It's no secret that buying the right furnace for your home can be a daunting task. Beyond comfort levels, you need to consider features, energy efficiency ratings, and how well it holds up over time.
Nobody wants to make an impulsive decision only to realize later they've wasted money on something unsuitable for their specific situation. Keep reading to learn more about selecting the best home furnace suited specifically for your needs.
Make Your Research
If you're in the market for a new furnace, you'll want to do some research before making a purchase. But if you take a look at this furnace buyer's guide, you will be armed with all the information you need to make an informed decision. From understanding the different types of furnaces available to know what factors to consider when choosing a model, you can decide which furnaces are important for your home's heating needs.
Your research, however, won't stop there. Never underestimate the power of customer reviews and ratings as these first-hand experiences can provide valuable insight into the performance and reliability of a particular furnace model.
Understand the Different Types of Furnaces
Knowing the different types of furnaces available in the market can help you make an informed decision. The three main types of furnaces are as follows: gas, electric, and oil. Let's take a closer look at each.
Gas furnaces are the most common type of furnace found in homes today, and for good reason: they are known for their efficiency and cost-effectiveness, especially in colder climates where heating is required for extended periods.
Gas furnaces operate by burning natural gas to produce heat, which is then distributed throughout your home. When it comes to heating times, this kind of furnace typically provides quicker results than its oil and electric equivalents. They do, however, need a gas source and appropriate exhaust gas venting. Despite the need for professional installation and regular maintenance, many homeowners opt for gas furnaces due to their lower operating costs and reliable heat output.
Unlike their gas counterparts, electric furnaces rely solely on electricity to generate heat. Because these furnaces don't need a gas line or venting system, installation costs for them are typically lower. They are also safer, eliminating the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning associated with gas furnaces.
Unfortunately, the operation cost of an electric furnace is typically higher due to the cost of electricity, especially in areas where electricity rates are high. Furthermore, electric furnaces may take longer to heat your home compared to gas furnaces. These drawbacks aside, they can be a viable option for homeowners in milder climates or regions with lower electricity costs.
Oil furnaces are another popular option for heating homes, especially in areas where natural gas is not readily available. These furnaces use a combination of oil and air to produce heat, which is then circulated throughout the home via ducts. While they may be less efficient than gas or electric furnaces, advancements in technology have made them more energy-efficient in recent years.
The requirement for an on-site storage tank and frequent, potentially expensive fuel oil delivery is one of the main disadvantages of oil furnaces. Not to mention, they even require more maintenance compared to gas or electric furnaces. Still, for those living in colder climates with limited heating options, an oil furnace may be their best bet.
Calculate Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) Ratings
Another crucial factor to consider when buying a furnace is its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. This rating measures how much heat is produced compared to the amount of fuel consumed by the furnace. The more effectively a furnace converts fuel into heat, the better its AFUE rating.
For example, an AFUE rating of 90% means that the furnace converts 90% of the fuel it uses into heat, with the remaining 10% being lost through exhaust gases. Generally, a minimum AFUE rating of 80% is highly recommended, but more efficient furnaces can have ratings as high as 98%. Keep in mind that higher AFUE ratings typically come at a higher price point, so consider your budget when deciding on the best AFUE rating for your home.
Consider the Cost of Installation and Maintenance
Before making your choice, factor in the cost of installation and maintenance. While electric furnaces may have lower upfront costs, their higher operating costs over time can negate any savings. Gas and oil furnaces may require professional installation, which can add to the initial cost but can also lead to more efficient operation.
Some manufacturers offer warranties for their furnaces, which can cover the cost of repairs and maintenance for a certain period. It's always wise to consider these warranties when making your decision, as they can save you money in the long run.
Double Check Ventilation and Fire Safety Requirements
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of upgrading your home's heating system. Nevertheless, it's critical to remember your furnace's ventilation and fire safety regulations. Proper venting is necessary for gas and oil furnaces in order to properly remove exhaust gases from your home. Electric furnaces don't have these requirements, but you should still ensure adequate ventilation for efficient operation.
Also, consider any potential fire hazards when choosing a location for your furnace installation. Keep the furnace away from flammable materials and make sure to have fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home for added safety.
Buying a furnace is a significant investment that requires careful consideration. The process involves understanding the different types of furnaces available, calculating the AFUE ratings for energy efficiency, considering the cost of installation and maintenance, and ensuring the necessary ventilation and safety requirements are met.
Bear in mind that it's not always about buying the most expensive one, but rather investing in a furnace that suits your specific needs, budget, and climate conditions. Taking the time to research and make an informed decision can prevent regrettable purchases and ensure that you're investing in a furnace that will comfortably heat your home for many years to come.