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August 16, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Furnace for Homeowners

A woman looking at the temperature on her thermostat

As the seasons change and the temperature drops, ensuring your home stays warm and comfortable becomes a top priority. A reliable and efficient furnace is the cornerstone of a cozy living space, and making the right choice is crucial for both your comfort and your budget.

As a homeowner in Ontario, you know the value of a reliable heating system. It’s more than just a convenience; it’s a vital component of your home’s infrastructure.

Whether you’re looking to buy a replacement furnace, upgrade to a more energy-efficient model, or simply seeking to enhance your home’s heating capabilities, this furnace guide has you covered.

Types of Furnaces

When it comes to buying a new furnace, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the right type of furnace for your home. Furnaces come in various models, each with its own set of advantages, disadvantages, and suitability for different situations.

Gas Furnaces

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This type of furnace is the most popular choice for homeowners in Ontario and across North America. They operate by burning natural gas or propane to generate heat. Here’s what you need to know:

💡 Efficiency: Gas furnaces are known for their high efficiency, with many models achieving Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 90% or higher. This means they convert a significant portion of the fuel into heat, reducing energy costs.

🔥 Heating Power: Gas furnaces provide quick and powerful heating, making them ideal for cold Canadian winters.

💰 Cost: While gas furnaces tend to have a higher upfront cost, their energy efficiency can lead to long-term savings on heating bills.

🌳 Environmental Impact: Natural gas is a fossil fuel, so gas furnaces do produce carbon emissions. However, modern models are more efficient and produce fewer emissions compared to older units.

Electric Furnaces

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This type of furnace uses electricity to generate heat through electric resistance coils. They have their own set of advantages and considerations:

💡 Efficiency: Electric furnaces are considered efficient with high AFUE ratings. However, electricity tends to be a less efficient heating source compared to natural gas or propane in terms of overall cost.

🔥 Heating Power: They are relatively easy to install and may have lower installation costs compared to gas furnaces, as they don’t require gas lines.

💰 Cost: Electric furnaces provide consistent and even heating, making them suitable for smaller homes or regions with milder winters.

🌳 Environmental Impact: They produce no direct emissions, which can be an eco-friendly choice if your electricity comes from renewable sources.

Oil Furnaces

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Oil furnaces use heating oil to produce heat. They are less common today but are still found in older or rural homes.

💡 Efficiency: Oil furnaces can vary in efficiency, with older models often being less efficient than modern ones. Look for models with high AFUE ratings.

🔥 Heating Power: They provide strong heating performance and are suitable for colder climates.

💰 Cost: Consider the availability of heating oil in your area, as it may not be as accessible as natural gas or electricity. 

🌳 Environmental Impact: Oil furnaces produce emissions and require regular maintenance to minimize their environmental impact.

Propane Furnaces

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This type of furnace operates similarly to natural gas but uses propane as the fuel source. They are an option for homeowners who don’t have access to natural gas.

💡 Efficiency: Propane furnaces are known for their efficiency and can be a good alternative in areas without natural gas lines.

🔥 Heating Power: They provide efficient and powerful heating, suitable for cold climates.

💰 Cost: Propane prices can fluctuate, so factor in the cost of fuel when making your decision.

🌳 Environmental Impact: They have a moderate environmental impact because they produce carbon dioxide when burned.

A gas furnace in an unfinished basement

Choosing the Right Furnace for Your Home

When it comes to buying a new furnace, it’s crucial to start by understanding your specific heating needs. Ontario’s climate and your home’s unique characteristics play a significant role in determining the right furnace for you.

Climate Considerations

The first step is to assess the climate in your region and understand how your furnace will be used seasonally. Do you need a furnace that can handle extreme cold? Or one that provides consistent, efficient heating for milder winters?

Home Size and Layout

The size of your home and its layout are critical factors to consider. Larger homes often require more powerful furnaces, while smaller homes or apartments may suffice with smaller units. Think about how many floors your home has, if it’s an open concept or segmented, as well as insulation levels. Each of these can impact heat distribution.

Calculating Heating Load

An improperly sized furnace can lead to wasted energy, discomfort, and increased maintenance costs. Use this formula to determine which size is best for your home:

1 square foot of a house = 30 BTUs

For example, if your house is 1,000 square feet, then a furnace with a 30,000 BTU output would be perfect for warming it evenly. This is of course a rough estimate, but is nonetheless a helpful guide to follow when shopping.

