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Buying a new furnace for your home is a daunting task (particularly when they almost all look the same, trust us, we know). What makes one furnace cost twice as much as the next one? Why does it matter how many stages your furnace has? Why does it matter what type of fuel your furnace uses? And why is our home comfort specialist telling you that this furnace is going to save you money when it costs more?  We hope this short blog gives you the knowledge you need to become a closet furnace expert and make the right decision when purchasing a new furnace for your home!

1. Different Types of Fuel

There are four fuel types that different furnace models will use. These types of fuel are gas, electricity, oil, and propane. In Windsor-Essex, the most common furnace (and most likely what’s in your home) by fuel type is a natural gas furnace. Let’s break down these fuel types by positives and negatives!

a. Natural Gas

A natural gas furnace ignites gas from the line to your home in the furnace’s burner. These flames within the burner then heat the metal exchanger and convert cold air into warm air. A natural gas furnace is not the cheapest to purchase; however, it has a low cost to operate.

b. Electricity

An electric furnace uses electric heating elements to convert cold air to hot air (similar to a toaster oven). An electric furnace is the cheapest type of furnace to purchase; however, it often has the highest cost to operate.

c. Oil & Propane

Oil and propane furnaces function similarly to their natural gas counterparts. The difference being that each fuel type has its unique benefits. Oil burns at a higher temperature (heating your home faster) and propane is more efficient than natural gas. The caveat is your home needs to have the proper accommodations to support these fuel types.

2. What is an AFUE?

If you have been browsing our furnaces (or anyone’s furnaces for that matter) you have probably seen an “AFUE rating.” What does that mean? AFUE stands for annualized fuel utilization efficiency… quite the mouthful. In layman’s terms, the higher the AFUE rating, the lower the operating cost to fuel the unit. This is why our home comfort specialist may recommend a higher-cost unit to save you money in the long run!

3. Different Types of Stages

There are three different types of stages that any given furnace can have. When you hear “stage” and furnace in the same sentence, always think of the flame. Why should you care about the flame and how it’s controlled within your furnace? The flame determines how accurately your furnace can produce the temperature your thermostat is requesting. This should make more sense if we break down the three types of stages in furnaces!

a. Single-Stage

A single-stage furnace only has one flame size. This means the flame can either be on or off and your furnace will fluctuate a couple degrees above and below your desired temperature.

b. Two-Stage

A two-stage furnace has two flame sizes (one small and one large). The two flame options give the furnace more accuracy to maintain your desired temperature.

c. Modulating

A modulating furnace has complete control over the size of the flame. The modulating flame creates the most accurate temperature control from any furnace on the market!

We hope this helps you in your furnace research journey! Of course, if you have any further questions about a specific furnace model, your home’s comfort, or general HVAC needs, reach out and a home comfort specialist will be in touch!

About Absolute Comfort Control Services

Absolute Comfort Control Services is a residential and commercial heating and cooling company that has been family-owned and operated since 2006. The Absolute Comfort team takes pride in delivering the correct HVAC solution for your home with no-surprise pricing. The designation of Trane Comfort SpecialistCarrier Expert, and Goodman Dealer ensures that our team has the most up-to-date knowledge in the fields of heating, cooling, and indoor air quality. Schedule a free in-home consultation and experience the Absolute Comfort difference.