Choose The Right Home Furnace
Know your options for different types and sizes of furnace.
Time for a furnace replacement?
If your current home heating system is no longer cutting it in the crisp cold of Ottawa's winters, knowing what to look for in your next one will save you a lot of time, money and stress.
There are plenty of things to focus on when you're shopping for a new furnace, and that can make it hard to know where to begin.
Today, we're going to focus on two important factors to look for and help you get started:
- Furnace fuel types
- Furnace sizes
Starting here will give you a good idea of what to look for before you start to narrow down other important buying factors, like which systems will fit your budget and what kind of maintenance & protection plan you want with it.
Furnace fuel types.
Furnaces can be gas-powered, oil-powered, electrical, or modulating.
These are the most common types in North America.
Gas is used to ignite the burner, heating the air inside the furnace before it is blown out through the duct system to heat your home.
These systems operate the same way as gas furnaces, but - as you may have guessed - rely on oil instead of gas for fuel.
This option is most often found in colder regions or in homes that can’t be connected to a gas line.
These furnaces use heating elements inside the unit to heat the air before blowing it through the duct system.
Electrical furnaces are often more expensive up front, but they can also be some of the most fuel-efficient available and save you money in the long run.
These types of heating systems are consistently running to provide precise temperature settings.
These furnaces operate at a high-efficiency rate but typically cost more initially.
Once you decide on the type of furnace you want, the next step is to determine the size of the furnace best suited to your needs and the size of your home.
Step 1: How furnace sizes are measured.
There are several key factors to take into account here.
These include the size of your home, the amount of heat your furnace produces (in BTUs), and how efficient the furnace is.
Furnaces measure heating capacity in BTUs (British thermal units).
A BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
The average furnace typically produces between 80,000 and 100,000 BTUs an hour.
The next factor to consider is the efficiency of the furnace.
Every furnace is rated with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating.
All gas-powered furnaces in Canada are required to have a minimum rating of 90% AFUE, but more efficient furnaces can reach up to 97% efficiency.
The total amount of BTUs produced by your furnace is calculated by comparing the efficiency rating to the heating capacity.
For example, if you have a furnace that has the capacity to produce 100,000 BTUs of heat an hour, but the furnace only has an 85% AFUE rate, the actual amount of heat the furnace is producing is only 85,000 BTUs.
The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient your furnace is at producing heat.
Step 2: Sizing your furnace for your home.
Sizing a furnace for your home is essential, and can be the most complicated step in the process.
The size of your home can have a huge impact on your furnace's overall performance, such as how well it maintains heat.
Your home's age, orientation, windows, and insulation also all play a part in the furnace’s operation.
Because of how complicated this is, HVAC professionals have devised an equation called the Manual J Load calculation to find the optimal size of furnace you need for your home.
Start your search for new furnace with Anchor Home Comfort.
A new furnace is a big investment.
The pros at Anchor can help you break it into more manageable chunks, starting with size & fuel, so you can feel confident in making the right decision for your needs, budget and home comfort.