A Buyer’s Guide When Looking for a Furnace


Your home’s furnace keeps you warm and comfortable in the coldest weather. However, even the best furnaces can become inefficient over time and fail to heat well. Inefficient heating systems can also increase your utility bills. Dozens of excellent replacement models can solve these issues, but how do you know which is best for you? The final choice will depend on your preferences, but there are factors that also ensure you make a wise investment.

There Are Different Kinds of Furnaces 

Before shopping for a furnace, think about what type you want. Suppliers offer gas, electric, and oil models, each with pros and cons.  

According to HVAC. com, gas furnaces are the most popular. Sellers offer single-stage, two-stage, and modulating styles: 

  • Single stage:  Furnaces include a gas valve that can open and close, and gas flows at one high rate. 
  • Two stages:  You can adjust the gas flow from low to high to improve efficiency. Your thermostat is used to regulate temperatures. 
  • Modulating:  Furnaces modulate gas flow precisely and are best for colder climates. They ensure rooms are evenly heated. 

You may also choose an electric or oil furnace. Electric models are popular but not as efficient as gas. Oil furnaces are an option for those who do not have access to any other fuel type. 

Think About Energy Efficiency 

Some heating systems are more energy efficient than others, which is important when calculating the overall cost of a furnace. The Federal Trade Commission requires that every furnace includes an AFUE rating, which determines the model’s energy efficiency.

The AFUE rating tells you how much energy the unit will use to heat your home and how much will escape. For example, an 85% rating means that 15% of the heat will escape, while 85% of its output will be used to warm your house. 

Compare the fuel price with the AFUE rating to help determine the overall cost to run a unit. Electric furnaces often have AFUE ratings of 95%-100%, but if electricity is expensive in your area, another type of furnace might be more economical.

Buy the Correct Size for Your Home

It’s essential to get the right size furnace. If it is too small, your home won’t be warm enough. If it is too large, you will overspend on fuel because the furnace will produce heat you don’t need. 

Many factors determine the correct size- not just your home’s square footage. The easiest way to ensure you get the right size is to ask an HVAC contractor to estimate it for you. Per Remodeling Calculator professionals, ceiling height, number of windows, and insulation are some of the factors that can impact furnace size.

Evaluate Overall Costs 

You will also want to think about your budget when comparing furnaces. Costs to consider include the furnace price and overall cost of ownership based on efficiency. HVAC contractors typically include the price of the furnace plus installation. However, there can be additional expenses.

You may choose a more expensive unit with an extended warranty that saves money in the long run. There are costs for upgrades such as sealed combustion, which increases energy efficiency and protects against carbon monoxide leaks. 

Installation costs can also vary by contractor, so get several bids and plan installation for the warmer months, if possible. Many contractors are less busy in the spring and summer and offer price breaks.

Some models may include a money-saving rebate. Installing an energy-efficient unit could also entitle you to a tax credit. 

Replacing an old, inefficient furnace is wise investment that ensures your home stays warm and you don’t overspend on heating. However, many factors go into choosing the best replacement model, and it pays to take the time to compare. Factors to consider include furnace type, fuel efficiency rating, furnace size, and your budget. 

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