5 Factors to Consider When Buying a New Furnace
Your furnace is the beating heart of your home, spreading warmth and comfort throughout and keeping things cozy during the winter months. We’ve certainly come a long way from having to gather around fireplaces or potbelly stoves, but the variety of furnace choices facing the modern homeowner can be daunting. Don’t worry, we get it!
At Entek, we want you to have the best possible heating solution for your home. That’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves to becoming the HVAC experts in our community. If you need to buy a new furnace but you’re not sure where to start, we’re glad to walk you through the basics. Here are five factors to consider when buying a new furnace.
The kind of fuel your furnace uses will make a considerable impact on its day-to-day use. Each common fuel source comes with its own benefits and disadvantages, so when buying a new furnace, it’s important to consider how they affect your home and lifestyle. The three types you should be familiar with are gas, oil and electric.
Gas furnaces burn natural gas to heat your home. They’re energy-efficient, saving you on cost and reducing your environmental impact, but they do require a connection to a natural gas line. If you want to go with a gas-powered furnace but don’t already have natural gas in your home, you’ll need to factor in the cost and labor of installing a connection.
Oil furnaces have on-site tanks to store flammable oil, making them the unit of choice for homeowners in more secluded areas who lack easy connections to other utilities. They’re less energy-efficient, produce lower air quality, and leave you reliant on costly fuel deliveries, but sometimes that independence makes it the only reasonable choice.
Electric furnaces are a popular choice since nearly every home has a connection to local power lines, but that doesn’t always mean they’re the most economical. Heating with electricity is a highly inefficient process and using one can cause your power bill to skyrocket.
The Right Size for Your Home
When buying a new furnace, it’s imperative that you know what size you need to effectively heat your home. If you buy a model that’s too small, it’ll overwork itself trying to heat the space, running up your utility bill and potentially leading to premature maintenance needs. If you buy one that’s too large, it will constantly have to adjust itself in order to maintain the desired temperature, switching off when it overshoots it and having to power back on once the temperature drops.
There’s delicate math that goes into determining what size furnace you need. The more precision you employ, the better your fit will be. Factors such as house size, outdoor climate, and insulation can all have a bearing on your heating needs, and it’s in your best interest to account for as many of them as possible. If you’d like help determining your heating needs, you can always contact a trusted HVAC specialist. Trained experts have the experience and technical knowledge needed to give you an accurate estimate of your heating needs.
Efficiency of the Model
There’s no room for wastefulness in the modern home. If you’re buying a new furnace, it should be no exception. When you’re debating which model to opt for, be sure you take some time to consider how efficiently it performs. A furnace’s annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, rating measures its efficiency. This rating tells you what percentage of the fuel used by the furnace goes to actually heat your home.
With most new furnaces, you’re going to see an AFUE rating between the low 80s and the high 90s. Furnaces with higher ratings are equipped with the latest and greatest in efficiency technology, reducing your fuel use but raising that initial sticker price. For some homeowners, it’s worth paying more upfront to have a home with both a smaller environmental impact and a lower utility bill. When you’re looking at your options, take the time to consider what your expected energy usage is for the future. That should give you some idea of how efficient you need your furnace to be.
Buying a new furnace isn’t as easy as just running down to the store, grabbing one, and taking it back home. Depending on what utilities and heating infrastructure already exist in your home, you may be looking at additional labor costs on top of the actual furnace itself. As said previously, if you install a gas furnace where there previously wasn’t one, you’ll need to ensure there’s a connection available, along with proper ventilation. Are you replacing an older furnace? If so, you may need to have structural updates to any existing ductwork or other infrastructure.
Due to the unique nature of each furnace installation project, we highly recommend seeking the aid of a professional when you’re ready to move forward. An improper furnace installation doesn’t just mean your heating won’t work as well. It can pose serious dangers to your family. There are several things to account for in the process, and having someone with experience on your team will let you and your family rest easy.
So, you’ve taken the time to consider the fuel, size, efficiency, and installation for your furnace. What more could there possibly be to think about? Well, there’s one more crucial thing to consider: the maintenance! It may not be first and foremost in your mind when buying a new furnace, but knowing what it will take to keep the unit working for years to come will be a major part of your decision.
There’s some regular maintenance that you the homeowner can take care of, little things like making sure that any vents aren’t being blocked and ensuring the air filter is being checked and replaced regularly.
No matter how high-tech a furnace is, though, it will still need at least a yearly checkup from a trained HVAC professional. Each furnace has its own wants and needs, so it’s important to understand what the financial and time commitments of a model are before committing. Speak with one before deciding which furnace to buy, and they’ll be able to walk you through the expected frequency and cost of maintenance of any particular unit. With their guidance, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and maximize your furnace’s life span.