Time for a new home furnace?
Most furnaces will need to be replaced every 20 years or so. Once that day comes, the model you have in your home today might not be on the market anymore. That leaves you with the responsibility of choosing a new furnace for your home.
Unfortunately, this isn’t as straightforward of a process as it may seem. There are several variables to keep in mind when picking out a furnace for your home.
There are a variety of residential furnaces available to choose from. One of the first steps in choosing a furnace is to familiarize yourself with the different types. There are a couple of ways that furnaces can differ.
Furnaces are divided into four main categories: natural gas, electric, oil, and propane.
Natural Gas - This is the most popular option for homes in the United States. This is because they’re quite economical and efficient. They are powered by gas which runs through pipelines into your home. You must have proper hook-ups to install a natural gas furnace.
Electric - Another popular option is the electric furnace. They are typically smaller and more affordable than gas furnaces. They heat air using electrical components. Since they run on electricity, they can be more expensive to operate than a gas furnace.
Oil - If you live in a rural area without access to gas lines, an oil furnace is a suitable alternative. They require ranks of oil that you’ll need to replace once they empty. While they are reasonably efficient compared to a gas tank, they require a lot of maintenance and regular cleaning to operate properly.
Propane - The propane furnace is another option for rural homes. Like the oil furnace, this furnace requires an external tank that must be replaced once the propane dwindles. This is a great choice for those in areas without easy access to gas lines or oil tanks.
Furnaces are further divided into categories based on the way they operate. There are three different operation types to consider: single-stage, two-stage, and variable speed.
Single-stage: This type of furnace operates at a single, constant speed. They can be turned off and on and don’t have many other adjustable settings.
Two-stage: A two-stage furnace can run on a full-speed or half-speed setting. This helps keep temperatures more consistent. The half-speed setting also runs quieter than full-speed.
Variable speed: This type of furnace will keep a home within half a degree of the desired temperature all day regardless of outdoor temperature. It adjusts the speed and the heat output as temperatures fluctuate. Since it doesn’t need to run all day, it can be the most energy-efficient furnace type.
Now that you have more information on the different types of furnaces available, you can move towards picking out the best option for your home.
Be sure to take the time to sit with all the options and do your research. You need to have a honed-in understanding of your needs and what your home is equipped to work with. The easiest option will be to stick with the type of furnace you already have. But there could be any number of other factors that make you decide to go for another type. Even if you go for the same kind of furnace, you’ll need to choose a brand, model, and size.
When you’re ready to browse furnace options, you’ll need to carefully consider your needs. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you pick out a new furnace.
Are you looking for energy efficiency? Energy-efficient furnaces have a high AFUE rating. That means less of the heat generated escapes. Electric furnaces typically have the highest AFUE ratings.
Do you want an affordable furnace? The initial cost of a unit will depend on the type of furnace you buy. Gas furnaces are notably more expensive than electric furnaces.
How much are you willing to spend on the fuel source? While an electric furnace unit might be cheaper it can be more expensive to operate than its gas and propane counterparts.
What current type of furnace do you currently have? It will be an easier, cheaper installation if you select the same type of furnace type your home is already equipped with.
What size can your home accommodate? There are a variety of furnace sizes available. Smaller homes won’t need a very large furnace. Bigger homes won’t heat effectively with a small furnace.
Do you live in a mild or cold climate? Your climate will dictate your heating needs. Those in colder climates will need a more powerful furnace than households in milder climates. Our neighbors in Pennsylvania will likely want to select a gas furnace for those cold winter nights.
Will a noisy furnace bother you? Some types of furnaces can be notably loud. You can expect cheaper units to be noisier while more expensive options will be quieter. If noise is a deal-breaker, you might want to consider a quieter model.
Is there a certain brand or model you prefer? There are plenty of brands on the market that have different features and benefits to offer. Do you have a preference for which one you’d like for your home? We always recommend Bryant to our customers as they are widely considered one of the better home heating solutions on the market. They are efficient, made to last, and affordable.
Are you willing to change the hook-ups to switch furnace types? Maybe you want to switch from an electric furnace to a gas furnace. Note that this is a complicated process and will require more than just a simple installation.
Who will install the furnace? Furnace installation isn’t a DIY job. A trained professional should be there to get the job done. Not only will a professional install guarantee better performance and lower running costs, but it will also prevent you from gas leaks and other dangerous results of an improperly installed furnace. Not to mention, many warranties require a professional install.
Picking a furnace is not a straightforward process. You have to consider a variety of factors to ensure you get an option that suits your needs and will actually work with the hook-ups in your home. It can be easy to overlook an important detail and end up with a furnace that isn’t a perfect fit. We highly recommend consulting a professional and letting them guide you towards the best possible choice.
WM Buffington is happy to help you with all your residential HVAC needs. We are a family-owned company servicing the Central Pennsylvania area. If you need assistance picking out a furnace, look no further. We will walk you through your options to assure you pick the very best option for your home.