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5 Things to Consider When Choosing a New Heating System

Heating System Types

Installing a new HVAC system in Easley, SC, is a long-term investment in your home’s indoor comfort and efficiency. You should consider replacing any heat pump or boiler older than 10 years to increase the efficiency of your HVAC system. When shopping for a new heating system, consider factors such as efficiency, sizing and incentives.

AFUE Ratings for Furnaces and Boilers

Manufacturers show the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) on the boiler or furnace EnergyGuide label. This rating shows the efficiency of the heating system in different seasons throughout the year. According to the Federal Trade Commission, all new boilers and furnaces will bear the AFUE label to help you compare the energy efficiency of different units.

Non-condensing gas furnaces have a minimum AFUE rating of 78% with mobile home furnaces having a minimum of 75%. Condensing boilers and furnaces offer a minimum AFUE rating of 80%. Most condensing furnaces have a higher AFUE rating than non-condensing boilers and furnaces.

Condensing gas furnaces and boilers use the energy of the water vapor to preheat the water or air in the boiler. This ensures that the boiler recovers the energy used to boil the water, making the systems more efficient. Non-condensing furnaces and boilers operate at high temperatures to prevent condensation of the water vapor as it can cause corrosion.

Some modern heating systems can achieve as much as 98.5% efficiency, while older systems range between 56% and 70%. You can also look at the ENERGY STAR label when shopping for an efficient boiler or furnace.

HSPF and SEER Ratings for Heat Pumps

Heat pump manufacturers show the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) and seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) ratings on the pump’s EnergyGuide label. HSPF shows the efficiency of a heat pump during the normal heating season, while SEER ratings show the efficiency of a heat pump during a normal cooling season.

HSPF measures the efficiency of the electric resistance elements and the compressor. Modern heat pumps have a minimum HSPF of 8.2 and a minimum SEER rating of 15. High HSPF and SEER ratings show that the heating system consumes less energy to sufficiently heat your home.

Sizing the Heating System

Professionals consider several factors to determine the correct size of a home heating system, such as:

  • Local climate.
  • Orientation of your home.
  • Insulation levels.
  • Location and type of the windows.
  • Size of the rooms.
  • Age and number of occupants.
  • Types of home appliances that emit heat.

A professional will also consider your heating and cooling preferences. To correctly size a heating system, a professional needs to inspect the entire home and look at seals, joints and insulation. After collecting the data, a professional can use a written calculation procedure or a computer program to calculate the size of the system needed.


Some energy-efficient heating systems qualify you for tax incentives. Check the Tax Incentives Assistance Project website for energy-efficient heat pumps that qualify you for tax incentives.


Heating systems can draw power from electricity, natural gas or propane. Consider the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of the fuel. The higher the rating, the more heat a furnace generates relative to the amount of fuel consumed.

When shopping, consider the amount of fuel consumed compared to the heat produced. For instance, electricity produces 3,412 BTUs per kWh, while a cubic foot of natural gas generates 1,015 BTUs. Natural gas is the most common heating fuel, thanks to its high HSPF, and used in about 57% of American homes.

New heating systems feature advanced technologies such as variable-speed motors that you need to understand when shopping. A professional can help you make sense of these technologies and pick the right system for your home. Call McGee Heating & Air Inc. today with any questions you may have on heating systems and for furnace installation.

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