Furnaces

Gas furnaces are the most common type of heating system we service and install in the Philadelphia area.  If your furnace is making odd sounds or struggling to keep you warm this winter, contact us to set up an appointment with one of our service technicians.  Our HVAC service company in Philadelphia works on all makes and models of gas furnaces.  Despite advances in safety features in today’s furnaces, manufacturers and industry experts alike recommend annual maintenance on gas furnaces to ensure the system is operating properly and at maximum efficiency.  Contact the W.F. Smith service department today if you haven’t had a check up for a few years or if you’d like to get more information about our annual maintenance program.

Features and Options

There are two classes of gas furnaces available, chimney-vented or direct-vented.  Chimney vented furnaces are 80% AFUE, meaning that 80% of the heat generated goes into your ductwork system and 20% of the heat goes up the chimney.  Direct vented furnaces are between 93-98% AFUE.  Since the exhaust gases for these furnaces have very little heat in them, they cannot be vented up the chimney and instead use an exhaust fan with PVC piping directly to the outside through a wall or the roof.

If you are considering replacing your furnace, contact W.F. Smith Heating and Air Conditioning to arrange an appointment with one of our gas furnace experts so that we can help you evaluate which option is best for you.   Unlike some contractors who try to sell one system to every homeowner, we are happy to provide you with several options and help you calculate the expected annual savings to determine if the higher efficiency systems are worth the added investment based on your usage.

Within each class of gas furnaces, there are additional features to consider:

Multi-Stage or Variable Heating systems are becoming more and more common today.  A two-stage system basically works at about 60% of capacity when the system first turns on and only goes up to full capacity when needed.  This feature does not really reduce gas usage, but it can certainly make you feel more comfortable since you aren’t being blasted with full speed heat every single time the system kicks on.  The variable heating systems can essentially offer up to 65 stages, at 1% increments, so the system can deliver exactly the right amount of heat to maintain even temperatures throughout the house.

Everyone, with whom I had personal or telephone contact, was agreeable, helpful and informative. Justin was the service person who initially diagnosed the problem, and represented Smith’s during the sales transaction. Shelly was my telephone contact, and Bill and Aaron…

Variable speed or high efficiency furnace fans provide a reduction in the electric usage for both heating and air conditioning.  The benefits of a variable speed fan are numerous, but the top two reasons to consider them are actually air conditioning related – better dehumidification and higher SEER (air conditioning efficiency).  Systems with these fan upgrades typically qualify for rebates, including the PECO, EAP and/or manufacturer programs.  If installing a zoned system, some manufacturer’s systems allow us to dial in exact air flow rates with a variable speed furnace to ensure optimal efficiency and quiet operation.

FAQs

How do I switch my heating system to natural gas?

If you have natural gas in your home already, switching is relatively easy – just call us today to set an appointment with one of our gas heating experts.  If you do not have gas yet, we can help you inquire with either PECO (suburbs) or PGW (city) to determine if natural gas is available to your home and the costs of bringing the gas service into your home.  In many cases, the ROI of switching from oil or propane to natural gas can be just a few heating seasons.

I thought they made high efficiency furnaces the standard in Pennsylvania?

The Department of Energy had tried to enact Regional Standards that would have taken effect in 2013, but industry groups sued them and the enforcement has been delayed.  The DOE had developed these standards without consulting industry groups so they did not understand the complications that make high-efficiency furnaces extremely costly, or next to impossible, to install in some homes (notably condos, row homes, and homes with finished basements).