How to Choose the Best Heater or Furnace for Your Home

Selecting the ideal heating system for your house is no easy task. Some heaters have a lifespan of upwards of 20 years. Choose the wrong heater, and you may feel stuck with your decision for decades. That’s why it’s so important to thoroughly research the best heating system for your house before you make a final decision.

Given that heating bills can make up as much as half of your overall energy costs, the system you select can seriously impact your monthly budget. Keep reading to learn which heating system is best for a house like yours. No matter which option you choose, your local Aire Serv pro can help install and maintain your heater or furnace and keep it running efficiently for years to come.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Heating System for Your Home

There are a number of important factors to consider when deciding which heating system is best for a house. Start by assessing your current heater. If you’ve had minimal issues with it and just need to replace an aging system, you may want to replace it with the same or a similar model. If your existing heater isn’t meeting your needs, further research is necessary to find the right heater for your home.

Choose the Right Type of Heating System

Selecting the best heating system for your house is easier said than done if you have no idea which system is right for your needs. Here’s an overview of the various types of home heating systems and some pros and cons for each:

Central Heating System

Central heating systems offer both reliable warmth and longevity. These systems have long lifespans and can effectively keep all areas of your home warm during winter months. They require minimal maintenance, too. The one drawback is that if your home is not fitted with the necessary ductwork, installation of a central heating system can be more expensive than some other systems.

Ducted System

Ducted heating systems rely on a single control panel that operates one unit per room. The heat arrives via duct pipes and vents. This kind of zoning heating allows you to adjust the temperature from one room to the next. Installation costs can vary, depending on whether you have the existing ductwork in place. If not, the installation will take longer and it will cost you a little more to set up this type of system.

Ductless Heating System

If you’re looking for an especially energy-efficient option for heating your home, a ductless system may be the way to go. A lot of the heat your system generates is lost through ductwork; without ducts, you end up with a much more energy-efficient system. You’ll enjoy lower energy costs and a long unit lifespan. The drawbacks lie in the upfront installation costs (which can be significant) and the ongoing maintenance required to keep your system working properly.

Direct Heating System

When you hear the term direct heating system, you might think this refers to space heaters. While those are one kind of direct heating, there are many direct heating systems on the market that are specifically designed to heat your entire home. They’re easier to retrofit than central heating systems but can be more expensive to operate (depending on your climate and fuel costs).

Choose the Right Furnace Size

Choosing a furnace size that is based on the size of your home will ensure you’re comfortable and your system doesn't work overtime to maintain a good temperature. Undersized and oversized heaters can cause a number of problems like insufficient heating, higher energy costs, and more. To determine which size furnace is right for your home, first, calculate the square footage of your home. Then find your climate zone. Multiply your square footage by the number of BTUs recommended for your zone. The result is your recommended furnace size in BTUs.

Check for the AFUE Rating

As you’re deciding what the best heating system for your house is, do some research to determine the AFUE ratings of various furnaces and boilers. Also known as Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, this percentage can be found on the manufacturer’s website or on a yellow label on the system itself. To really understand how AFUE applies to your heating needs, convert it to dollars. Let’s say you’re considering a system with 80 percent AFUE. For every dollar you spend on heating fuel, only 80 cents will actually go towards heating your home. The other 20 cents worth of fuel escapes as a byproduct of the system. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more efficient the system is. A system with a high AFUE can help pay for itself over time in the form of energy efficiency.

How Quickly Do You Need Heat?

If you’re looking for the quickest way to heat your home, you may want to opt for a ductless system. They’re easy and quick to install, and initial costs are much lower than a ducted system.

Consider the Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is another key factor to weigh when considering the different types of house heating. Generally speaking, electric systems tend to be more energy-efficient than gas systems, which are more efficient than oil heating systems.

Depending on your needs, you may also want to look for specific safety features when determining the best heating system for your house. High-temperature limit controls, flue exhaust pressure sensors, and a flame-proving sensor can all be instrumental in preventing home fires. Air filters can help reduce airborne allergens and dust, which will improve indoor air quality.

Choose Your Most Reliable Heating Expert

Learning how to select a furnace comes with understanding the pros and cons of each system, and how they relate to your specific heating needs. If you have more questions or would like help choosing a heating system that’s right for your home, our team of heating experts can offer guidance. We can provide insight into the best-size heating system based on the square footage of your home, and shed light on what to expect in terms of ongoing costs and maintenance.

Aire Serv professionals work around the clock to deliver results when you need them. If you’re in the market for a new heating system but aren’t sure where to begin, allow us to walk you through your options for the best heating system for your house. Schedule your appointment online, or call today!