Furnaces have been used in Americans’ home heating systems since their invention a century ago. A furnace works by circulating warm air throughout the rooms in your home, keeping the temperature of your living spaces comfortable.
Nowadays, furnaces come in various sizes and designs, with multiple fuel types available. The many options available to modern furnace shoppers make it possible to find a furnace for any home, regardless of size, layout, and climate.
Here, we’ll break down the types of furnaces available, as well as provide tips to keep in mind as you shop for your home heating system. With your furnace picked out and ready to go, you can head into this winter feeling prepared.
Furnaces Fuel Types Available
Home furnaces are typically characterized by the type of fuel that they use to operate. The type of fuel that your furnace needs to function can have a major impact on your home heating costs. So, be sure to consider the fuel type that’s the right fit for your needs before settling on a furnace to purchase.
Here are the main types of fuel available for furnaces:
Natural gas is the most common fuel type for home furnaces. Modern natural gas furnace designs are highly efficient and can save you a significant amount of money on home utility costs. In addition to being economical, natural gas furnaces are gentler on the environment than other furnace types, making them a go-to choice for eco-conscious homeowners.
Reliability is yet another benefit of natural gas furnaces. Even if your power were to cut out, many natural gas furnaces will keep working. So, even amid a severe winter storm, you can be confident in the fact that your natural gas furnace will keep you warm.
An electric furnace costs less than a gas furnace upfront, often by a significant margin. However, over time, electricity is far more costly than gas, so this type of furnace will cost you more in the long run. That said, electric furnaces also offer the benefits of easy installation and longevity (an electric furnace can last a decade longer than a natural gas furnace).
Propane is a non-toxic fuel source that homeowners without access to natural gas or oil can use to power their furnaces. It’s possible to store large amounts of propane at once, meaning that you won’t have to schedule frequent fuel deliveries. However, with a propane furnace, you may have to rent your propane tank from your energy provider. In this scenario, a rental fee will be tacked onto your utility bills.
Oil furnaces often come at a lower upfront cost than natural gas furnaces. However, this fuel source is less efficient and will lead to higher furnace fuel costs over time. Additionally, homeowners with oil furnaces must have oil delivered to their homes, and the maintenance for an oil furnace can be extensive due to soot and dirt accumulation.
Consider the Climate
In Colorado and many other states across the country, we experience frigid temperatures in the winter. So, it’s important for your furnace to have ample heating power for those chilly months.
Since you’ll be using your heater consistently during the winter in Colorado, it’s wise to look for the ENERGY STAR label as you shop for furnaces. This distinction means that a furnace meets certain efficiency guidelines, often saving you quite a bit on your home’s utility bill.
Consider Energy Efficiency
Beyond the ENERGY STAR label, you should also consider AFUE ratings as you shop for furnaces. This rating shows the percentage of heat output from the furnace. For example, an AFUE rating of 90% shows that 90% of the energy put out by the furnace is used to heat the home. The remaining 10% is lost.
AFUE ratings vary depending on the type of fuel used by the furnace. It’s often a good idea to settle on a fuel source first, then compare AFUE ratings between furnace options that use the same fuel source.
Talk To An Expert
Ultimately, the best way to find the right furnace for you is to talk to a Colorado heating expert. A professional in the field can evaluate your home’s unique needs and recommend options specifically for you.