Heating a home has changed more than you may have realized over the last 20 years. From being more efficient to taking up less space and giving the homeowner much more control over the temperature – the state of home heating has come a long way since the last time many of us bought a furnace. With so much innovation in home heating over the past 20 years, we’ll take you through what you can now get when you purchase a new HVAC system compared to older furnace models. This ain’t your grandma’s furnace!
Today’s furnace models include powered venting and electronic monitoring of furnace temperatures and pressures that can create a “fail safe” if something were to go wrong. Older furnaces had some inefficiencies and safety issues by relying on a chimney draft for exhaustion, leaving the possibility of a bird, debris or even a frozen combustion air intake to create a blockage and potentially unsafe condition.
This is perhaps the area of greatest change and innovation in heating. The distinct advantage of today’s higher efficient furnaces is comfort.
With two-stage, three-stage and modulating heat – the systems that provide more constant, steady heat versus the ‘on and off’ of a single-stage system – your home stays closer to the set temperature at all times. No more grabbing for the blanket between times that the furnace kicks on!
It’s hard to fully understand the difference with the multi-stage, variable speed furnaces without experiencing them. With warmer outdoor temperatures, heating at a lower stage with a slower fan speed reduces the noise with increasing the efficiency and comfort.
Furnaces with a modulating blower motor allow a quieter and more efficient system by gradually ramping up and ramping down. A microprocessor in the motor even senses the reduced airflow caused by a dirty air filter and increases the airflow to compensate, maintaining efficiency and comfort levels while using as much as 75 percent less power to operate.
Like many other technology-driven items, new furnaces have gotten smaller over the years. Electronic controls and computer-assisted design and manufacturing create shorter units that are easier to substitute in place of older furnaces. It also makes it possible to reposition or move the furnace, depending on the existing ductwork.
Did you hear the heat kick on? Well, you won’t hear it as much with the newer models. Now furnaces have enhancements like insulated panels, quieter motors and baffles to help decrease noise. Besides the comfort bonus of variable heating, the fact that you are getting even heat over a constant time leads to less on/off noise.
Having your home’s temperature set to your “sweet spot” is now easier than ever. With a digital thermostat, you are able to control how warm you want your home to be to a fraction of a degree. Newer digital thermostats have settings that let you heat up your home before you get back from work or step out of bed in the morning – a huge improvement in energy efficiency and comfort compared to older mechanical thermostats. And you can even get thermostats that you can monitor and control from you smart device, like your phone or tablet. So if you turned your thermostat down for when you are on vacation, you can simply turn it up when you are on your way home and it will be nice and warm when you get there.