You will likely only buy a new furnace once, maybe twice, in a lifetime. So, when you pick one out, you’ll want to make sure it’s made to last for the long haul. In order to know if you are making a smart purchase, it’s important to do your research, know what you expect out of your new furnace, and then compare it with other models out there. Here are some of the steps to take when it comes to choosing the best furnace for your home.
Research, Research, Research!
You needed to do your homework to get an A+. That means that the best way for a homeowner to choose a new heating system is to begin with a little research. You may look online for unbiased resources or even go into a store and talk to an expert to do a little information gathering.
“First thing to contemplate is the furnace type,” says Keith Hill, manager of technical support at Minnesota Air. “A gas furnace may be an obvious choice, but you may want to look at alternatives. In rural areas, you may not have access to natural gas, so fuel oil, propane, or electric heat (including heat pumps) could be considered.”
Keith says there are some extremely efficient heat pumps on the market that may save you thousands of dollars in fuel costs over the lifespan of the system. Even in areas where natural gas is available, heat pumps can be cost-effective in the form of hybrid heat – where a heat pump is combined with a gas furnace as an auxiliary heat source.
If your utility company has off-peak programs, it might make a normally expensive electric heating system more attractive. When doing research, you really want to consider all of your options.
Review The Options
Once you’ve successfully done your homework with research, you can begin to narrow it down further. Keith says start with the features of the furnace, then look at the benefits, and finally, look at the warranties.
Most top-rated furnaces and furnace brands come with a better warranty compared to the basic models on the market.
“Once you know what is out there, then start researching contractors,” he says. “The contractor is as important as the product. A proper installation is key to long-term reliable operation. Also, it’s the contractor that will stand behind it if something goes wrong.”
Pick a contractor that has been around and will be around for the long haul. He says a contractor with an actual building and storefront isn’t going to close up and leave you high and dry when they have a bad season, but the guy working out of his station wagon may.
“Listen to what the contractor has to say, consider them your HVAC doctor,” says Keith. “Get at least two or three estimates, and above all, ask questions.”
Request The Best
If you are looking for the best model for your home, you’ll need to consider not only what you expect to get out of your furnace, but also what you expect to get for your budget.
“Most manufacturers have a good, better, best offering,” says Keith. “Are you looking for simple reliable heat? Or are you looking for the best in comfort? Is a quiet furnace important to you? Is your goal to reduce your fuel bill? A little or a lot?”
With any purchase, you get what you pay for, and those with more features may cost more upfront, but can pay for themselves in the long run with energy savings or fewer repair bills.
“Weigh the importance of those features vs. what your pocketbook can withstand,” says Keith.
In the end, you’ll be happy that you did your due diligence before making a purchase.
To learn more about furnaces and how they work, check out our home heating basics page, which can help you on your journey to buying a new furnace.