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Furnace Buying Guide 2021: How to Choose a New Furnace

By: Team ProSolutions

Need a new furnace for your Edmonton home this year? If so, now is the time to start considering your options! There are many important factors to consider before buying an HVAC system - from size and efficiency to the best furnace brands and more. So, as one of the best furnace installation companies in Edmonton, we thought we'd put together a furnace buying guide to help you with how to choose a new furnace.

Our buying guide will discuss everything you need to know about buying a furnace in 2021, so you can guarantee you choose the perfect system for your home. Plus, our furnace experts will share with you what HVAC systems they recommend - and have in their own homes.

Here’s what you need to know when buying a furnace in 2021.

How long should a furnace last?
How do you know when your furnace needs to be replaced?
How much does a new furnace cost?
Does a new furnace add value to home?
What are the different types of furnaces?
What efficiency furnace should I buy?
What is the best and most efficient furnace?
What size furnace do I need?
Which furnace brand is best?
How do I choose the best furnace installer?

How long should a furnace last?

Most furnaces last approximately 15 to 20 years. This means you should replace your HVAC system every 15 to 20 years or so.

Keep in mind, this is an average. A high-quality system will be the most reliable and last the longest - especially if it well-maintained. In fact, regular maintenance will help to maximize the lifetime of your furnace and reduce the likelihood that any major repairs are needed.

Finding a professional furnace installation and maintenance expert to install your new furnace and conduct regular maintenance on it is just as important as choosing the furnace itself. If you live in the Edmonton area, a local furnace company is the best choice. They will be familiar with the climate in your area and therefore, know how to best care for your HVAC system. Hiring a local company is especially important in Alberta, as winters can be extremely cold, taking a toll on your furnace.

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How do you know when your furnace needs to be replaced?

In some cases, determining when your furnace needs to be replaced is straightforward. However, if your HVAC system requires repairs, it can be more difficult to decide - especially if the repairs will be costly. 

Luckily, there is a simple equation used by heating, plumbing, and air conditioning companies to determine whether a unit should be repaired or replaced. The equation looks at the cost of repairs, how many more years a furnace has left, and the cost of a new furnace.

So, if you need to decide whether to repair or replace your furnace, here’s how you can tell:

Step 1. Calculate - Cost of Repair x Age of the Unit (in years)
Step 2. Compare the number above to the cost of replacing your unit
Step 3. If the number you calculated in the first step is greater than the cost of replacing your furnace then you should REPLACE YOUR FURNACE

Repair vs Replace Example

Your furnace is 10 years old and is going to cost $700 to repair
To replace the unit would cost $5,000

In this case, it would be wise to replace your furnace.

$700 (cost to repair) x 10 (age of unit) = $7,000
$7,000 > $5,000 (cost to replace)

Still unsure if you should repair vs replace your furnace? An Edmonton heating services company can help! As Edmonton homeowners ourselves, the experts at ProSolutions PHAC are familiar with the local climate and can help you decide if it makes sense to replace your HVAC system or if it would be more cost-effective to have it repaired. We can also assist you with how to choose a new furnace, so you can find the perfect unit for your home!

How much does a new furnace cost?

The cost for a new furnace will depend on the brand, size, efficiency, the installation company you hire, etc. However, in Edmonton, on average, you can expect to pay $3,500 to $7,500, including installation. 

Although it will cost more initially, having a professional heating company install your furnace is crucial. This is because a furnace that is installed and calibrated properly will save you money in the long run. It will run more efficiently and be less likely to experience major issues that require costly repairs.

In Alberta, a heat-loss calculation is also required when installing a furnace. This calculation will be done by the Edmonton heating company you hire.

Does a new furnace add value to home?

Can’t decide if you should buy a new furnace because you’ll be selling your home in the near future? No worries!

Although you aren’t likely to get back 100% of what you paid for your furnace, you can expect to recoup a large percentage. In fact, in Canada, homeowners can anticipate receiving 50% to 80% of the total cost of their heating system back when they sell their homes. This is because a newly installed furnace adds value to the home and increases the selling price (especially if it’s a high-efficiency system). As well, a new furnace will help to attract potential buyers, especially in Alberta where winters can be extremely cold and a reliable heating system is a must-have.

Furnace Buying Guide - How to Choose a New Furnace for Your Home

family relaxing at home ⋆ ProSolutions Inc

There are many factors to consider when choosing an HVAC system. This includes common considerations, such as size and brand, as well as often forgotten factors like furnace type and efficiency.

