Natural gas is an affordable and relatively safe fuel used in modern HVAC equipment, yet some homeowners worry about using natural gas because it may contribute to harmful chemicals in our environment.
When it comes to heating your home, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of any heating option. So here are a few things to consider when it comes to gas furnaces:
Your Practical Options
Depending upon where you live, you may not need a furnace at all. Heat pumps, electric heaters, radiant heat, and fireplaces provide enough warmth for many families. As a society, we’re used to gas furnaces being a normal feature in most homes, but they’re not always necessary.
Look at your area’s history of weather throughout the colder months. If temperatures rarely dip below 40 degrees, a gas furnace isn’t necessary. They’re more expensive to install, run, and maintain than the alternatives able to handle mild and warm winter weather.
Still, people in colder climates are often forced to rely on natural gas furnaces. If you’d like to maximize how much you get out of your furnace, then, look at its efficiency rating.
According to the National Geographic’s Furnace Buying Guide, the U.S. Department of Energy applies an Energy Star rating to units efficient enough to put at least 85 percent of its fuel use to work heating your home. While heat can still be lost through ducting and the like, the energy and financial savings found in upgrading to a high efficiency unit can more than pay for itself in just a few years’ time.
Comfort and Risk
The comfort provided by modern HVAC equipment really is amazing. Today’s technology allows for multiple climate zones throughout your home, the addition of air purification and humidity additives to normal vent service and thermostats that can both be controlled over your computer or cell phone and predict what temperature you’ll want it to be.
Unfortunately, gas furnaces do pose a few risks. Gas is combustible and toxic. Leaks can seriously impact your health. Also a silent danger, carbon monoxide poisoning results when natural gas burn-off is not vented properly.
Thankfully, a number of products are available to help monitor health problems, and new efficient units minimize environmental impact.
Gas furnaces are among the most popular HVAC equipment purchases for their convenience, affordability, and safety, but you have to fully evaluate your needs before making a final decision.