If you take good care of your furnace, you only need to replace it every 10-15 years. But, when it comes time to buy a new furnace, you may have questions about the best energy source for the furnace. Some people base their choice of fuel on the current cost for that particular fuel, be it oil or natural gas. But, energy prices are fickle and can change radically from year to year. Your best bet for new furnace installation is to focus on efficiency and practical use, rather than the cost of fueling it.
Energy prices will fluctuate. And, you may buy an oil furnace because you think that heating oil prices will stay low, even as natural gas prices rise. But, this leaves you out in the cold when oil prices rise and you pay hundreds a month to keep your home warm during Canada's often bitter winters. According to Natural Resources Canada, you see that heating oil prices are about the same as they were a year ago, hovering around $1.20 per litre. While oil prices are currently dropping due to a decrease in crude oil prices, many experts argue that this is a temporary dip. In other words, you might be tempted to switch to heating oil with this new furnace. But, it is not necessarily a smart move for your bottom line.
Ultimately, energy efficiency and smart use of your furnace are the keys to saving money while heating your home. Each furnace has an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. The AFUE rating shows you what percentage of fuel is used to heat your home. Most Canadian homes require furnaces with an AFUE rating of 90 or higher, according to standards set by Natural Resources Canada. Models with the EnerGuide label may have higher AFUE ratings. Once you select the right furnace for your home, ask your HVAC technician for advice on the most efficient use of the machine. With sensible energy consumption and regular maintenance, you will get a longer life and better output from your furnace.
At the end of the day, what you really need is a furnace that will keep you warm without breaking the bank. And, although it seems efficient to buy a furnace based on fuel prices, this decision will not serve you in the long-term. Buy a furnace with a higher AFUE rating and maintain it well and your investment will keep you comfortable.
Contact an HVAC contractor, such as Ice Age Mechanical, for help finding and installing your new furnace.