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Why Should I Upgrade a Working Furnace?

Why Should I Upgrade a Working Furnace?
January 8, 2010 Aaron Goldfeder

I came across a great post earlier by Sean O’Rear at A Closer Home Inspection that addresses an energy efficiency debate that seemed to arise at every holiday party I attended the past few weeks, “Why should I replace my old furnace that works?”:

What the heck is with an old furnace anyway? Man – they built them to last for – FREAKING – ever in the 1970’s.  I guess they figured that gas would always be cheap and that new technology would pass furnaces by. Well – not true. A furnace built in 1970 was about 60%-65% efficient versus today’s 95% efficient models.

My favorite part is the calculation of how much money is going up the furnace flue. Furnaces built in the 1970’s are typically about 60 – 65% efficient. This means that for every dollar that you spend on fuel, 40 cents is, according to Sean, flying up the flue. I translated this to being only 60% comfortable for every dollar I spend heating my home. While my quick interpretation wouldn’t pass academic statistical muster…. Brr! Ideally, I’d like to be at least 95% comfortable for every dollar I spend.

What is especially great about this post, however, is how Sean walks his reader through the rebate process when upgrading to energy efficient models. He talks about the different sources of rebates and how that helps homeowners mitigate the upfront costs of upgrading. Even if you don’t live in Springfield, this is a great post because it gives you an idea about the type of knowledge your contractor should have as well as the steps you’ll go through to get all the energy efficiency rebates that can apply to your project.

While the energy rebate process can be cumbersome at times, many contractors can help you fill out the paperwork and double check that you’ve completed everything correctly. And it’s worth it! In Sean’s example, the homeowner recovered nearly half of the installation expense (furnace + install). More and more rebates are popping up all the time, so it’s good to check for the latest energy rebates available in your area.

With all the winter weather headed our way, it’s a great time to figure out how to be more comfortable while we cozy up indoors!