A knowledgeable HVAC contractor will size your new furnace (and air conditioner too) to match the size of your home and existing ducts. “Bigger” is not better, and “right size” is best! Furnace size is based on the number of BTUs it outputs. If the furnace too large for a home, it short-cycles. This means it turns on and runs very briefly to heat your home rapidly before shutting down. Running frequently for very short periods of time is hard on a furnace and can cause it to fail prematurely or require repairs. It also means higher energy bills. A properly sized furnace will turn on and stay on for a while to bring your home to the desired temperature, then shut down.
It’s important to have a clean furnace air filter all year long! In the summer, a dirty filter may reduce the flow of cooled air into your rooms. It can also increase your electric bills as the unit works harder, or cause the unit to wear out prematurely, or require a service call if the coil ices up. If your air conditioning is not cooling, it’s a good idea to check (and change, if necessary) the filter. You just might save yourself a service call.
A customer recently asked me what kind of thermostat she should get. There are several types of thermostats available these days, ranging from low to high tech.
First, there’s the non-programmable thermostat that’s been around for decades. It usually has a round dial, but some now have LED displays. With this thermostat, you must manually set the temperature up and down, typically in the morning and evening. Next, the programmable thermostat offers the convenience of 7 day programming from a touch screen or buttons on the device. These can be a bit tedious to program, but after it’s set up you’re good to go. You can step up to a Wi-Fi programmable thermostat, if you like the ease of programming from a computer or phone app. This type of thermostat also offers the convenience of monitoring or changing the temperature remotely. Second home owners love this! Finally, there are smart thermostats now that use technologies such as Z-Wave to interact with other smart devices in your home such as garage door openers, lights, outlets, door and window locks, etc. Some thermostats, such as certain models from Nexia, can even act as the control hub for your home’s smart devices.
Any of the programmable thermostats offer the potential of saving up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs, but you have to actually program the device to realize those savings! Studies show that consumers don’t bother, which is why I like to recommend a Wi-Fi thermostat with apps to make the programming a breeze. (In case you wondered, my customer decided to go with the manual programmable thermostat.)