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Residential Furnaces | 5 Key Factors to Consider Before Buying a Furnace

residential furnaces

5 key factors to consider when replacing residential furnaces

When purchasing some items the options are fairly limited and/or unimportant. It’s not a huge deal-breaker if a cooler holds 48 or 60 beverages or if a backpack is red or blue. Unfortunately when it comes to appliances and equipment for the home the details are what make the purchase such an excruciating task. One such instance is when purchasing or replacing residential furnaces. At first glance one might think he or she will be able to walk into a dealer, tell them what kind of house they have, and have the furnace delivery man come in a day or two. As most people who have that thought soon find out, there’s much more than meets the eye.

Energy Ratings

There are different energy ratings and minimum efficiency requirements depending on the climate in which you live. Those who live in areas with a milder winter won’t need as high of an energy rating on their residential furnaces but those who have bitter cold spells would benefit from an upgrade. There’s a slippery slope with energy ratings because the higher they are, the more the furnaces cost – but also the more money that will be saved in utility bills.

Gas, Fuel Oil, or Electricity

Often times when looking for a new residential furnace, the choice of whether to buy a gas, oil, or electric one is already made for you based on the house hookups. That being said while the basic essentials of how a furnace works internally are very similar, whether they run on gas, fuel oil, or electricity is a huge difference.

Single, Double, or Modulating

How many stages a furnace has kind of goes along with the energy rating but it is an important factor that sets residential furnaces apart. For instance a single stage is less expensive but has a burner that is either just ‘on’ or ‘off’. A double stage has a setting where the burner and flame can be on ‘high’ and ‘low’ simultaneously depending on how much heat is needed. A modulating is most efficient because it has fine settings that kick out only the amount of heat that is needed.


In essence the capacity of residential furnaces is basically their size. Capacity is very comparable to engine horsepower meaning that the physical size isn’t that much different but the internal workings produce much more power. The capacity is measured in BTU and it’s important to get a large enough capacity furnace to heat your entire house.

Conventional or Condensing

Conventional furnaces are the familiar older ones where the exhaust escapes out a chimney flue or vent whereas modern condensing heating units capture and break down the exhaust and use parts of it as a resource.

Consumers now know there are options to consider when buying residential furnaces and they should no longer flip open a book and say, “that one will do.”

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