What To Consider When Buying A New Furnace

Summer is a great time to think ahead about a new heating system for the winter

In choosing a new furnace, you will ultimately be balancing initial system and installation costs with long term operational costs, including maintenance. Here are some tips to get you started.


First let’s look at different types of furnace by fuel source.

Electricity. These furnaces are less expensive to buy, but their operating costs are high. In most of the country, electricity costs more per BTU than almost any other source, even firewood. This should only be on your list if you’re in some remote place without access to natural gas, and even then heat pumps are almost always a better choice.

Natural gas. If you have access to a source, it is much cheaper per unit than electricity, and ideal for places with long, cold winters where you need your furnace to be a real workhorse.

Propane and heating oil. These furnaces may be cheaper than other options, but the cost per BTU sometimes exceeds that of electric resistance furnaces. The prices for oil and propane fluctuate, and they usually require an unsightly storage tank in your yard. These furnaces are being phased out in new buildings and also in older houses that need new systems. They may still be worth considering in places where natural gas is not available and it’s too cold for heat pumps to work well.


The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is the percentage of the fuel that powers a fuel-burning furnace that is converted into usable heat for the building. The minimum for new systems is 78, and average systems are in the 80-85 range. The best systems in the industry are 95-98.


How big your home is, how airtight it is, and the local climate will affect what size heating system is best for you. Other things being equal, smaller systems cost less. To reduce the size and expense of the furnace your home needs, you can take steps to reduce draft and increase efficiency.

Installation considerations

Gas furnaces require special pipes and ventilation, which will cost extra if your house isn’t already fitted out for it. Geothermal and water source heat pumps involve a lot of digging, and the total cost including installation can be over $20,000. But they can cut energy bills by 40-60%, so whether that can save you more in the long term is another thing to ask your HVAC technician about.

Twin Air is here to help

We are a family-owned heating and air conditioning company with 20 years of experience in the industry. Whether you’re replacing an old system or installing one in your new home, we’ll walk you through the factors that affect your furnace choice. We can take care of installation and any needed modifications. Give us a call at (703) 754-1062 or contact us on our website.

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