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Fall Is Time To Consider If You Need To Replace Your Furnace.

Hi-E Furnace —  Is It Worth The Extra $ In DFW? — Part 1 Of 2

This Is Part-1 Of A 2-Part Article.  Click Here For Part-2: Hi-E Furnace – Part-2

This Article Discusses If An High Efficiency (Hi-E) Gas Furnace Can Lower Heating Costs enough to justify the upgrade charge in DFW.    Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

NOTE: This article is location-specific — it applies only to DFW and locations further south.

Al’s also provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs, and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Plano, TX; Allen, TX, and Frisco, TX.  We service all homes in northern Dallas County, TX; northern Tarrant County, TX; and southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.  Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

 

electric furnace

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 SHOWN: High-Efficiency Furnaces Have Plastic Exhaust-Vent Pipes — because the exhaust is much cooler than a Standard Efficiency Furnace.

When Replacing A Gas Furnace In DFW — There Are Two Choices:

  • Standard Efficiency:  80% efficient.  20% of the heat generated goes up the flue.
  • Energy-Codes require an 80% furnace in the southern U.S.
  • Hi-E Furnace 90 — 98% efficient.  Only 2-10% of the heat generated goes out the flue.
  • Energy-Codes require a furnace’s efficiency to be at least 90% in the northern U.S.

 

How To Decide If A Hi-E Furnace Is Worth The Upgrade-Cost For Your DFW Home 

close up photo of gas furnace flames

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  • Home Advisor states the upgrade charge from Std. Efficiency (80%) to a Hi-E Furnace (90-95%) is +$500–$1,500. *7
  • The upgrade charge is based on the furnace’s BTU heating capacity.
  • Ask your contractor for the upgrade charge before deciding.
  • Total your last 12 months gas bills.
  • Note: You don’t need to adjust for gas: cooking, water heating, or clothes dryer — as those numbers remain the same.
  • Multiply the total gas bills by 10-15%– based on the increased efficiency of the Hi-E Furnace over an 80% efficient furnace.
  • Multiply the annual savings by 15 (years) — the expected lifespan of a furnace in DFW = 15 years.
  • Compare The Upgrade Charge TO The 15-Year Savings.
  • Choose What Costs You Less.

-OR- Perhaps It’s Better To Spend The Hi-E Furnace Upgrade-Cost On Energy-Saving Upgrades For The Home — Especially Attic Insulation To R-38.

  • Energy-Saving Upgrades lower both heating & cooling costs.  We’ll detail the primary upgrades below.

*7 Source: https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/heating-and-cooling/gas-furnace-prices/

 

What Does A Hi-E Furnace Do Differently?

hi-e gas furnace

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Shown: High E Furnace

A Hi-E furnace removes much of the heat from the exhaust gasses.   That is done by routing the exhaust gasses through a 2nd Heat-Exchanger.  This 2nd Heat  Exchanger removes most of the heat from the exhaust — and sends that heat into the home.  Depending on the; Brand, Model & Grade of the furnace — as little as 2% of the heat made goes up the flue.  90% furnaces are most common because they’re required in the northern U.S.

Because the exhaust gasses are so cool, High E furnaces are vented through a plastic pipe.  When 2 plastic pipes are present (which is typical) — the furnace draws air for combustion from outdoors — versus the air being pulled from the furnace’s environment.  With an attic installation, the outdoor combustion-air intake feature doesn’t add to fuel savings.  If the furnace is located within the heated living space of the home, additional savings are created by using outside air for combustion — versus using the home’s heated indoor air for combustion.

 

One Feature Of A Hi-E Furnace Has Nothing To Do With Energy Efficiency

Hi-E Furnaces Are Much Quieter Than 80% Furnaces (details below).

If A furnace Is Within Living Space — This Benefit May Be Very Desirable.

 

Click Here To See A Diagram Of  A Hi-E Gas Furnace: High-E Gas Furnace Diagram

(The Secondary Heat Exchanger Is Identified On The Left Side Of The Image, Near The Center)

 

A Hi-E (90% +) furnace is considerably quieter than an 80% furnace.   Nearly all Hi-E furnaces draw combustion-air in from outdoors — and their combustion-chamber is closed.   Take a look at the High-E furnace above — the front panels are solid.  With an 80% furnace —  you will hear additional noises because the front panel has openings to draw in air for combustion.  This panel is directly in front of the furnace’s combustion-chamber.  The furnace just below shows those vents.

old gas furnace

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This furnace has an open / vented front panel.  This is where the furnace draws combustion-air into the combustion-chamber directly behind the panel.

photo of properly working gas burners in a gas furnace

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You can see the burners and flames through the vent-holes.

 

Every Furnace Makes These Noises

1. Every new furnace has a small fan (called an “inducer fan”) — that pushes the exhaust-gasses out of the furnace to outdoors.  This fan runs the entire time the burners are running — and is required because the exhaust gasses are too cool to rise up the flue on their own.

2. When the burners light — this is the 2nd sound.

3. Shortly after the burners light — the 3rd sound is the blower-fan running.

With a High-E furnace — you won’t hear the first two sounds — because they’re inside a closed-off combustion-chamber.  You’ll hear the blower-fan with every furnace.

Click Here For A YouTube Video Where You Can Typical Hear Furnace Noises: Furnace Noises

  • Hear the inducer fan turn on (at time: 0:29 / 3:04)
  • Hear the burners light (at time: 1:18 / 3:04)
  • Hear the noise reduction when the Hi-E furnace’s solid front panel is put back in place (at time 1:50 / 3:04)
  • Note: That solid panel has no effect on the blower-fan’s noise.
  • Furnace manufactures are tight-lipped about how much noise their furnaces make.
  • Many say their furnaces make less noise due to special features — but there are no details for the amount of noise reduction.

Outside / Fresh Air Intakes For Furnace Closets Within Living Space

  • If a gas furnace is located inside a closet in older DFW homes — the closet door has openings for combustion-air to pass through.
  • *** If you install a Hi-E furnace — you can replace that door with a solid one (or cover the vents on the inside of the door) — and dramatically reduce the noise heard while the blower-fan is running.

louvered door

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Shown: A Louvered Door Allows Air To Pass Through For The Furnace’s Combustion-Air.  

 

*** NOTE:  In many municipalities — outside-air intake(s) must be installed when a new 80% furnace is installed.

If you live in one of these cities — you can replace (or cover) the furnace-closet door with a solid door once a new 80% furnace is installed.

Click Below To See Outside (fresh) Air-Intakes Installed In A Water Heater Closet.  The intakes would look similar for a gas furnace.

Outside / Fresh Air Intakes Provide Air For Combustion

 

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This Is Part-1 Of A 2-Part Article

This Article Discussed If A High-Efficiency Gas Furnace Can Lower Heating Costs enough to justify the extra charge — In DFW NOTE: This article is location-specific — it applies only to DFW and locations further south.  Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs, and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Richardson, TX; Garland, TX, and northeastern Dallas, TX.  We service all homes in northern Dallas County, TX; northern Tarrant County, TX; and southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.  Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.