Installing a Furnace? What Other Equipment Should You Have?

Published on: February 24, 2014

Selecting and installing a furnace is an important undertaking that should be thoroughly explored to find the best system for your needs, budget and climate. Keep in mind that add-on components and equipment deserve equal consideration as part of an energy-efficient forced-air system that keeps your home comfortable and your energy bills manageable.

Comfort and Performance

A home is a system comprised of inter-linking systems that must work together in order to leverage the greatest potential of energy efficiency and home comfort for its occupants. That’s why add-on equipment for your new furnace is a valuable investment that pays back in comfort and performance. Consider the benefits of these systems:

  • Zoning – A zoning system helps distribute heated and cooled airflow evenly through the living spaces, and restricts airflow as needed to zones that don’t need heating and cooling based on your thermostat settings. This is achieved by a network of automatic duct doors (dampers) and thermostats that control the duct doors in each zone.
  • Humidifier – Dry air creates a host of issues for health and comfort. Dry skin can become chapped, and sore throats and fatigue are common due to dehydration. A whole-house humidifier mitigates these issues throughout the home. As heated air circulates through the air ducts, it picks up moisture at the humidifier. A humidistat regulates humidity levels by opening and closing automatic duct doors, and water feed and drainage are managed by a plumbing connection. This add on is especially useful during a furnace replacement since in-home humidity levels tend to drop when heaters are in use.
  • Dehumidifier – Excessive indoor humidity is an issue in many parts of the Southeast U.S. during the cooling months. Just as too little moisture can cause issues inside the home, too much moisture creates problems with comfort, home structure and possessions. Like a whole-house humidifier, a whole-house dehumidifier attaches to the ductwork. You may choose a powered dehumidifier so that you may run the system without running the air conditioning to save energy.
  • Thermostats – Programmable thermostats offer a convenient way to boost home comfort and save energy. Awaken in the morning to comfortable temperatures, and automatically save energy through the day while you’re at work by programming turn-back/turn-up periods. The federal Energy Star program states that you can substantially reduce your energy bill this way. Try to schedule eight-hour turn-back/turn-up periods (including sleeping hours).
  • WiFi thermostats – WiFi thermostats use the latest technologies for remote access, control and monitoring of the new furnace installation and other compatible home-comfort systems by using a smartphone app or online computer.

Indoor Air Quality

Air filtration is a key component of healthful indoor air quality. Forced-air systems are designed with an air filter slot, which typically holds a one-inch-thick filter in place. An air filter helps protect components and household occupants from dust, allergens, viruses, auto emissions and more. How effective a filter is often depends on its quality.

Consider these options for air filtration:

  • Filter – Air filters rated MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 7 to 13 remove allergens, many viruses and bacteria, mold and dust-mite parts. While standard residential filters are rated MERV 1-16, avoid filter in the MERV 1-4 category, as these do very little to help capture airborne contaminants. On the other hand, filters in the MERV 13-16 may impede air flow, and require system modifications.  Some homeowners split the difference and choose a mid- to high-efficiency air filter (MERV 7-12).
  • HEPA – An air filter rated MERV 17-20 is a true HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. HEPA filters are very thick, and require special installation by your HVAC tech. Many HEPA systems include a combination of air-cleaning accessories, such as a carbon filter and electrostatic air cleaner.

Home Safety Considerations

Safety must be considered with any furnace installation. Your HVAC technician should install and test carbon monoxide (CO) detectors on each floor of living space near or inside the bedrooms. CO detectors are also recommended near the garage access door if you park an automobile inside the garage.

Many advanced components of high-efficiency furnaces are designed to provide safe and efficient operation while minimizing the risk of CO contamination in the home. These are a few:

  • Sidewall venting – Direct venting supplies outside air for fuel combustion, and provides a second plastic pipe for venting exhaust gases from the home. Sidewall venting requires special knowledge by your HVAC technician for proper installation regarding draining acidic condensate and location of the venting piping.
  • Sealed combustion – A sealed combustion chamber receives direct air intake. This system of isolating combustion air from household air virtually eliminates the possibility of furnace back-drafting inside the home.

If you have any questions about furnace equipment to boost comfort and efficiency in your home, please contact us to find an HVAC contractor in your part of the Southeast U.S.