Columbus Homeowner’s Buying Guide on How to Choose a New Furnace

Furnace Buying Guide

One day, your old furnace will give out and it will be time to have a new furnace installed. Do you know how to choose a new furnace for installation that will provide you with energy efficient heating at a furnace cost you can afford? Older furnaces can be replaced with many types of modern furnaces including natural gas furnaces, propane furnaces, oil furnaces, and electric furnaces. The right furnace for your home may be a modulating furnace, or you may want a high efficiency furnace with variable speed blowers. Two stage gas furnaces that offer great energy efficiency may be your preference over single stage furnaces.

When it’s time to shop for central heating systems, there are a few things you should think about before you begin this journey. Furnace efficiency will impact furnace prices for new equipment as well as your ongoing energy bills. It’s wise to work with a trusted HVAC contractor to ensure you get the right furnace for your home that will offer efficient furnace operation, plenty of warm air, and long service life.

Buckeye Heating & Cooling helps homeowners in the Columbus area replace HVAC systems including furnaces. If your existing furnace is no longer performing to the level you desire, we will have an HVAC technician determine the right size for your new heating system. Our team of Comfort Consultants will introduce you to new options that your old furnace does not offer. We can take a look at high efficiency furnace models and explain how the efficiency rating will impact your monthly heating bill. A discussion on fuel source will help you pick the right heating fuel for energy efficient hot air and reduced energy costs when using your new forced air furnace.

Gas Furnace and Electric Furnace Capacity

When it comes to HVAC systems, there’s no leeway in sizing. A gas furnace or an electric furnace, oil furnaces or propane models –  they all must have the right furnace size in order to perform properly with optimal efficiency in the home. Sizing the furnace correctly can make or break a high efficiency model as well as destroy the energy efficiency of any furnace. Modern furnaces that do not fit the home do not generate proper comfort, parts wear out quickly, and the systems require early replacement compared to properly sized modern furnace units.

Furnace HVAC systems are sized in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The BTU size of a new furnace tells you how much heat it can generate over an hour’s time to raise the temperature on your programmable thermostat to your desired set point.

How do you determine the heating power necessary for a new furnace? The best way to do so is to work with a qualified HVAC contractor. Any heating and cooling professional knows that sizing a furnace requires the consideration of far more than just the square footage of the home. HVAC companies perform a heating load calculation which tells you how much heat is needed to raise the temperature of the space to a comfortable level.

Many homeowners have misconceptions about under- and oversizing heating and cooling equipment. You may assume that a larger furnace blows hot air to your rooms faster and creates more heat, or that a smaller furnace is available for purchase at a lower furnace cost. While these assumptions are technically correct, they are in no way a benefit. If you pick a tiny or extra-large furnace for furnace installation, the furnace wastes energy, does not help you effectively manage comfort levels, and will experience more mechanical problems than the right furnace. Unfortunately, the only way you can fix these issues is to have a new furnace installed.

If you’re looking for the best furnace, make sure it’s the perfect fit. Have your HVAC contractor perform a Manual J heating load calculation to tell you the right size for your new heating system.

Furnace Fuel Sources

A heating system can use a number of different fuel types to generate heat for the home. There are natural gas furnaces, oil furnaces, electric furnaces, and even furnaces that use liquid propane. The type of fuel source your HVAC system uses can affect how much you pay for it as well as how much you will pay on your energy bills over the life of the furnace.

Oftentimes, homeowners feel it’s easiest to replace the old furnace with the new one that uses the same fuel source. While this can be true, there are reasons you might want to make a switch. If you have access to more than one fuel source in your home or you are capable of connecting to a new utility, it may be better to purchase a new furnace that runs using a different heating fuel.

  • Most homes in the Columbus area have a natural gas furnace.
  • Many homeowners prefer to use a natural gas furnace because the gas furnace cost to operate is less than a furnace running on electricity only. Natural gas utility rates are typically less than electricity and a gas furnace doesn’t require as much fuel for producing heat as electric models.
  • Propane and oil furnaces are still present in many older homes throughout the Columbus area. There are many reasons why you would want to move away from these units when pursuing new furnace installation. It’s up to the homeowner to monitor fuel levels schedule deliveries to ensure the heating system has enough energy to produce warm air throughout the cold season. If you run out of fuel, you will also run out of heat.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

The home’s heating system, whether you use a gas furnace or electric unit, has an efficiency rating that tells you how energy efficient the furnace heats. The annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE rating, is a percentage that displays the amount of energy consumed that is used to produce heat as well as the amount that was wasted through the heating process.

Minimum efficiency furnaces are 80% AFUE. In this scenario, 80% of all the fuel used by the system goes on to produce heat while 20% of it is trashed. If you use a high efficiency furnace that is a gas furnace, it may be up to 98% AFUE. If you use this heating system as a furnace for your home, 98% of your energy costs account for actual heating while 2% account for waste. Electric furnaces can be up to 100% AFUE as their heating process wastes no energy.

Many homeowners choose high efficiency furnaces when upgrading older furnaces as they offer greater energy savings and enhance performance. A high efficiency furnace includes the latest technology designed to minimize energy consumption. Some furnace options that are high efficiency include:

  • A modulating furnace uses a modulating gas valve to control the flame and a variable speed blower motor to adjust airflow through the home’s heating system.
  • If you want an efficient furnace but do not want to pay for the most energy efficient option, two stage gas furnaces are a great solution. They have a blower motor that can run at two different speeds – full capacity and around 40% capacity. The ability to switch between airflow speeds allows these furnaces to offer greater energy efficiency than single stage furnaces that have fixed-speed blower motor equipment.
  • Many older furnaces are atmospheric furnaces that draw air into the unit from the home. Sealed combustion furnaces pull in outdoor air. By doing so, heat loss is reduced and there’s less risk of exposure to combustion byproducts in the home’s air.
  • Most modern furnaces have a single heat exchanger, but condensing furnaces have two. The secondary heat exchanger captured more energy from the combustion process for use in space heating. These furnaces offer greater energy efficiency.

Budgeting Furnace Cost

As you shop for a new furnace to have installed at home, furnace prices are sure to catch your eye. A new furnace costs thousands of dollars and the price varies based on the important factors we discussed above.

  • A gas furnace usually has a higher price tag than an electric one. However, energy bills are typically lower when using a gas furnace versus an electric model.
  • The larger the capacity of a furnace, the more the unit will cost.
  • High efficiency furnaces are typically the most expensive options. Furnace prices increase along with a unit’s energy efficiency. While the initial cost may be higher compared to a standard efficiency furnace, homeowners can recoup the extra cost through savings on energy bills over the lifetime of the furnace.

If you want to know the precise cost for your furnace installation project, ask your HVAC contractor to give you a quote. This quote will include the cost of new furnace equipment. There are many different furnaces on the market and several equipment manufacturers producing a wide range of options, so be sure to explore many choices to find the new furnace you want at a price that is within your budget.

Furnace Installation in Columbus

Buckeye Heating & Cooling offers furnace installation for homeowners throughout the Columbus, Ohio area. To request an estimate for furnace installation and find the right new furnace for your home, call us today.

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