There are many reasons to get a new furnace. Maybe your previous one broke down right before winter. Maybe you’re thinking of updating your home. Either way, furnaces are an important, often large purchase with many considerations. Beyond price, size, and availability, it’s good to look into where to source high-quality furnace repair for the future.
SmileHVAC.ca gathered the most common mistakes that buyers make when buying new furnaces. Keep reading afterwards for more general information about different types of furnaces.
1. Cheaper isn’t always a no-brainer
While it’s important to consider the price because some products might be cost-prohibitive, thinking exclusively about the upfront costs of a particular HVAC unit might be counterintuitive. By narrowing down options to the cheapest, you may be over-looking differences in monthly costs and reliability.
2. Money isn’t everything
Spend some time considering other things that might matter to you beyond price. Depending on the type you buy, furnaces vary greatly on things like ecological impact, noise, and length of warranty.
3. Don’t over-estimate your handiness
Installation of a furnace can require a licensed professional and may have to follow certain government regulations, especially for propane models. Regardless of how knowledgeable you might be when it comes to home improvement, this might be something best left to professionals.
4. The furnace is only half of the story
It may seem like all you need to do is research furnaces. However, because this can be a long-term home investment, it’s worth spending some time researching reputable contractors within your budget as well.
5. No furnace is perfect
Many furnaces can be intuitive and reliable, but it is important to get a good understanding of how your HVAC unit works and when to call for repairs. It’s a good idea to ask your contractor for pointers to make sure you know how to operate the machine well.
6. Size matters
After making what may seem like far more important considerations about money, efficiency, and reliability, one thing that definitely should not be forgotten is making sure that the furnaces you are considering fit comfortably in your living space.
Generally speaking, there are four fuel types that distinguish furnaces: gas, oil, electricity, and propane. Knowing a bit about each can narrow down your search straight off the bat.
Gas furnaces are popular, generally very efficient, and have low running costs. They have been around for a long time so depending on where you live, this may be the most common style that you will find while conducting your search, making them convenient, even when looking for contractors familiar with your particular model.
Although still highly efficient, on average oil furnaces are less efficient than those that use gas. However, these can still be a great option for you. The benefit they provide for compromising slightly on efficiency is lower upfront purchasing and installation costs. This is a fuel type that might be more readily available where you live, so this give and take might be worth it.
Speaking of which, electric furnaces have the most give and take when it comes to cost and efficiency. They require the lowest initial capital, can often last longer, and come in a number of sizes that may be better suited to your living space. They also tend to be more ecological. However, regular costs of electricity versus gas or even oil – at least for the foreseeable future, in most areas – are significantly higher.
By no means the most popular type, propane furnaces are a great option to consider depending on what is locally available to you, particularly if you live in a fairly rural area. They are generally initially inexpensive but can have high running costs – at least as much as oil furnaces. Despite this, they also have the benefit of being quite highly efficient.
Other than the four fuel types, you might also want to consider how modular you need or want your new model to be. In order of price, first being the cheapest, there’s one-stage, two-stage, and modulating furnaces. As the price goes up, so too does efficiency and convenience.
One-stage furnaces are invariably cheaper to install but they have, as the name would suggest, only one stage once they’re switched on. This can mean that, on a long-term basis, they fail when it comes to efficiency and ecological impact, particularly for larger homes. If you are planning on staying in your home for a long time, you might want to think twice about how much money you’re saving by going with this option.
Compare this to two-stage furnaces that provide two heating settings, one lower and one higher. This increases efficiency by idling at a low setting but adapting to changing temperatures when necessary. This is the mid-range type of equipment that tries to deliver the best of both worlds in terms of both cost and efficiency.
Lastly, there are modulating furnaces. These provide the highest level of efficiency and convenience. Of the three types of models, this option is best suited to comfortably regulating temperatures and can even be less expensive in the long run for maintenance due to its ability to keep energy bills low. However, it is considerably more expensive to purchase and install. Think about how much you are able or willing to invest in your home, and for how long you intend to live there when considering this option.
The process of purchasing a new furnace can be daunting. You want to be able to make a decision that will last you a long time and keep monthly costs low, but you might not have a lot of money to spend right away. There can be a lot to consider beyond money like servicing and local availability but I hope the information and tips laid out above can help you with making that process easier, or at least giving you a place to start to make sure you get the most for your money.