Before you make a furnace purchase, consider that gas furnaces last an average of at least 15 years. About 20 percent of furnaces still warming homes today are more than 20 years old. You’ll be sharing many winters with your new furnace, whichever one you choose. A combination of factors influences the level of consumer satisfaction with a heating system. Your chances of making the right buying decision greatly increase if you consider these elements before you make a furnace purchase.


Not the dimensions in feet and inches, sizing refers to matching the BTU output of the furnace to the home’s heat requirements. It’s done by an HVAC contractor using specialized computer software. After entering room-by-room data on your home’s thermal characteristics, the software will compute the BTUs required to keep the house warm in the coldest expected temperatures. It’s important to get the size right. A furnace with too little BTU output can’t warm the home. An oversized furnace produces too much heat and cycles on and off frequently, wasting energy and boosting operating costs.


The energy efficiency of a gas furnace is expressed by its AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) percentage—the amount of energy that produces usable heat versus the amount lost in the combustion process. Today, gas furnaces that meet the Federal minimum AFUE of 78 percent are considered standard efficiency. High-efficiency furnaces come with AFUE ratings of 90 or above—and also a significantly higher upfront purchase price. Whether the payback from lower operating costs will come soon enough depends on the length of the average heating season and how long you plan to live in the home.

The House

The overall energy status quo of your home including air tightness, quality of insulation, and condition of ductwork will impact the performance of your new furnace. Substandard conditions in the efficiency of the home can negate many of the benefits of upgrading to a new furnace.

For more answers before you make a furnace purchase, contact the heating professionals at Pipe Works Services, serving Morris, Essex, Somerset, and Union counties.

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