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Here's How to Choose a New Furnace for Your Indiana Home

Furnace Buying Guide

When the time comes to have a new furnace installed in your Indianapolis area residence, do you know how to choose a new furnace for your home? When it comes to your home’s heating system, there are many available options. An old furnace can be replaced by different types of forced air furnace heating systems, including a natural gas furnace, electric furnace, high efficiency furnace, oil furnaces, modulating gas furnaces, two stage gas furnaces, single stage furnaces, propane furnaces, furnaces with variable speed blowers, sealed combustion gas furnaces, heat pumps, or other central heating systems.

Before you start to browse the many different types of natural gas furnaces and electric furnaces, there are a few important factors you need to know about first. Making decisions regarding furnace efficiency rating, furnace cost, how much heat your home needs, and fuel source will help you determine the right furnace type for your household and narrow down your choices amongst the many modern furnaces available on the market.

It helps to work with a trusted HVAC contractor like Williams Comfort Air as you shop for a new furnace for your home. A qualified HVAC technician will help you understand your existing furnace and HVAC system equipment so you can see the differences between what you have and the best furnace choices that deliver the energy efficiency and performance you’d like to have from your heating and cooling units. Our Homeowner’s Buying Guide is the place to start when there are older furnaces in need of replacement!

Learn how the efficiency rating ranges between old furnaces and various modern furnace equipment. Discover the features available in most modern furnaces that boost energy efficiency, along with how an efficient furnace impacts your energy costs and monthly heating bills. Determine the heating power your home needs in British Thermal Units (BTUs) so your new furnace is sized correctly to provide enough warm air for your house. Explore your fuel source options and see how your choice will impact your energy bills as well as the initial cost of furnace installation.

Sizing a New Gas Furnace or Electric Furnace

Before you start exploring different gas furnaces, oil furnaces, and electric furnaces, whether you think you want a high efficiency model or units with the most affordable furnace prices, you need to know what size unit your home requires. Sizing HVAC systems correctly, both heating and cooling equipment included, is incredibly important in terms of optimal efficiency, an affordable heating bill, producing heat properly, and protecting the equipment.

A new furnace should be sized as a perfect fit – not too big and not too small. The size of any gas furnace or electric furnaces, from high efficiency furnaces to older furnaces, is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The size of a furnace tells you how many BTUs of hot air can be produced by the furnace over an hour. To determine the right furnace size for your home, HVAC companies determine the heating load of your home. A Manual J calculation will show your HVAC contractor how much heat is needed to reach a comfortable temperature on our programmable thermostat.

While you might think that purchasing a larger unit for furnace installation will provide more heat at a faster pace or selecting a smaller unit will help you save on gas furnace costs, avoid these errors at all costs. A new furnace won’t be energy efficient if it is not sized correctly. The heating system will struggle as it blows hot air through the vents, which creates discomfort and causes wear and tear to the furnace. Improperly sized furnaces experience more breakdowns and fail sooner than those sized right for a home, and the only way to correct the problems they pose is to replace these HVAC systems.

The best furnace for your home is one that is the right size. Work with a professional to ensure you find the perfect fit.

Fuel Source for a New Furnace

Prior to buying any HVAC system equipment for home heating, you need to put some thought into the fuel source that will be used to generate heat. You can get a standard efficiency furnace or a high efficiency furnace that operates using natural gas, electricity, propane, or heating oil. The fuel source you select will impact your energy bills as well as the upfront costs associated with furnace installation.

Many homeowners choose a new furnace that runs using the same type of fuel as their old furnace for simplicity’s sake. However, if you have access to multiple energy types or plan to connect to natural gas utility lines during furnace installation, choosing a different heating system fuel than your old furnace required may be advantageous.

  • Natural gas furnaces are the most popular type of heating system in homes throughout the Indianapolis area.
  • A gas furnace is typically more affordable to operate than an electric model, resulting in a lower monthly heating bill. This is due to utility rates and the amount of fuel consumed for producing heat.
  • Propane and oil furnaces can be found in older homes with fuel storage on site, but there are some hassles that come along with their use. Homeowners must monitor fuel levels and schedule refueling or risk running out of fuel for a propane gas furnace or oil furnace, which will leave the home without heat until more fuel arrives.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rating of a New Furnace

Every type of gas furnace or electric heating system unit has an efficiency rating that tells homeowners how energy efficient the furnace performs. Furnace energy efficiency is represented by a unit’s AFUE rating, which stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. AFUE tells you how efficient furnace options use fuel to produce warm air as well as how much the unit wastes energy. AFUE is a percentage that shows how much of the energy taken in by a unit is used to create heat.

A minimum efficiency furnace has an 80% AFUE rating. This means 80 percent of the energy the furnace consumes is used to make heat, while 20 percent of that energy is wasted. If you prefer a more energy efficient option, high efficiency furnaces are available up to 100% AFUE for electric furnaces and around 98% AFUE for gas furnaces. Electric furnaces are 100 percent energy efficient due to the way they create heat without waste, but these units may require more energy use to match the heating output of a high efficiency furnace that uses gas.

High efficiency furnaces feature different technologies that allow the heating system to generate less energy waste, and these features aren’t typically found in a standard efficiency furnace. Some options available among high efficiency furnaces include:

  • Modulating furnace equipment that features a modulating gas valve for fine temperature adjustments as well as a variable speed blower motor that can vary airflow speed.
  • Two stage gas furnaces have a blower motor that can operate at 100 percent capacity or at reduced capacity depending on the current heating needs. These furnaces aren’t as high efficiency as a modulating furnace but are more energy efficient than single stage furnaces that have only one blower operating speed.
  • Sealed combustion furnaces draw air in from outdoors rather than from the home’s interiors, which minimizes heat loss for greater energy efficiency versus atmospheric furnaces.
  • Condensing furnaces are among the most high efficiency furnaces and feature a second heat exchanger to capture more heat from the byproducts produced by combustion.

How Furnace Prices Factor In

The price of a new furnace is very important to most homeowners’ purchase decisions when planning for furnace installation. All the factors mentioned above do impact the cost of furnace equipment in some way.

  • Gas furnaces tend to be more expensive than electric models, even though they are often more affordable to operate.
  • Larger furnaces are generally more expensive than smaller units.
  • A high efficiency furnace will typically cost more than standard efficiency units, and furnace prices tend to increase with a furnace’s efficiency.

Your HVAC contractor can provide you with a quote for furnace installation, which will include the furnace cost of the new furnace for your home. There are many equipment options available from various HVAC manufacturers, so don’t rule out one type of furnace before you start shopping just because you expect it’s out of your price range!

Find a New Furnace for Your Indianapolis Area Home

If you need a new furnace for your home in the Indianapolis area, Williams Comfort Air is here to help. Our Comfort Consultants will assist you in determining the appropriate size for your new heating unit and help you understand the various features and efficiency ratings available. With this expert guidance, you can easily find the best furnace that meets your needs and fits your budget.

To learn more about furnace options and to request a quote for furnace installation in your home, contact our team today!

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