How Do I Compare Home Furnaces?
There are as many types of home furnaces as there are types of homes: some are big, some small. Some expensive, some economical. Each one comes with benefits and drawbacks that discerning homeowners must carefully consider.
Selecting the right home furnace can be a difficult process, one where mistakes can prove costly. Getting it right is a matter of careful research, as well as a willingness to work closely with a trusted HVAC professional. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Read on for some advice on how to compare home furnaces:
Consider Your Budget
As with any home improvement project, you won’t be able to make any decisions without budgeting for them first. To come up with a budget for heating your home, you’ll have to consider the different fuel types available. Each of these has various financial benefits and downsides. For example, one of the cheapest fuel sources for a furnace is natural gas. If you have easy access to it, a gas furnace might just be perfect for you. On the other hand, if you discover that you don’t already have a gas main hooked up to your home, the added expense of installing one may offset the lowered cost of that particular heat source.
The Different Fuel Sources
Besides natural gas, there are several other common fuel sources for home furnaces. Electricity is another popular source of power for home furnaces. The greatest benefit of an electric furnace is that you won’t need to pump in another type of fuel. The outlets you already have are enough to get your home nice and warm. Electric power is usually safer than other sources too. Because exhaust isn’t produced, the fire hazard is significantly reduced compared to oil or gas. Electricity, however, can be fairly expensive.
Other methods of heating the home include oil, propane, and wood. To consider which of these you’ll use, contact your utility provider and ask about prices in your area. How much is natural gas where you live? What about propane? Electricity? And so forth. Use the information your utility company provides to help you make an informed decision about what furnace is best for you.
The Cost of Equipment
Of course, the fuel cost is only one element of your furnace. You also have to factor in the cost of the furnace itself. Not all furnaces are the same, and this is reflected in the price. Oil furnaces are among the most expensive, with an average price point of $1,900 to $5,900 for a brand-new unit. Electric furnaces, on the other hand, are much cheaper: they can be as inexpensive as $700 for a new one. Of course, electricity is a bit more expensive than oil or gas.
It’s difficult, of course, for us to quote the costs of different furnaces directly in this article. The numbers above are averages, used to give you a jumping-off point before you start shopping around. However, prices fluctuate. Depending upon when you read this article and where you live, you may find the costs are different from what you’ve heard in the past. Contact your local HVAC professionals at Entek HVAC and ask them to update you on the latest costs of home heating equipment in your area.
The Best Furnace for Your Climate
Cost isn’t the only factor when it comes to selecting a furnace. Because some furnaces can handle extremely cold temperatures better than others, the climate in which you live matters greatly when you compare home furnaces. Electric furnaces, for example, can struggle to get hot enough to keep your home comfortable when the temperature dips below freezing. In addition, a power outage during a snowstorm could easily leave your home without any heat at all. By contrast, natural gas will get very hot very quickly and won’t fail if the power grid goes down.
Of course, you’re by no means required to make use of only one furnace. Many homeowners actually end up having two of them installed. One electric furnace for more mild days and a backup oil or propane furnace for when the blizzards hit. If you have the space and the budget, this is something you can consider.
The Right Heater for Your Home
You’ll want to get some advice from your HVAC professional when you compare home furnaces. It’s important to do so because it’s critical the furnace you choose is the right one for your particular home. All homes are different, so too are their needs when it comes to heating. Size matters here!
A furnace that’s too big for your home will waste tons of fuel, driving your energy costs way up. On the other hand, one that’s too small will struggle to pump warm air into every room in your house. This, too, will drive costs up. A good HVAC company, such as Entek, will take the guesswork out of the process of choosing a heater. You’ll want to discuss your options with them before making any purchases.
Location, Location, Location
Just as the size of your heater is an important part of the decision-making process when you compare home heaters, location is an equally important factor. Maximizing your furnace’s ability to heat your home depends on putting it in the correct location. It will need to have easy access to your ductwork so that it can easily move warm air through the home. It should be out of the way of other important parts of your home’s infrastructure. Your HVAC professional should be able to access the furnace easily to perform tune-ups and repairs.
A Word on Safety
Location matters when it comes to home safety as well, especially when you’re making use of a furnace that uses a combustible fuel source. It needs to have a way to properly vent exhaust outside of the home, and the furnace should also be free of any nearby fire hazards. As with the other factors mentioned on this list, you’ll need to contact your local HVAC professional to discuss safety factors.