In this furnace installation buying guide post, we take a closer look at the different types of furnaces that are available. We also consider specific factors you should keep in mind when buying a furnace. The post also provides details on the basics of furnace installation, allowing you to understand what to expect throughout the process.
When temperatures start to drop in the winter, your family relies on the furnace to heat the home. While a furnace is generally considered a significant investment, it does contribute to daily comfort throughout your home. Due to the critical role that the furnace plays and the high price tag, it is crucial to understand your needs. Knowing what to look for enhances comfort and efficiency in your furnace while also making it a more cost-effective solution.
Types Of Furnaces
Not all furnaces are the same. When looking to install a furnace in your home, the first thing to consider is the appropriate type. There are two main categories used to differentiate furnaces from each other. Furnaces can use either a radiant system or forced air to heat your environment.
- Forced Air: A forced air system will heat air and then push it through a ductwork system. The ductwork distributes the warm air throughout your home. The ductwork will usually have an opening in the living room, as well as in your bedrooms.
- Radiant System: Radiant systems may sometimes instead use a boiler. The radiant steam creates steam to heat the house.
It is important to note that we often classify heating systems by the method of operation. For instance, many modern furnaces use electrical components to distribute heat. There are, however, alternative options that use gas or oil instead. Each type of furnace comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks – which you should consider in helping you find the right option for your home.
Gas Furnace Installation
When it comes to furnaces, the gas option remains one of the more popular choices. They are popular in cold-winter regions.
Gas furnaces do come with a higher initial cost, especially when compared to an electric alternative. While the initial costs will be higher, you should note that a gas furnace tends to be much more cost-effective in the long run. Since electricity is more expensive than gas, electric furnaces are more costly to operate. A natural gas furnace is a more affordable alternative – a gas canister can last for several months in some cases.
There are a few downsides to gas furnaces.
- Gas furnaces require more maintenance than other options.
- The ductwork that forms part of the gas furnace system requires regular cleaning.
- The entire furnace system also needs at least one inspection each year or you will have furnace problems.
- It would be best if you replaced filters every three months.
Failure to properly maintain a gas furnace could affect the unit’s performance, reduce its expected lifespan, and even harm air quality within your home.
Electric furnaces are an affordable option, making them a solid choice for those individuals on a lower budget. The purchase and installation costs are lower than a gas furnace, but your monthly bills for electricity will be considerable.
We recommend electric furnaces in an area with mild winter temperatures. With proper maintenance, an electric furnace can last as long as two decades.
Oil furnaces used to be a prevalent option before the introduction of modern electric and gas models. Today, oil furnaces do not hold the same level of popularity. Maintenance is less with oil furnaces.
One of the significant disadvantages of oil furnaces is the volatility of oil prices. In other words, the fuel price changes monthly.
In most cases, you will find that you only need to fill the tank a few times every year. The size of the tank can determine how frequently you require a refill. The size of your home is another consideration as to how much fuel you need.
With an oil furnace, you will need additional space for an oil tank.
How to Choose the Right Furnace for Your Home
There are a couple of factors that you should look at when buying a furnace. Each factor contributes to the furnace’s overall performance and whether it will be sufficient for your location, weather conditions, and the size of the building.
Here are a few critical factors to consider throughout the buying process:
- BTU: The amount of heat produced by the furnace tells you how big an area it can cover. Smaller homes can do with a lower BTU rating. We recommend that you measure the total area that you want to heat. For every square foot, you need between 30 and 60 BTUs. Thus, if your living spaces measure 2,500 feet, you need to install a furnace with a minimum BTU rating of 75,000.
- AFUE: The AFUE rating tells you the furnace’s efficiency – particularly when fuel is used as a source to produce heat. Aim for an AFUE rating that is at least 80%. An AFUE of 80% means you only lose 20% of the fuel during the heating process.
- Filtration: Some furnaces (especially gas systems) come with a built-in filtration system. The filtration system can significantly enhance air quality throughout your home.
- Warranty: You are paying a large sum of money for the furnace, which means you want it to last long. Most people can reliably use their furnaces for a period between one to two decades. If something goes wrong in the meantime, you want to ensure you are covered. A warranty offered on the purchase of a furnace gives you peace of mind. Should any manufacturing faults be noted throughout a specified period, the manufacturer will cover the repair costs or replace the unit if needed.
The Cost of Installing a Furnace
There are several costs when installing a furnace. The first expense comes from the purchase of the heating system itself. Some furnaces only require the purchase of the main unit, but there are cases where you may need to purchase additional equipment. For example, a gas furnace may require piping and ductwork. You will also need a gas canister that will supply the furnace with gas.
It is a good idea to consider your budget when installing a new furnace in your home. The budget can help you determine what the best option would be for you. If you have a small budget for covering the upfront costs, an electric furnace could be a good choice. If your monthly operating budget is tight, a gas furnace may be the better choice.
Maintenance is something you need to consider as well. Over time, you will need to implement appropriate maintenance tasks to ensure the furnace remains operational and does not suffer damage.
Gas furnaces require more maintenance than oil and electric alternatives. You must replace filters every three months, and an annual inspection is essential.
The installation of the furnace can be pricey as well. The cost of installation will often surpass the price of the furnace itself. For example, the average cost for a propane gas furnace is around $1,400. However, the installation may be as high as $3,750. The specific price you pay depends on your location and the installation company you hire.
Furnace Installation Basics
There is a reason why the installation process for a furnace is so expensive. The procedure is complex, takes time, and requires skill. In fact, in Canada, you must hire a licensed gas fitter to install the furnace.
However, if you’re interested in learning the installation for reference only, here are the steps:
Choosing the Right Furnace
Before you proceed with any steps, choosing the perfect furnace is crucial. It would be best if you considered your needs. If it gets very cold during the winter months, then consider a gas or oil heater. An electric heater can be a good option for a lower initial price point, particularly in temperate areas.
Choose the Right Location for your Furnace Installation
When you know what type of furnace you want to install, it is time to determine where to install the heating system. The location must have sufficient space for the furnace and any additional equipment required. Before starting the installation process, remove all debris and dust from the area.
Setting Up a Furnace Installation Plan
Now that you know where to install the furnace, it is time to consider the best locations for the drain and the ductwork. Position the furnace, so it leans toward the drainage area.
Ductwork and Vent Pipes
Once installed, connect the duct and vent pipes. Most people find it more effective to install the ductwork throughout their home and connect it to the furnace. When installing the exhaust pipes, make sure they connect at a slight angle to drain the exhaust fumes from the furnace more effectively.
Connecting the Supply
Your next step is to connect the furnace to the appropriate supply. If you have a gas furnace, then you will connect it to the gas supply in this step. An electrical supply is used in the connection process if you have chosen an electric furnace instead.
Ensure to inspect the entire configuration once done, and make sure the condensation drain is connected. After following these steps carefully, the furnace should be able to turn on and heat your home.
A furnace is an essential feature for many families. The device helps to control temperatures throughout the house and becomes a convenient addition during cold winter days. There are different types of furnaces on the market. This post provided more details on the types and other considerations you should use to choose the right furnace for your environment.