So many brands, so many contractors, so many options to consider. Let's face it, it's not like we buy a new furnace every week, month or year so figuring out what furnace to buy is a real challenge. For many, this may be a once in a lifetime decision! So when it comes to this important household decision, What are good, better and best options when buying a furnace?
Start with a trusted manufacturer and dealer - a brand you're familiar with and is respected in the industry. You want a dealer who can hold your hand during this process and one that you know will be around long after your system is installed. Of course, we have some great suggestions in this department (wink, wink)! In addition, there are several basic things to consider, like:
- Fuel efficiency ~ furnaces can range in efficiency from about 78-96 percent. Furnaces with the Energy Star rating meet US government energy efficiency standards.
- Installation requirements ~ are you limited at all in your home or building to a certain type/size unit? Installation requirements will vary, depending on the brand, construction size and type of gas furnace.
- Cost differentials ~ a lot of factors contribute to the range in price including fuel efficiency ratings (the higher the rating/the pricier the unit), construction and manufacturing of the unit, installation costs, rebates, etc.
There are other comfort-related decisions to make as well. If comfort is your main concern, consider these good, better, best options:
Good - Single Stage Heat
This type of furnace is what most people are familiar with. It has one unit that kicks in and shuts off within a couple of degrees to where the thermostat is set. So you can tell when it’s coming on, because you can hear it rev-up and then the warm air starts blowing through the vents. Once it hits the proper temp, it shuts down and then the cycle starts all over again. This provides basic heating needs and meets basic comfort levels.
Better - Two-Stage or Multi-Stage Heat
This is a newer kind of furnace (within the past 15 years) which has 2 sizes of flames in one unit, to meet different needs in your home. One smaller flame when the temps are mild and one bigger flame, when the temps are more extreme. This system provides more constant, steady heat verses the ‘on and off’ of a single-stage system. The cycles run longer, more continuous and provide greater levels of comfort. This furnace keeps your home within about 1 degree of its set temp at all times.
Best – Modulating Heating
This is the best option in terms of comfort as it keeps your home within about .2 of a degree to where your thermostat is set. It’s able to micro-manage the flame to give you the maximum comfort level in your home at all times – a steady, even heating. And as Keith Hill of Minnesota Air says, “Until you experience modulating heat, you don’t know what you’ve been missing.” The comfort level from this type of furnace is really that much better than the others.
So much to consider when making a new furnace purchase both on the technical side and the comfort side as well. Find someone you can trust and do some research, and you’ll make the best decision for your family’s heating needs.
For home maintenance and comfort tips, visit StayComfyMinnesota.com! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.