How to Identify the Best Home Furnace for Your Property
Fall is here, and the weather will only get colder. Whether you just moved or you are looking to replace your old system with the best home furnace possible, you need to make sure you are prepared for the upcoming winter.
A home furnace is a significant investment. However, a new heating system will pay for itself in improved efficiency, warmth, and greater comfort for you and your family during those wintry days and nights.
If you are wondering what to look for when buying a new furnace for your home, here is a quick guide to help you make an informed decision. For further information about what type of furnace will work best for your home and your family, reach out to your trusted HVAC professional.
1. Choose Between a Split or Packaged System
Home furnaces are available as packaged units or split units. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, and knowing these will help you decide the best one for your preferences.
Packaged Home Furnace System
A packaged heating system comes as a single metal box holding all the components needed to heat your home. Your HVAC contractor will install the unit outside the home or on the roof. A packaged system is faster to install and doesn’t take up much space, which means that it’s very convenient for some families.
However, a packaged system typically has a short life expectancy. It also is likelier to rust due to outside installation and has a lower seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). If you care more about a system’s longevity and its efficiency over convenience, you might want to opt for a split system instead.
Split Home Furnace System
A split system requires installing multiple separate components instead of everything included in one unit. These parts include a metal box that your HVAC contractor will install outside the home and a compartment they will install inside the house.
The outside metal box houses the condenser and compressor, while the compartment inside the home contains the furnace and evaporator.
The pros of installing a split heating system include its higher SEER, longer life span, and less deterioration due to less exposure to the outside. However, because of their various components, split systems may take slightly longer to install. These systems can also use up a lot of space, and if you have a small house, then this system might not work for you.
Can’t Decide? Get a Recommendation from an HVAC Contractor
If you cannot decide the best type of home furnace for your needs, be sure to ask a professional HVAC contractor for their recommendation. They can inspect your home, assess its heating needs, and recommend a packaged or split system depending on multiple factors like:
- Your local climate
- Size of your home
- Available space to install a furnace within the home
- Your ideal budget
2. Choose the Source of Fuel
The source of fuel for your furnace will depend on the connections available in your home. Typically, there are five common varieties of fuel. These include:
Gas furnaces are able to quickly generate heat and can be great for those who want their home to heat in less time. However, these furnaces also have a rather long installation timeline and require the necessary hookups to make them possible.
Electric furnaces are usually more affordable to install than gas furnaces, but they can have a higher monthly utility cost. Many electric furnace owners prefer them for their notably lower noise levels and maintenance needs.
Oil-powered furnaces transport heated oil from a burner to a pump where it mixes with the air to produce heat. Most newer homes do not use an oil heating system, but many older properties do.
Some common disadvantages associated with oil heat include:
- Requires a storage tank on your property to hold the oil
- Builds up soot and dirt from continuous use and requires maintenance to manage
- Expensive to operate on a monthly basis
Propane furnaces are powered by propane tanks of various sizes. These furnaces operate in a similar fashion to gas furnaces, but they require the owner to monitor their tanks so that they can be replaced when needed.
With propane-powered furnaces, they involve the extra cost of having to buy the tanks to heat your home. Without an extra one on hand, your home could lose its heat until you go purchase a replacement.
Homes that use solar systems can also purchase a furnace that operates on solar power and function similarly to an electric furnace. Solar furnaces can provide significant cost savings on utility bills, but they require a large amount of energy and are limited by the amount you currently have stored.
3. Determine the Right Size
A properly sized furnace will ensure the system heats your home efficiently and evenly. It is important that you select one that is not too small or too large for your living space.
What Happens if Your Furnace is Too Small for Your Home
If your furnace is too small for your home, it will not heat every room to an adequate and even temperature. It will also overcompensate to try to heat your home to your satisfaction.
An overworked furnace will endure greater wear and tear. This will require more frequent maintenance and shorten its lifespan. It will also consume more energy on a regular basis, which will become evident with each monthly bill. You will find that you are overspending for your furnace to underperform.
What Happens if Your Furnace is Too Large
Large furnaces cost more to purchase and install. Because they are intended for larger properties than your own, they will never run at a rate that justifies your investment while taking up more space in your home than is necessary.
How to Determine the Best Home Furnace Size
When you are considering a new home furnace, call a local HVAC contractor for a free estimate. They will visit your property, assess the needs of your home, and perform a load calculation to determine the appropriate size.
It’s recommended that homeowners don’t try to do this on their own. A trained HVAC contractor is more likely to understand all the nuanced factors that go into choosing the right size furnace.
4. Ask About Energy Efficiency
Before buying a furnace, find out about the system’s Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). AFUE is the percentage of fuel a furnace uses, which measures how efficiently it converts fuel into heat. This affects your monthly costs to heat your home during the fall, winter, and spring.
How to Determine the Best AFUE Percentage
Consider units with a higher AFUE percentage. These are more fuel-efficient by design. Electrical furnaces are comparably more energy efficient and will typically have higher AFUE ratings of up to 100%.
However, bear in mind that just because a unit is energy-efficient doesn’t mean operating the unit will be cheap. Indeed, electrical furnaces are more efficient at transforming fuel into heat, but electricity can be a costly utility, especially when used to heat an entire home. This results in a much higher electric bill during the cold months compared to other types of furnaces.
Get the Best Home Furnace for Your Idaho Home
Selecting the best home furnace for your property requires considering many different factors. However, you can streamline the shopping process by working with a professional HVAC technician. They can offer a recommendation based on your specific needs and professionally install it to ensure a safe connection and peak performance.
At Advanced Heating & Cooling, we offer professional HVAC services in the Boise, Idaho metro area. If you are looking to upgrade your furnace, contact us any time to schedule an appointment with one of our certified technicians.