The heating and cooling system in your home is one of the most important long-term choices you will make. The old oil furnaces that last 40 to 50 years (and have no energy efficiency) may no longer exist, but your heating and cooling system should last around 15 to 20 years. So you should really think about all aspects that figure into choosing the right heating system for you. In addition to the initial investment, you must consider energy efficiency, required maintenance, and warranty when making your decision. In this post, we’ll examine some of the factors that you should consider.
The first thing that you need to consider is the climate where you live. In Wisconsin, we have harsh winters and hot summers. All of Wisconsin is in Zone 5 of the Heating Climate Zone map, and the further north you go, the colder it gets (usually). That means that you probably need between 50 to 60 BTUs per square foot. (https://www.inchcalculator.com/calculate-btus-to-heat-home/)
The landscape that surrounds your home has tremendous impact on the kind of furnace that you will need. Are you situated in a clearing on a hill with views of a valley? Or are you nestled in a grove of trees? Or are you part of a housing development with neighbors on either side? The permutations can be endless; but the geography your house occupies will influence how much energy is needed to heat your home, and how efficiently it can be maintained.
Finally, there’s your home itself. It will be no surprise to you that a new build will have better insulation and tighter windows than an older home. If your home gets a lot of natural sunlight, that’s another factor that needs consideration. The experts at Quality Home Heating can conduct an analysis of your home’s thermal envelope. A thermal envelope is “everything about the house that serves to shield the living space from the outdoors” (National Renewable Energy Laboratory). It includes the wall and roof assemblies, insulation, air/vapor retarders, windows, weatherstripping, and caulking .
The choices in heating and cooling are many and varied. There are two basic kinds of systems: split and packaged. A split system is more typical with a condensing unit, furnace, and coil. A packaged system is an all-in-one heating and cooling system where an outdoor unit contains all the parts. If you’re building a new house, all options are open to you. If you’re looking to replace an existing furnace, you may need to go with the more conventional choice.
Fuel Source and More
Then there’s the fuel source. You may not have a choice about that, but if you do, we can talk you through oil, natural gas, and more. Ductless systems are also available now. Some systems allow you to claim a tax credit for the purchase and installation of Qualified Energy Property. And then there are the numbers. In addition to AFUE, different units have SEER numbers (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), and HSPF numbers (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). It can become a confusing maze of too much information.
One of the professionals at Quality Home Heating can perform a Manual J load calculation to confirm the system size you need in your particular home. This calculation takes your entire home into account — from square footage to window efficiency to external geography. Give us a call; we’ll make sure you get the right furnace for your home.