It’s payback time

Published 7:21 pm Friday, October 14, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Vigilant/Argus
DOWAGIAC - Yes, at $2,400 to $4,200, a furnace is a major investment.
Virgil Lovelace sells them and he knows &#8221that's the last thing people want to put a lot of money into.
He and his wife Candy own Dowagiac Heating and Air Conditioning, an Amana dealer on M-51 north of Dowagiac.
Lovelace has been in business for more than 20 years, 11 years at their current location, which is also a SEMCO service center.
People who were on the fence before now want to know, &#8221Can you get it in this week?“;
Furnaces he sells come to Cass County from Grand Rapids. His business covers an area &#8221from Three Oaks (in Berrien County to the west) to Three Rivers (in St. Joseph County to the east). That meant putting 1,100 miles on the van last week.
Amana's 96-percent AFUE two-stage, variable-speed furnace looks as compact as a dish washer - not an octopus crouched in an old &#8221Michigan basement.“;
It is designed to minimize temperature swings that can occur from floor-to-ceiling and room-to-room.
A furnace's most critical component is its heat exchanger.
Amana relies on its patented and durable &#8221Million-Air.“; Its &#8221SureStart“; ignition system, another critical component, is comprised of a rugged silicon nitride igniter and a patented adaptive learning algorithm.
This furnace's two-stage heating technology and variable-speed blower insure ongoing room-to-room and floor-to-ceiling temperature consistency while achieving one of the best energy efficiency levels around.
Its auto-comfort mode helps insure maximum dehumidification and energy efficiency during every season.
We have full replacement now,“; Lovelace said.
That means if the heat exchanger ever failed, the customer would not be provided a new heat exchanger, but a new furnace.
After product safety and durability, most new furnace buyers are concerned about energy efficiency.
A furnace's efficiency can primarily be determined by two factors.
One is its AFUE rating (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), which indicates what percentage of each dollar of natural gas purchased is actually used in the furnace.
The variable-speed blower is another efficiency feature.
Most days, the blower runs 90 percent of the time on a low-fire setting, producing just 25 percent of the high-fire sound.
The low constant setting can use as little energy to run as a 75-watt light bulb.
As the furance runs in low-heat capacity, the unit is able to maintain even warmth throughout the house, without high-heat surges.
The circulating blower in a furnace plays a role in temperature control in your home year-round - even during cooling season. When the thermostat calls for your heating and air conditioning system to cool, electronic auto-comfort technology increases and decreases the blower's speed gradually to achieve optimal efficiency, maximum dehumidification and ultra-quiet operation.
The furnace only ramps to full speed if required, and then will slowly ramp down to wring out every bit of cooling energy from the coil and to dehumidify the home.
Lovelace got in the business from Advance Sheet Metal.