When our parents went shopping for a new heating system, they basically had one option: a fuel-burning furnace. These days we have a variety of much better options, ranging from high-efficiency furnaces to solar, electric and geothermal models. You should take your time and do some research so you can make a well-informed decision on the type that’s the best fit for your home.
The general guide below will get you started.
- Gas-fueled furnaces – Furnaces that use gas are cleaner and more efficient than they were in the past. Look for an AFUE rating around 95 percent, which tells you 95 percent of the gas consumed by the furnace is converted to heating power.
- Geothermal – Most heating system experts agree that geothermal models are by far the most efficient on the market since the ground maintains it’s temperature much better than the air above, so geothermal units don’t have to create heat. These systems typically cost more up front, but the heat coming up from your ground is free, so all you have to pay for is annual maintenance to keep the equipment at peak performance. You will probably still need a gas or electric source to compliment the ground heat, but your energy bills will be significantly lower.
- Heat pumps – These units are another good option, especially if you’re concerned about the environment. They’re more efficient than furnaces because they pull heat from the air and transfer it to your home, rather than generating the heat.
Once you’ve narrowed your options down, a heating system expert can help you work out the details and settle on the exact model for your needs. Ask them about sizing your heating system, installation procedures, maintenance plans, rebates and lifetime costs. Then take all the factors into account and make the best decision for your budget and priorities.