furnace.
Energy Efficiency is about Proper Sizing
Remember that a furnace needs to be properly sized if you want it to be energy efficient. The way your home is constructed as well as its insulation is unique to your home and will affect furnace sizing. You can just imagine that an over-sized furnace is going to cost you. Proper sizing will affect the durability and efficient operation of your furnace. You can also pay for a heat loss analysis which will calculate house heat loss. Sometimes governments will subsidize house testing.
Our Total Comfort Tune-Up is a professional cleaning, adjustment and safety check that is performed on all types of heating equipment to help maintain peak performance, safety and reliable operation.
Getting the right electric furnace is important because you want to be saving on your electric bills while having a home you feel comfortable in. Quality and price are also key factors when it comes to knowing which furnace to buy. Remember to compare the warranties of each furnace you are considering, and always look for electrical furnaces with heat exchanger warranties of 20 years or more. If you have friends who have furnaces, check out which ones they have and if they are satisfied with the particular brand they have chosen. You can also always go the website of the different manufacturers and read on-line reviews on the one you are considering.
A furnace is important if you live in chilly areas, and with careful research it won’t mean breaking the bank to own one or cost a lot of money to run. Always look out for the more energy-efficient models and get a heat-loss analysis done to ensure you have a cost effective heating appliance attending to the temperature needs of your home.