How to Buy a Gas-Fired Furnace

Choose carefully before you buy a furnace

Home gas-fired heating systems can be a centralized system where ductwork delivers airfow to all areas of the home, or you can install separate wall furnaces or space heaters into each room.

By far the most popular, convenient, and dependable system is the central heating system. A single thermostat controls the entire system. This type of system can be zoned, which opens up your options for separate temperature control of different areas of the home, at different times of the day.

For this quick tips page, we will assume you have, or have chosen the conventional central forced air furnace system.

Unit Sizing

  • Hire only a licensed hvac contractor who will perform a Manual J calculation to size the furnace properly for your home.
  • Or hire a design company to do the Manual J calculation, and then hire a reputable contractor to install the system. Perfect-Home-Hvac-Design can provide this service for you.
  • Believe and stick by the calculation. Don't second-guess it. Do NOT oversize or undersize, or your new furnace will not perform as designed.

Consider efficiency

  • AFUE is efficiency.
  • The higher the AFUE ratings, the less it will cost you to operate. This DOES translate to increased initial installation costs though.
  • AFUE ratings should be a minimum of 80% and can be as high as 96%.
  • Consult your local utilities for rebate programs for higher AFUE units.
  • A higher efficiency unit (95% AFUE minimum) may qualify for a federal tax credit, as well.

Before you buy a furnace, consider installation cost vs. operating cost

  • Cheap will most likely mean an inferior unit, which will cost more money to operate each month, and will also probably cost more to service and keep running.
  • There are a lot of furnace manufacturers out there. Stick with name brand units. They are superior in quality, are more dependable, cost less to maintain, and parts are usually readily available if a breakdown should occur.
  • Think of efficiency like this: If you have an 80% AFUE furnace, 80% of your energy dollar goes to heating your home, 20% goes out your furnace vent to heat the outside. By increasing your efficiency to 95%, now only 5% is lost to the outside. That 15% savings can go directly to help pay for a higher efficiency unit. In time, the savings will have paid the difference in cost, and now you can enjoy lower utility bills.

Choose that contractor

  • See our Quality Installation Checklist.
  • Take as many bids as you need to feel confident in your decision, before you buy a furnace.
  • Do NOT let price be your only guiding factor. The trustworthy, skilled contractor is probably not going to be the cheap guy.
  • Immediately weed out the contractors whom tell you that a Manual J calculation is not necessary.
  • Let your contractor impress you with his knowledge of his product, his recommendations should be best for YOU, the customer, not necessarily best for his pocketbook.
  • Check his references, and his credentials.

Another point to ponder before you buy a furnace: Higher AFUE units tend to be higher quality, cost less to maintain, and will outlive cheaper units. Therefore, you save money due to the extended life of the unit, as well!

Read more about gas furnaces

Read about high efficiency furnaces

Modulating Gas Furnaces

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