It’s strongly recommended to consult with a professional HVAC technician or heating specialist to perform the manual calculation and determine the correct furnace size. They will ensure your furnace is tailored to your home’s specific requirements.

Schedule a Heating Load Assessment

Current System Assessment

If you’re looking to buy a replacement furnace, assess its performance and whether it adequately met your heating needs. Note any issues, such as uneven heating or high energy bills, as these can inform your decision for a new furnace.

 A plastic silhouette of a house beside an ascending colour scale

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

Energy conservation matters, especially when it comes to furnaces. 

When buying a new furnace, its efficiency ratings will tell you how much energy the unit will waste while running at peak conditions. There are two certifications to check: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) and ENERGY Star Ratings.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

The AFUE rating measures how efficiently a furnace converts fuel into heat for your home. Its formula divides the energy the furnace uses by the heat it produces to give you a value in BTUs. 

A high value is better, as it means only a small percentage of fuel is lost during combustion. The minimum number value for an efficient furnace is 80, with modern models promising an AFUE rating between 90 and 98. 

Furnace Type Average AFUE Rating
Natural Gas 90-98.5%
Oil 84-90%
Electric 95-100%
Propane 90-98%

ENERGY STAR Ratings

This iconic blue star logo denotes a product as being energy efficient. A furnace adorned with this icon means it’s passed the strict energy efficiency guidelines administered by Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency.

ENERGY STAR-labelled products guarantee efficient performance that will reduce your carbon footprint while helping you save on utility bills. Investing in appliances they have certified is a great way to improve home energy efficiency.

💡 Related resource: Tips to Make Homes More Energy Efficient

Professional Installation and Maintenance

Furnace installation is an intricate process that requires careful consideration. It’s more than just placing the heating appliance in the basement; you must also consider how your ductwork and ventilation system should be arranged. 

Always opt for professional furnace installation. A certified HVAC technician has the expertise to install your furnace correctly, ensuring safety, efficiency, and compliance with local building codes.

A properly insulated duct system

Furnace Installation Process

Ducts transport air in and out of the furnace. HVAC installers tread carefully during duct installation to ensure no leaks or potential issues hinder performance. 

  • Placement: HVAC professionals recommend installing a ductwork system in conditioned spaces for controlled temperatures and humidity. These areas add efficiency and prevent energy loss. 
  • Sizing verification: The technician will verify that the furnace is appropriately sized for your home by conducting a Manual J load calculation, as discussed. They’ll also assess ductwork to ensure proper airflow.
  • Safety checks: During installation, safety measures such as gas leak detection and carbon monoxide testing are essential to protect your household.
  • Ductwork inspection: The technician will inspect and, if necessary, seal or repair ductwork to prevent heat loss and ensure efficient air distribution.
  • Thermostat integration: They’ll integrate your new furnace with your thermostat or recommend an upgraded one if needed, allowing for precise temperature control.
  • Warranty registration: Ensure the furnace’s warranty is registered promptly to take full advantage of manufacturer guarantees.

Get a Furnace Installation Quote

Furnace Maintenance Tips

Like other appliances, furnaces also need maintenance to prevent sudden breakdowns, major inconveniences, and discomfort at home.

Regular Inspections and Cleanings

It’s highly recommended that homeowners schedule annual inspections and cleanings with an HVAC specialist to maintain the performance of their new furnace.

During each session, a technician checks all parts for wear and tear, tests their functions, and addresses any issues. These yearly check-ups are great for detecting early signs of damage to prevent costly repairs. 

Replace Air Filters

A dirty filter causes decreased air delivery, insufficient heating and cooling, and poor air quality. That’s why you must change your furnace filter every 90 days (or less), depending on how often your furnace is used. 

 

Furnace Maintenance Plans Starting at Only $7.99 / Month

LG Home Comfort furnace maintenance plans start at an affordable monthly cost. We provide a range of furnace maintenance plans to keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently all year long. With a furnace maintenance plan, you'll have peace of mind knowing that our expert technicians are regularly maintaining your furnace.

Billed Monthly Billed Yearly

Furnace Tune-Up Plan

$7.99 / mo
$129 / yr

Get monthly or year-round furnace maintenance with our 24-point service plan.

