How to Choose the Right Type of Furnace for Energy Efficiency

It can be hard work to buy the right kind of furnace for your home. Whether you visit a neighborhood hardware store or try to research online, it’s not easy to correctly identify your ideal furnace. You don’t only need to determine the best size and type of furnace to meet your needs, you also must choose the level of efficiency and then see if it fits your budget.

The most effective approach would be to consult with a specialist heating contractor. But first you’ll need to learn a bit about the different types of furnaces and what they cost.

You must initially decide the kind of fuel source your furnace will have. There are gas, oil and electricity powered furnaces. It is possible to choose a fuel source other than the one you already have, but while it may be more efficient, you will also have to cope with higher installation costs.

Gas Furnaces

These heating devices are fueled by natural gas or propane. The system extracts heat from the exhaust, and either warms air under pressure or water which is circulated around the building. Gas furnaces have efficiencies of around 90%, and are more expensive than the slightly less efficient models which are called non-condensing furnaces.

A higher efficiency furnace, though initially costlier, can save money on heating costs so that it repays you over time. In addition, some states offer a tax credit for installing more efficient furnaces, further lowering your cost of installing these devices.

Oil Furnaces

Oil furnaces are not as popular as gas furnaces, though not completely phased out. In general, oil-based furnaces are less efficient than gas driven models despite technological advances making them far better than their historical predecessors. With an efficiency rating of around 85%, these latest models cost between $1,500 and $3,000 in addition to qualifying for federal tax credits.

Electric Furnaces

These machines turn electricity into heat energy. The heat warms blower driven air which is then distributed through pipes all over the building, in a similar fashion to a centralized air conditioning unit. Electric furnaces are less expensive and you can have one installed for $500 to $1,000.

Electric furnaces can double as air-cooling units because the same mechanism can be used to cool air and circulate it through the same pipes. They may also be used to warm the floor of your building through concealed heating pipes. When it comes to efficiency ratings, electric furnaces consistently score between 90% and 100%.

The energy efficiency of electric furnaces can be enhanced through the use of a heat pump which can drive air from outside (especially in moderate climates) into the warmer than generating it from cold air. This also qualifies your furnace for tax credits which further lower the cost of installation and maintenance.

While choosing the right type of furnace can go a long way in lowering your costs and boosting your energy efficiency, this is not a simple decision and you will benefit from a consultation with a technical expert about it.

The uSwitch price comparison website energy comparison facility is always recommended by author Sam Jones as being the best place to secure the cheapest prices from all of the main energy suppliers


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