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Five Questions Answered About Furnaces

We all rely on furnaces to keep up toasty during cold weather and like most things we really don’t think about them until they stop working properly. Then we realize how little we really know about our furnace and furnaces in general. To increase your furnace knowledge and help you be more comfortable making furnace-related decisions, here are answers to some of your questions. 

Furnace Efficiency questions and answers for homeowners in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer Alberta
Tips Five Questions About Furnaces

Our trained Comfort Advisors are available to come to your house and complete a free heating consultation. They will walk you through all the factors you need to consider for your new furnace and thoroughly answer all your questions. Based on your needs, wants, and budget, our Comfort Advisors will provide you with various furnace and heating plan options. With their guidance and input, you will be able to select the best furnace for you and your family’s heating needs.

What does an AFUE rating mean?

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This is used to measure your furnace’s efficiency. The rating number is the percentage of how much fossil fuel your furnace converts into usable heat. The scale ranges from 30 – 100 (a furnace with a rating below 30 would be useless). It represents the actual season-long average efficiency of the furnace.

In Canada, the minimum AFUE requirement for new furnaces is 90, with different ratings required for different types of furnaces. A furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 converts 90% of the fuel into usable heat and the remaining 10% is expelled through the exhaust. However, if you don’t clean your furnace and keep it properly maintained, you will lower your furnace’s AFUE. 

What size furnace do I need?

There are many factors that go into determining the size of furnace you need. Your climate, the size of your house, the number of windows, the condition of your duct work, and your home’s insulation are some of the factors. A home in Red Deer will need a larger furnace than a home in Southern BC.

To get the most accurate size of furnace, please call a professional to do a thorough assessment and calculation. Professionals use the Manual J Load calculation to determine your furnace needs. This calculation is very detailed and includes many factors.

A final consideration, when buying your new furnace you need to take the furnace’s AFUE rating into consideration. A 40,000 BTU furnace with a AFUE rating of 90 puts out 36,000 BTUs. So if you need 40,000 BTUs and the furnace you are buying has a 90 AFUE rating, you will need to purchase a 45,000 BTU furnace. 

Can my furnace impact my indoor air quality?

Yes. An old furnace can leak carbon monoxide into your house. Carbon monoxide is colourless and odorless and is a by-product of combustion. Carbon monoxide in your home can be fatal. It is a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector in your house. You can pick one up at your local hardware store, they are usually located with the smoke detectors.

Older furnaces can also stop properly moisturizing and cleaning the air. If you notice an increase in static electricity and allergy symptoms, your furnace could be to blame. Regular maintenance lowers the chance of your furnace negatively impacting your indoor air quality. 

What does a furnace filter do?

The main purpose of a furnace filter is to protect your furnace from all the hair, dust, allergens, and pollutants in your house. It also stops these items from entering your furnace, your ducts and from finally circulating throughout your home. 

How often do I need to change my furnace filters?

At a minimum every three months. However, if they are very dirty, you should change them more frequently.

These are just a few of the questions we get asked about furnaces. Stay tuned, we will answer more in the future. 

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