Get Plan

Furnace & AC Tune-Up Bundled Plan

$14.99 / mo
$179 / yr

Service your furnace and air conditioner with our comprehensive bundled maintenance plan. This plan includes our 24-point furnace and 26-point air conditioner tune-up for one low price. This service is completed over two days.

Get Plan

Premium Whole-Home Package

$22.99 / mo
$279 / yr

Receive complete HVAC maintenance with our premium whole-home package. This includes the 24-point furnace and 26-point air conditioner tune-up, water heater preventative maintenance, and inspections of additional HVAC products. This service is completed over two days.

Get Plan

The Cost of Buying a New Furnace

New furnaces are not a one-and-done purchase. They’re an investment, and as a homeowner, understanding the costs involved is crucial for a smooth and informed purchase. As such, we advise you to consider upfront costs as well as those you’ll encounter down the line.

Initial Investment vs. Long-Term Savings

Some factors that affect the furnace unit cost include furnace type, size, brand, and energy efficiency rating. As with anything, you often get what you pay for—immediately opting for the cheapest option probably isn’t a great idea.

If you plan to buy an energy-efficient gas furnace with an AFUE rating of 98%, you can expect to pay anywhere from $4,000 to $6,500. However, while you may be paying more upfront, the return on your investment is key. 

  • Less energy consumption for enhanced comfort
  • Lower monthly energy costs 
  • Reduced repair costs
  • Long-term durability
  • Increased home value
  • Financial incentives

LG Home Comfort Promotions

LG Home Comfort is proud to offer a multitude of ongoing promotions to make buying a new furnace and other HVAC services more affordable.

  • Free annual maintenance plan with the purchase of any equipment
  • “Name your price” on the purchase and installation of an AC unit (while supplies last)

A homeowner reviews the terms and conditions of a warranty

Heating Canadian Homes with Reliable Furnace Services

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of what to look for when buying a furnace, you’re in the right place to make a purchase.

Before you take the next step, take the time to consult with a certified HVAC professional to ensure you’re buying a unit that will benefit your home the most. We at LG Home Comfort are happy to help you with that!

Our same-day furnace installation services include everything from the initial consultation to curating your customized solution, to the actual installation. We understand that Canadian families require safe and reliable heating systems, especially during the colder months, which is why our licensed and experienced HVAC technicians do it right the first time.

Call us today to learn more about our heating and cooling solutions.

 

Types of Furnace Units We Install

LG Home Comfort installs a variety of furnace units, each with its own unique features and benefits.

Gas Furnaces

Natural gas furnaces are popular for their effectiveness and efficiency in colder climates. Suitable for homeowners looking for a low-cost heating solution.

Get a Quote
Oil Furnaces

Popular among homeowners without access to natural gas. Known for their reliability and efficiency

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Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are popular for their quiet operation. They are suitable options for mild-climate homes.

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High-Efficiency Furnaces

Ideal for homeowners looking to reduce energy bills and care for the environment. These furnaces maximize energy efficiency and minimize energy waste.

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Variable-Speed Furnaces

Provides more precise temperature control and energy efficiency. Know to adjust their heating output according to the current temperature and heating needs.

Get a Quote

FAQs

What’s the Average Lifespan of a Furnace?

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The average lifespan of a furnace is around 15 years but can extend to 30 years if regular, professional maintenance is performed. 

Can I Switch From a Gas to an Electric Furnace?

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It’s possible to switch from a gas to an electric furnace. However, you’ll need expert help from HVAC professionals to ensure a smooth transition.

Are Smart Thermostats Compatible With All Furnaces?

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Furnaces installed after 1975 are compatible with smart thermostats.

Can I Install My Own Furnace?

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Absolutely not. Furnace installation requires the skill and knowledge of HVAC professionals to ensure safety and proper function. 

How Long Does It Take To Install a New Furnace?

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It can take anywhere from four to 10 hours, depending on size and type.

Is a High-Efficiency Furnace Worth It?

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Given the benefits you’ll see in both your heating and energy bills, investing in a high-efficiency furnace is absolutely worthwhile. 

Terms and Conditions

  • Once an initial service has been completed, the customer will be on a one-year commitment
  • After the initial 12 months, the contract will be renewed on a month-to-month cadence
  • If a service is completed for the next year, it automatically renews the commitment for an additional year
  • Customers can cancel at any time after the 12-month initial commitment as long as the following year’s service has not been completed.
  • Customers need to provide 30 days written notice in order to cancel their plan