Today, new furnaces are generally between 80-96% efficient. If a furnace is 96% efficient, it simply means that 96% of the energy that goes into the furnace is converted into heat. Older furnaces in 15+-year-old homes, can be as low as 60% efficient. Thus, upgrading to a 96% efficient furnace can reduce heating bills by 30% or more.
Typically, in colder weather states such as Wisconsin, a 90%+ efficiency furnace is recommended. The only exception is in vacation homes that are not occupied for extended periods of time during the winter. Many people do not realize that there are options in the types of furnace fans that are available. The furnace fan runs anytime the heating or cooling system is conditioning the air. However, many people choose to run their fan continually. This provides a constant filtration of the air, providing considerably better indoor air quality for you to breathe.
Additionally, running the fan all of the time will help even out the temperatures between rooms and provide a constant air flow which results in a much more comfortable living environment. A single speed fan costs approximately $210/year to run continually, where a variable speed fan costs approximately $30/year to run continually. Additionally, a variable speed fan is much quieter and provides a more gradual increase airflow.
Bob Beisbier, owner of BK Home Inspection, is a Certified Master Home Inspector who has been providing professional and thorough home inspections in southeast Wisconsin for over 12 years. Bob is Infrared certified, DILHR Certified, and provides Home Energy Tune-ups, Environmental Data Reports, Pre-sale Home Inspections and Pre-offer Home Inspections.