How to Choose a New Furnace

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How to Choose a New Furnace

Techician looking over a gas furnace with a flashlight before cleaning it.

The coldest months of winter are yet to come, which means that if your furnace isn’t up to the task, right now is the ideal time to get it replaced before it quits entirely (leaving you and your family frozen while you wait for an emergency repair or installation). Rather than waiting until it is an urgent matter, take a little bit of time now to figure out exactly what kind of furnace is right for your home so you can make a great investment that will last for years to come.

Split or Packaged Systems

Depending on the type of home you have, you may have a packaged system, where your heating and cooling unit are condensed into a single component that sits outside of your home, or a split system where you have the traditional cooling unit for air conditioning that is located outside the home and a furnace unit that is usually located in the basement or garage. The type of new furnace you get will depend on the type of unit you already have, and the space that is available for installing a new unit. You can talk to an HVAC professional to find out which one is right for you—and if you have one and prefer the other type, he might be able to recommend the one that will work best.

Gas, Electric, or Oil

Another consideration when choosing a furnace is the type of fuel available in your home—the most common are natural gas, electric, or oil. Sometimes the type of fuel available will depend on where you live—for example, and older home may require an oil furnace if there are no gas lines to the home—and sometimes it’s simply a matter of personal preference. Generally speaking, gas furnaces are the most efficient option for heating a home when temperatures drop, and these are generally the cleanest and easiest to use as well. Electric furnaces are often expensive, and should only be used as a last resort, although electric-powered heat pumps can be an alternative if you prefer to use electricity for heating.

Furnace Size

Once you have decided on the type of fuel you want, the next step is to make sure you choose the system best suited for your home. Choosing a furnace that is too small means it will have to work much harder to heat your entire home, but before you go out and just buy the biggest available furnace, keep in mind that having a system that is too big is also inefficient and will drive up the cost of heating your home. Your furnace contractor should help you calculate the amount of energy your home will need (measured in BTUs or tons), taking into account both the square footage of your home and how well your home keeps in heat (i.e., how much air leakage is happening out of your windows).

Additional Features

Some other considerations to take into account when you’re choosing a new furnace include whether you want a system that can also improve indoor air quality, the type of blower you want to distribute the air around the house, and the length and type of warranty that comes with it.

The professionals at Larsen Heating & Air are here to help you identify the ideal new furnace for your home and get it installed the right way.