Cincinnati Homeowner’s Furnace Buying Guide for 2023-2024 Winter

If the old furnace in your Cincinnati area home is no longer providing enough warm air to keep your family comfortable, having a new furnace installed may be the solution you need. The 2024 winter outlook for the Greater Cincinnati area is calling for a colder than normal winter, with "above-normal precipitation and snowfall." That's enough reason to make sure you have the right furnace to keep heated air throughout your home.

That's why we created this furnace buying guide. There are numerous options available among modern furnaces to replace older furnaces and heat pumps, including natural gas furnaces, electric furnaces, oil furnaces, and propane furnaces. Choose from high-efficiency furnaces such as modulating gas furnaces with variable speed blowers or sealed combustion gas furnace equipment, energy-efficient two-stage gas furnaces, or standard energy-efficiency single-stage furnaces.

Before you buy any gas furnace or electric furnace, it helps to know how to choose a furnace for your home. You’ll need to know about furnace efficiency, capacity, and fuel source options before you can determine the best furnace type for your residence. These elements impact the initial cost of furnace installation as well as ongoing energy costs on your heating bill.

Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is a local Cincinnati HVAC contractor that helps area homeowners when it’s time to replace their home’s heating system. A NATE-certified HVAC technician will perform the necessary calculations to size a heating system correctly so you gain an efficient furnace that generates enough hot air to keep your programmable thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Our Comfort Consultants will help you better understand the efficiency rating of your existing furnace and how it compares to most modern furnaces, including a standard and high-efficiency model. Determine the type of heating fuel your new HVAC system will use and how this impacts monthly heating bills. Explore furnace prices and furnace reviews to pick the right furnace installation in your home.

Gas Furnace and Electric Furnace Sizing

Before you even think about looking at furnace cost, fuel source, or energy efficiency, you need to first consider furnace sizing. A perfect fit is essential across the board, no matter what type of furnace you want to buy, from a high-efficiency furnace to standard-efficiency electric furnaces and natural gas furnace units. Sizing plays a role in achieving optimal efficiency from your new heating system, keeping your living areas comfortable with enough warm air, avoiding equipment breakdowns, and preventing early failure of HVAC systems.

An old furnace or a new furnace measures capacity or size by British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTUs are units of heat and the BTU sizing of a furnace tells you how much heat the HVAC system can produce in BTUs in one hour.

When buying a new furnace, don’t rely on your existing furnace to tell you the proper heating system size for your home – old furnaces may not be sized correctly. The best way to find out the right size furnace for your home is to work with your trusted HVAC contractor. HVAC companies must perform a Manual J calculation to determine the home’s heating load in order to size a furnace correctly. This calculation will tell us how much heat a furnace needs to produce to raise indoor temperatures to a comfortable level, thus the heating power for your new furnace can be identified.

A new or old furnace that is too big or too small for the space wastes energy – even if it’s a high-efficiency furnace! An extra-large furnace blows hot air through the home too fast while a small unit may not produce enough hot air to raise temperatures. The forced air furnace will suffer excess stress and wear due to improper sizing, which causes these heating systems to break down more often and require earlier replacement. It may seem tempting to buy a larger furnace for producing heat faster or a smaller one to save money on furnace cost, but both options will increase your energy bills, increase discomfort, add repair expenses, and leave you stuck pursuing another furnace installation to correct these problems.

When it comes to central heating systems, the best furnace is one that is sized properly for your home. Work with heating and cooling professionals to find a new furnace that’s a good fit for your home.

Furnace Fuel Source Options

When shopping for a furnace for your home, you need to know which fuel source you want to use to heat it. There are natural gas furnaces, electric furnaces, oil furnaces, and propane models that can be installed in a home, depending on its access to these different types of heating fuel. The fuel source you settle on can impact the furnace cost as well as monthly heating and cooling bills.

In many cases, homeowners select a new furnace that uses the same fuel source as the existing model – this is what they are used to, and swapping out the old furnace will be simple. If your home has multiple types of energy available or if you want to connect to a new utility source, it may be better to switch the fuel source for your new furnace.

  • A natural gas furnace is most commonly used in homes throughout Cincinnati.
  • Electric furnaces may have higher energy efficiency ratings than a gas furnace but they can actually require more fuel to heat the home versus a gas furnace.
  • Homeowners with propane or oil furnaces must be responsible for monitoring stored fuel and scheduling tank fills to ensure the home has enough energy throughout the winter, or else there will be no more heat once the supply runs out.

A Furnace’s Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

Any modern furnace, from a gas furnace to oil furnaces and electric models, have an energy efficiency rating. A furnace’s AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) is a percentage that shows consumers how energy efficient a furnace model is at converting energy to heat. This number shares how much of the furnace’s total energy use was used to produce heating and how much was wasted in the process.

A minimum or standard efficiency furnace offers an 80% AFUE rating. Of all the energy the furnace consumed over a typical heating season, only 80% of it ended up as heat for the home – the other 20% became waste. All electric furnaces are high efficiency as no energy is wasted during the heating process. For gas furnaces, a high-efficiency furnace can be up to about 98% AFUE.

High-efficiency furnaces often include new technologies that facilitate low energy waste while offering better comfort inside the home. Some of the features that can be found in a high-efficiency furnace include:

  • A modulating furnace has a gas valve that makes automatic adjustments to reduce fuel consumption based on need, along with a variable speed blower motor that can adjust air delivery speed efficiently.

  • Two-stage gas furnaces have a two-stage blower motor that can operate at full speed or a reduced capacity to save energy. This is a more efficient furnace than single-stage furnaces that have a fixed-speed blower.

  • A sealed combustion furnace takes in air from the outdoors instead of pulling it from the living areas to reduce heat loss and offer higher efficiency versus atmospheric furnace models.

  • A condensing furnace has a secondary heat exchanger to allow the system to use more of the heat generated through combustion for space heating, increasing energy efficiency over standard furnace options with just one heat exchanger.

Furnace Prices When Shopping for HVAC Systems

Furnace prices are a concern for most homeowners as they shop. Electric, oil, propane, and gas furnace costs are impacted by the considerations discussed above.

  • Electric furnaces are generally less expensive than gas models in terms of purchasing a furnace for your home. As far as heating it, a gas furnace can reduce energy costs.

  • If a larger furnace is required to meet the heating load, this unit is typically more costly than a smaller system.

  • High-efficiency furnaces usually cost more than a standard or mid-energy efficient furnace to purchase. However, its use can reduce energy costs compared to lower-efficiency furnace options.

To find out the cost of a new furnace for your home, contact your HVAC contractor. These professionals are able to size furnace equipment correctly and help you explore the many furnace options available on the market. With guidance from trusted heating and cooling technicians, you’re sure to find a range of different furnace types that fit your budget.

Furnace Installation in Cincinnati

Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing replaces old furnaces in homes throughout the Cincinnati area. If your existing unit isn’t getting its job done or you wish to upgrade to a higher-efficiency furnace, we can help! Contact us today and request a quote for furnace installation and we’ll help you find the best furnace for your home.

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