Buying a new furnace: try a heat pump?

Q. Our oil forced-air furnace has to be replaced, due to its age. Where can we get the most current information regarding new furnaces with emphasis on high mileage per fuel gallon? We also are interested in heat-pump possibilities. Where can we get information on them? Jo Anne Feringer Bellingham, Washington

A. As to where to get current information on new furnaces, consider the federal government's "labeling" program.

This program provides the consumer either with labeled equipment data or an accompanying fact sheet that contains the seasonal efficiency of the particular product and the range of similar product efficiencies.

The data should soon be available as a result of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1976.

Ask your senator or congressman for the information, consult equipment manufacturers or dealers, or write to the Department of Energy, Consumer Product Efficiency Branch, Washington, D.C.

"I have found oil-fired equipment to have an average seasonal efficiency of 78 percent, while gas-fired equipment has an average seasonal efficiency of 61 percent," writes Gregg Butler, an engineer with the National Oil Jobbers Council.

For heat-pump information and comparisons, contact any national manufacturer, such as Carrier, Lennox, General Electric, etc. Each of them should have plenty of technical information on heat pumps.

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