Your furnace is the core unit behind your home’s heating system, and furnaces aren’t one size fits all. Check out the different types of furnaces, which brands are the best, and how to choose the right one for your home.
WHAT IS A FURNACE?
A furnace is one of the main components of your HVAC system. When you set your thermostat, you activate the furnace to begin heating air. A fan switches on and circulates this warm air through your home. How the heat is transferred to the air depends on the type of furnace.
TYPES OF FURNACES
There are four main types of furnaces: natural gas, oil, electric, and propane.
- Natural gas furnaces are highly economical. While older gas furnaces were only about 65% efficient on average, newer gas furnaces can be up to 98% efficient. Natural gas is also the most popular way that Americans heat their homes; nearly half the country currently uses this energy source. However, usage varies widely by region.
- Oil furnaces are most commonly found in the northeastern United States. They are slightly less efficient than gas furnaces, typically between 80-90%, but the upfront cost is lower. Natural gas furnaces can cost up to 25% more to purchase.
- Electric furnaces are the cheapest to purchase, sometimes half the cost of a gas furnace. They’re also easier to install and typically last up to 10 years longer. But with the cost of electricity much higher than gas, you’ll pay for the difference with your monthly energy bill.
- Propane is a byproduct of oil and gas production. It’s easily stored in tanks and used by almost 10% of U.S. households. This is a great option if gas and oil aren’t readily accessible in your area.
TOP FURNACE BRANDS
It is important to weigh your options when comparing brands of furnaces. The most common top-tier furnace manufacturers are Trane, Carrier, American Standard, and Rheem. Goodman, meanwhile, is known as a more budget-friendly furnace manufacturer.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A FURNACE
Choose the right size- It’s essential to have the right size furnace for your home. Calculating the correct size HVAC unit depends on many factors: the size of your home, local climate, ceiling height, and even the number of windows. Because there are so many variables, it is best left to a professional, so make sure to contact a qualified local HVAC expert to help you choose a furnace.
Compare furnace reviews- It is not always the best option to go for the cheapest furnace. A lower-priced unit may end up costing more to operate and repair if it runs less efficiently. A good way to gauge the quality of a furnace is to check out customer reviews on any furnace you’re considering before you buy, and ask an HVAC professional for their opinion, too.
Climate and region- Where you live will determine the climate and the availability of energy sources. We’ve already explained that different types of furnaces are more popular in different areas; this is because while gas furnaces are more efficient in some areas, electric furnaces will be a better choice in others.