5 Key Things to Consider Before You Buy a Furnace

Think of the monthly electricity bill savings you can enjoy with a new furnace! Before you go out and make your purchase, though, there are some things you should know.

If your old furnace is breaking down or causing regular problems, it’s time to get a new furnace. New, energy-efficient furnaces heat the interior of your home far better and save you money.

The best furnaces on the market are now up to 97 percent efficient. That means you only lose 3 percent of the energy you put into it. Your 15-year-old furnace might be losing as much as 40 percent of the energy you put in.

Think of the monthly electricity bill savings you can enjoy with a new furnace! Before you go out and make your purchase, though, there are some things you should know.

Here are 5 key things to consider before you buy a furnace.

Fuel Type

In cold areas of the country, natural gas is the most cost-effective fuel option.

Oil or propane are good alternatives to natural gas. This is true, especially if you don’t have a natural gas supply to your home. However, they are usually more expensive.

Electricity is the option many people use because they already have electricity supplied to their houses. However, electricity is an expensive fuel source.

Electric-powered heat pumps are a great option for furnace replacement power. Heat pumps use less electricity than conventional furnaces and also provide air conditioning.

Size of Furnace

It’s not always the case that a bigger furnace is better. What you actually need is a furnace that is the correct size for your home.

Make sure the contractor giving you a quote visits your house. That way they will be able to correctly assess what size furnace you need.

Contractors will perform a Manual J test to determine how heat efficient your home is. They will also look at room sizes and total square footage. Each home is different, and these differences will be the major factor in what size furnace you need.


Variable-speed furnaces are superior to fixed-speed units. A variable-speed furnace uses the most appropriate speed of blower to move warm air around the house to reach the desired temperature.

These furnaces are more energy-efficient than fixed speed models. They improve air quality in your home, and they are quieter because they have lower speed options.

Buy a Furnace with Good Efficiency

When you shop furnaces, look for the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. This is the number that tells you how efficient the unit will be.

Current standards require a minimum AFUE of 78. In colder, northern regions, you should buy a furnace with a minimum AFUE of 90. In the warmer south, don’t go below 80.

No matter where you live, units with higher AFUE numbers are more expensive to buy. However, in the long run a furnace with a 90+ efficiency rating will save you money.

System Type

Furnace systems come in split or packaged options. A split system is the common duct-based system most people have for heating and AC. A packaged system is a stand-alone outdoor unit that does not require ductwork in the house.

Packaged systems are great if you don’t have room for ductwork. They are also highly efficient and they can be set up to provide heating and cooling for specific rooms. If you don’t need to heat or cool a house to the same temperature throughout, packaged systems are a great choice.

Buy a Furnace That Suits Your Home and Needs

Now that you know 5 key things about furnaces, you’re ready to get in touch with an expert. Choosing and installing a new furnace is not a DIY project.

Use the things in this article to help you determine your basic needs. When you’re ready to buy a furnace, contact a professional contractor.