“Going green” is no longer just a catchy phrase for recycling, but a common practice among individuals and corporations alike to conserve energy and move to more renewable and eco-friendly sources. Our hometown of Yuba City has taken strides to conserve energy and save funds by implementing a city-wide energy efficiency and solar power program.
Providing new solar panels, energy-saving lighting, and system controls to city facilities—the focus of this program—is set to not only improve community spaces, but also save the city millions of dollars over the next few decades. This should make Yuba City residents proud and eager to do their part for energy conservation as well. And one of the biggest impacts that citizens can make is by installing energy efficient cooling and heating systems in their homes.
While we may receive more sunshine than the average American city, with snowfall a rare occurrence in winter months, this year’s La Niña has brought a wetter and colder start to winter than usual. That’s why energy-conscious residents that want to save on heating should consider getting a condensing furnace. High-efficiency condensing furnaces are the most efficient way to heat your home and provide the highest level of comfort, even on unexpectedly chilly days in Northern California.
Condensing vs. Conventional Furnaces
Most homeowners in Yuba City have the same requirements for a heating system as the rest of the country—one that heats their home up quickly and doesn’t use a lot of costly energy. A condensing furnace is the solution to both of these needs, especially in a mild climate like ours. They have the highest efficiency rate of any type of furnace with an AFUE of 90%. AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, meaning it extracts as much heat as possible from the combustion process, something conventional furnaces are incapable of accomplishing. To understand why, let’s look at how each furnace works:
- Conventional furnaces: These produce warmth by quickly taking heat from the fuel that powers them and then exhausting the extra gasses made in the process through the flue or vent. This allows for a lot of heat energy to be released into the atmosphere because the heat from the gasses isn’t removed, so you lose some of the potential heat that could be cycled into your home.
- Condensing furnaces: Condensing furnaces work in almost the same way as conventional ones, but have a second heat exchanger that pulls the heat from the condensing gasses typically exhausted by conventional furnaces. Since they’re a little more unconventional, let’s use an unconventional analogy—the spaghetti colander. Conventional furnaces drain the water, ie. extract the heat, sure. But, like when you drain noodles in a colander, they’re still wet. A condensing furnace, then, is like dumping your noodles into a salad spinner to pull off all the excess water available. Condensing furnaces capture almost all the heat produced from both the fuel and the condensing gasses before releasing that heat into your home.
Advantages of Heating with a Condensing Furnace
While we may not live in blizzard country, we get enough cool, winter weather here in Yuba City to require some serious heating a couple months a year. So why not install the best furnace you can find? Whether you’re building a new home in Cresleigh Peaks or replacing an old furnace in your historic downtown building, choosing the right one for your space is critical. The top two reasons to choose a condensing furnace are:
- Increased Comfort: Condensing furnaces heat more quickly, meaning you and your family can warm up on those cold winter nights in minutes instead of waiting for your furnace to heat itself up before it starts warming you.
- Higher Efficiency: Condensing furnaces, as discussed above, have the ability to utilize almost all the fuel from the combustion process to generate heat, meaning very little is given off as bi-product. This saves on both fuel and energy. If you’re concerned not only with conserving energy, but also with saving money on your heating bill, this furnace is your best option.
Condensing Furnaces in Our Northern California Climate
In Yuba City, with over 260 days of sunshine on average each year, 55 more than the rest of the country, it’s easy to dismiss your heating system. But while we experience a lot of hot weather each year, we aren’t exempt from a winter chill. I would argue that because we’re unaccustomed to long periods of cold, we’re often unprepared when a cold spell does hit, making it even more important to have a high-efficiency heating system like a condensing furnace.
In milder climates such as ours, we may have the air conditioner on one day and the heater the next. When switching from cooling to heating within a short period of time, having a high-efficiency system that can produce heat quickly is imperative to not only conserving energy, but saving money on your utility bill.
We have a lot of reasons to be proud of our environmentally forward-thinking city. It feels good to know that residents and city officials alike are working to make Yuba City more energy efficient and conscious. It’s also empowering to know that each and every one of us can make our own contribution by making our homes more energy efficient.
While our city is working to save money through renewable energy and energy conserving systems, we can do the same in our homes. Heating is the biggest consumer of energy in a building, so replacing your furnace with a high-efficiency condensing unit is a big step towards reducing energy usage in your home. Maybe it’s time for you to join in on Yuba City’s focus on energy conservation in your own home.
Energy efficient homes are the way of the future, and if you’re ready to replace yours, contact Bell Brothers for information on a high-efficiency condensing furnace.