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Factors to Consider When Buying a New Furnace

Jan 10, 2022 | General

Furnaces are by far the most popular way for homeowners to heat their homes throughout the colder winter months. Whether you’re constructing a new home or simply replacing a furnace in your existing home, there are many factors that you’ll need to take into consideration to ensure that you choose the most appropriate furnace to fit your needs.

Know the Furnace’s Efficiency Rating

One aspect of furnaces that many homeowners first look at is their energy efficiency rating. The more energy-efficient your unit is, the less money you are going to have to spend in purchasing fuel for it. While it’s true that the most energy-efficient furnaces on the market are going to be the most expensive to purchase, you typically can recoup your money back within a few years, thanks to the energy-saving they provide.

Furnaces will be given a rating known as annualized fuel utilization efficiency or AFUE for short. At the very low end of the spectrum is an AFUE rating of 78. At the higher end of the spectrum is an AFUE rating of 99. If you’re looking for an affordable furnace, you want to get one that has a mid-efficiency, meaning its AFUE rating lies somewhere between 80% and 89%. High-efficiency furnaces are going to be the most expensive to purchase, and they’ll have an AFUE rating between 90% and 99%.

Know Your Desired Heating Capacity

All furnaces are constructed with a specific heating capability. In general, the more heat that a furnace can produce, the more expensive it is going to be. As a homeowner, it’s important to understand what heating capacity you’ll need in order to heat your entire home.

To determine the heating capacity, you’ll first need to understand the square footage of your home. For example, let’s say that your home has a square footage of 2,000 feet. HVAC experts recommend that homeowners living in the southern portion of Alabama purchase furnaces that can produce around 35 BTUs per square foot of their homes. Based on 2,000 square feet, you’ll need to get a furnace that has a heating capacity of 70,000 BTUs or more.

If you opt to purchase a furnace that doesn’t have the heating capacity that your home needs, your home won’t be a comfortable environment, and your energy bills are going to be through the roof. Conversely, if you purchase a furnace that is way too big for your heating needs, it will lead to short cycling. This is where the unit constantly turns on and off and causes premature wear to the furnace components. Additionally, you’re always going to be very uncomfortable as it will heat up very quickly, and you’ll notice that your energy bills will be extremely high.

Decide How Many Stages You Want

Not all furnaces are specifically designed to work the same way. There are three different types of stages that your furnace can operate with. These include single-stage, multi-stage, and modulating. Understanding the difference between the three can help you to be better informed when deciding which furnace is right for your home.

First up, we have the single-stage furnace. This is the most popularly used and most affordable on the market. It has one flame inside of it that is either on or off, depending on whether your home needs heat or not. The single-stage furnace can typically come within a few degrees of your thermostat settings.

Next up, we have the multi-stage furnace. This is sometimes referred to as the two-stage furnace because it has two different size flames inside of it. One flame is small and meant for mild weather, while the other is large and meant for colder weather. By having the option to use a bigger or smaller flame, this type of furnace can usually come within a degree of your thermostat setting. It’s important to note that multi-stage furnaces are going to cost slightly more than your single stage.

Lastly, we have the modulating furnace, which is going to be the most accurate of the three. Instead of having multiple flames inside of it, it has one flame that can have its size adjusted based on what your temperature needs are. Modulating furnaces will heat your home to within 2 degrees of your thermostat setting. However, it’s essential to note that modulating furnaces are going to be the costliest of the three.

Choose Which Fuel You Want to Use

Furnaces are specifically designed to use one of four different types of fuels. In order to know which, furnace you need to purchase, you need to decide which type of fuel you want to be using it. The four options available today are going to be electric, natural gas, oil, and propane.

Electric furnaces, as the name suggests, run solely on electricity. These are very cheap to purchase, easy to install, and very simple to maintain. However, because they run solely on electricity, electric furnaces can be very expensive to operate. Since these furnaces won’t be burning any fuel, they are the safest of all four options because they don’t produce any carbon monoxide.

Natural gas furnaces are much more affordable to operate than their electric furnace counterparts. However, they can be more expensive upfront, and there needs to be a natural gas line running through your town that you can tap onto. Unlike an electric furnace, natural gas furnaces require you to have proper venting via a flue in order to remove the exhaust fumes from your home. This will require more annual maintenance as you’ll need to get your flue pipe inspected and cleaned every year.

Oil furnaces are a very popular alternative to natural gas furnaces. They cost around the same price to purchase and are a little bit more expensive to operate. However, they’re a great option when natural gas is not available in your area. Unlike with natural gas or electricity, you’ll need to have a storage tank for your heating oil. This will require an additional upfront investment for the tank if you do not already have one installed at your home.

The last of the four options that you have is going to be the propane furnace. This furnace works very much like natural gas, except it does not require any sort of flue. Instead, propane furnaces will have a direct vent installed near the furnace that goes out the exterior wall of the home. This helps to reduce the amount of maintenance that this type of system requires. However, propane can be more expensive than both heating oil and natural gas.

Reliable Furnace Services

Hansen Super Techs provides reliable furnace services to the residents of the Mobile, AL, region. We can also help with all your cooling, heating, indoor air quality, ductless, and generator needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment or to speak with our knowledgeable staff to get the help that you need.