You can count on IRBIS for professional furnace installation and replacement. But we find many homeowners wonder how our Fremont furnace installation professionals get the job done. There’s a lot to think about; for one, the unit must be properly sized and connected. A unit that’s improperly installed can consume 30% more energy, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).1
Here’s a closer look at furnace installation to help you achieve greater comfort, safety, and efficiency.
Furnace Size Calculation
A licensed technician will use a furnace size calculator to determine the right unit for your home. More technical calculations exist, but here’s a simpler way to do it. In calculating furnace size, you need two things:
- Your Home’s Square Footage
- The Climate Zone You Live In
It’s easy to calculate the square footage of your home. Just measure the length and width of each room and multiply the two; add up the numbers you get for each room to determine the total. The U.S. is divided up into five climate zones. The colder your climate zone, the more British Thermal Units (BTUs) you’ll need. So, if you live in the north, you’ll need a more powerful furnace than if you live farther south. Larger homes also need more BTUs.
Generally, you’ll need anywhere from 30 to 60 BTUs per square foot.2
What to Know When Buying a New Furnace
If you’re buying a new furnace, here are some things you need to know:
- Efficiency: Energy efficiency doesn’t equate to heating output, although a more efficient furnace will use less propane, gas, or electricity, depending on the type of unit. Most furnaces now have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 78%, although units with an AFUE rating between 80% and 85% are not uncommon. On the high end is a 98% AFUE furnace.
- Fuel Type: Depending on the furnace, it can use natural gas, which is efficient and heats homes quickly. Propane provides the same advantages and you don’t need a gas line installed. Durable and quiet, electric furnaces are easy to install and cost-effective to maintain. However, high electricity prices can increase operating costs. For homeowners committed to green energy solutions, there are solar and geothermal furnaces.
- Single-Speed vs. Variable-Speed Blowers: Single-speed blowers run at full capacity when on, while variable-speed blowers can operate at different speeds. This allows control over airflow based on heating demand. It also helps balance humidity and temperature as well as improve air quality.
- Rebates: Rebates are often available for installing a high-efficiency furnace. Installing an energy-efficient system can also earn you a federal tax credit. Your local HVAC company should know whether your furnace is eligible for any type of incentive or rebate. These can save up to several hundred dollars on installation.
- Warranty: Most manufacturers include a 10-year limited parts warranty. Some offer even longer warranties for heat exchangers. Ask your Fremont furnace installation contractor about the details of the warranty before signing any furnace installation or service contract.
Furnace Installation Considerations
In addition to load calculations, sizing, and efficiency ratings, you’ll want to think of the following considerations when installing a new furnace:
- Never install a gas/propane furnace in a bathroom, closet, or other restricted areas. It’s illegal.
- If installing an attic furnace, make sure there are at least five feet between the floor and ceiling.
- An opening of at least 30 x 30 inches should be within 6 meters (roughly 19.7 feet) of the furnace.
- For an underfoot furnace, a light switch should be nearby, while suspended furnaces must have a minimum height of 6 inches between the unit and the floor.
- In most locations in California, you’re required to have a contractor inspect a newly installed furnace.
- If temperatures in your home vary, have an HVAC contractor divide it into zones, each with its own thermostat.
A Look at the Furnace Installation Process
Removing the old furnace is one of the most laborious steps of the process. Your HVAC contractor may charge extra for this service. They may even recycle some components. Once the old unit is removed, here’s how they’ll proceed with the installation:
- Ventilation: Piping and vents will be installed to ensure carbon monoxide and other gasses are vented outside the house.
- Site Preparation: To ensure proper airflow, appliances and other obstacles must be removed and kept at least three feet from the furnace. The installer will also ensure there’s access to an electrical outlet and gas line and verify no combustible materials are nearby.
- Position the Furnace: The furnace must rest on a solid surface, so it won’t move during setup and operation. Location requirements are usually explained in the manufacturer’s documentation. Follow these precisely so the unit works correctly and doesn’t cause any damage.
- Connections: Electrical connections must follow manufacturer guidelines and building codes. The power supply to the circuit should be turned off, then a voltmeter used to test for current before wires and cables are connected. The current load must be below the maximum rating of the circuit breaker.
Gas furnaces must have enough room to prevent clogging and corrosion. They also require the proper pipe fittings. Special attention must be paid to cutting holes in the right locations and making tight enough connections. The length and capacity of the gas line must be precise per the furnace’s requirements.
- Drain Down the Unit: The installer will open the air intake damper to let in cool air. Water should then trickle out of the drain line. The high pressure a furnace operates under means this process won’t take long.
- Test the Furnace: Once the furnace is connected, powering it up is the next step. The contractor will switch it on and wait. It should start running within 10 minutes, while the installer measures intake, airflow, and heating output; listens for noises; and checks that the power-on light stays lit.
Schedule Fremont Furnace Installation Today
At IRBIS, our technicians are extensively trained to install furnaces in Fremont, Menlo Park, Los Altos, Mountain View, Santa Clara, San Jose, and other locations in Northern California. We use a proven furnace installation process and handle every step, from consultation to helping choose and operate custom solutions. Our team obtains city permits, provides a detailed report on the installation, and tests and inspects your new system.