A Day in the Life: New Furnace

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The new furnace is scheduled to arrive Tuesday.

The selection process actually started several months ago. At that time we expected that it was time to replace the equipment. My first step was to consult Consumer Reports.

The degree of similarity between manufacturers’ offerings is one reason this report does not include Ratings of furnaces by brand. The most important steps in selecting a furnace, we think, are to ensure that the unit’s specifications fit your needs, that it is bought from a contractor who installs it well, and that it’s adequately maintained. Our survey results help confirm that view: When we asked about the most common reasons for service calls for furnaces, about twice as many contractors we surveyed cited human error–inadequate maintenance, for example, or improper installation–as cited defective equipment.

The first decision point was product. We reviewed the popular brands, which included Carrier, Lennox, etc. All the contractors we spoke with recommended the Carrier as the best product on the market. So this is what we went with.

An Inside view of the Infinity 96 Gas Furnace

The next decision point was the selection of high or mid range efficiency. Two factors came into play here: reliability, and cost. First, Consumer Reports indicated that High-efficiency furnaces tended to have lower reliability, aside from a higher entry prices. Meanwhile, the experience of all the contractors we spoke with did not confirm this opinion.

In terms of cost, while a high efficiency furnace had a higher entry price this difference could be paid back in about five years. Given the current environment of increasing fuel prices, we selected the high-efficiency furnace.

Estimated savings based on our previous fuel consumption.  Our old furnace was about 50% efficient; the new one is about 95%

My calculations, as shown in the table above, suggested we could save about $500/year in gas over our current furnace. Further saving are expected as a result of reduced consumption of electricity, which I did not calculate.

The last sequence of decisions involved the add-ons: air cleaner, humidifier and thermostat. There was really no question about the first two: they are needed. However, we could keep our existing thermostat. But in the end we opted for a new one. It was the gizmo factor that swung the day.

Infinity Control: The Ultimate in Technology for Comfort Control

“The revolutionary Infinity® System is the only system in the industry that allows you to control temperature, humidity, air quality, fan speed, ventilation; and even detects when your air filter needs replacing. It’s so advanced it automatically adjusts to your system’s needs for peak-efficiency and performance.”

  • View your system performance at the touch of a button, 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the industry’s largest, easy-to-read LCD screen.
  • TrueSense dirty filter detection reminds you when it’s time to change your media filter. And when you add a humidifier, germicidal UV lamps or ventilators, the Infinity Control also reminds you for their routine maintenance.
  • One control adjusts a furnace or fan coil, air conditioner or heat pump as well as controls optional accessories such as zoning, humidifiers, ultraviolet lights and filtration products.
  • Up to 8 zones are supported with the Infinity Zone Control model.

Thank God for gizmos that make an otherwise mundane decision into an exciting one. I’m looking forward to Tuesday.


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