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Choosing the right furnace for your home

Getting the right furnace is all about choosing the best product and the right size for your home. Most people only start thinking about their furnace when it breaks down during the cold winter months. However, if your furnace is old or if you are buying a new home, a little research can help you find the right furnace that will provide you with the best comfort all winter long.

Signs that your furnace needs to be replaced

Without being an expert, below are some signs that might alert you that your furnace needs to be replaced:

  • your energy bill is high (old furnaces may not be as energy efficient as a new one);
  • some rooms in your home are too cold in winter or excessively dry;
  • it needs to be repaired frequently;
  • it is noisy and you jump each time it starts.

If you answered YES to any of these, it would be wise to have an HVAC professional, like an Enercare technician, come to your house to evaluate if it could be a good time to upgrade or replace your furnace. 

Plan ahead

Early fall is an excellent time to have your furnace inspected or to start looking for your options to replace it. If you live in an older home, try to identify how old your furnace is. To find the year it was built, you can search on Google for the brand and the model of your furnace. If it was installed before 2000, you might want to check for a newer model that is more energy efficient. Don’t wait for it to break down to have it checked, as you might have to go without heat for a couple of days and pay a premium to have it replaced during an emergency breakdown.

Getting the Right Furnace

There are different types of furnaces on the market. The difference in price can be attributed mainly to the size of the house it needs to warm up, energy efficiency, warranties and comfort, but also to the source of energy it uses. Should you get electric, natural gas, propane or oil furnace? Let’s see what the pros and cons of each type are:

Electric Furnace:

Pros

  • Easy and cheap to install
  • Very little noise
  • Doesn’t require any ductwork unless used in a forced-air system.
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Doesn’t work during power failure
  • Usually more expensive to operate than natural gas or propane

Natural Gas Furnace:

Pros

  • Efficient at warming the house quickly
  • Works with a forced-air system that distributes heat throughout the house
  • Requires natural gas installed in the home
  • Typically, less expensive to use than an electric furnace

Cons

  • Usually doesn’t work during power failure
  • Less environmentally friendly than an electric furnace

Propane Furnace:

Pros

  • Efficient at warming the house quickly
  • Can work during a power failure

Cons

  • Requires a big storage tank outside the home
  • Could run out of propane if delivery not arranged regularly
  • Less environmentally friendly than an electric furnace  

Oil Furnace:

Pros

  • Efficient at keeping the house warm
  • Requires less maintenance than gas or propane furnaces

Cons

  • Dirt build-up from burning the fuel
  • High cost of oil in recent years
  • Need to have delivery of oil regularly to operate
  • Usually doesn’t work during a power failure
  • Less environmentally friendly than an electric furnace

Before replacing your furnace, have an HVAC professional inspect it to determine if a replacement is necessary.