Below, our furnace buying guide will look at all of the factors you’ll need to consider when choosing a heating system for your home. With these aspects in mind, you’ll be able to find the perfect furnace to keep you and your family comfortable throughout the winter.

What are the different types of furnaces?

There are several different types of furnaces to choose from. This includes four main types:

  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Oil
  • Propane

In Alberta, gas and electric heating systems are the most common. But which type of new furnace is best?

Gas vs Electric

Both gas and electric furnaces have pros and cons.

While a gas system is typically more expensive to buy and install, it is less costly to operate, especially in a cold climate. Gas furnaces are also usually the most energy-efficient.

As a result, most households in Alberta opt for a gas furnace. Gas heating systems are reliable and cost-effective in the long run and therefore, come highly recommended by the heating experts at ProSolutions PHAC.

In addition to deciding between a gas vs electric furnace, you’ll also need to consider whether you want a multi-stage (also know as multi-speed) or a variable-stage furnace.

Variable Speed vs Multi-speed

You’re probably wondering - what is the difference between multi-speed and variable-speed furnaces?

A multi-speed system can operate at different speeds in order to heat your home. That is, based on the current and desired temperature, the HVAC system will adjust its speed to reach the desired output. This means that it can better regulate temperature and home comfort. However, a multi-stage furnace typically has only two or three stages of output, including low, medium and high.

On the other hand, variable speed heating systems can adjust more precisely. A variable-speed HVAC system will continuously monitor the temperature in your home and make slight adjustments to meet your desired temperature. The ability to operate at various speeds allows this type of furnace to provide the best possible climate control and air quality, helping to prevent temperature swings, cold spots, and issues with humidity. Variable-speed furnaces are desirable because of their precise temperature control and higher efficiency. Therefore, variable speed furnaces are highly recommended.

Single-stage units are also available. However, this type of furnace only offers two settings - on and off. As a result, temperature control is not nearly as good as with variable speed and multispeed furnaces. As well, single-stage units are not as energy-efficient, as the motor is operating at a constant high speed when the furnace is on.

What efficiency furnace should I buy?

Although high-efficiency furnaces cost more to purchase initially, they use less energy and will help you save money long-term thanks to lower utility bills. Therefore, when buying a new HVAC system, the more efficient the better!

Provincial governments, including the Government of Alberta, also offer rebates for high-efficiency furnaces. For example, under the Edmonton Home Energy Retrofit Accelerator program, Edmonton homeowners can receive up to $250 per unit when they install an ENERGY STAR high-efficiency furnace with an AFUE of 97% or higher.

Now, you might be wondering - how is furnace efficiency measured and what is AFUE? Our furnace buying guide is here to help!

How is furnace efficiency measured?

Furnace efficiency is measured using AFUE. 

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. AFUE is a ratio that describes the amount of fuel going into your furnace vs how much of that fuel is converted to heat. For example, if your unit has an AFUE of 97%, this means that 97% of the fuel going into the furnace is converted to heat and only 3% is lost.

In Canada, a typical gas furnace must have a minimum AFUE of 95% to be considered energy efficient.

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What is the best and most efficient furnace?

Wondering how to choose a new furnace that is efficient and reliable?

The best and most efficient HVAC systems in Canada are those that are ENERGY STAR certified. When you see an ENERGY STAR label on a new furnace, you can guarantee that it will be extremely efficient and reliable, providing the best possible home comfort.

The furnace and heating experts at ProSolutions recommend the following furnaces for Edmonton homeowners:

  • TRANE S9V2-VS - ENERGY STAR certified, up to 97% AFUE
  • TRANE XC95M - ENERGY STAR certified, up to 97.3%
  • AirEase A97MV - ENERGY STAR certified, up to 97% AFUE

If you opt for a high-efficiency furnace, you can maximize its efficiency even further with the help of a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat will monitor your home and learn your habits so that it can automatically adjust based on your preferences. Smart thermostats can also be controlled remotely. Therefore, you can adjust the temperature any time, from anywhere. This will help to reduce energy use by optimizing the temperature in your home based on the time of day and whether or not you are away.

What size furnace do I need?

Furnace size, or capacity, is another important factor to consider when buying a new furnace.

Our furnace buying guide will walk you through all the most important sizing aspects, so you can determine the perfect size unit for your home.

Why is size important?

The size of your furnace matters for a number of reasons. First and foremost, if you don’t have the right size furnace for your home the unit will not be as energy-efficient as it could be. As a result, you will use more energy, increasing your utility bills. In addition, if your HVAC system is the wrong size, it may experience added maintenance requirements and a shorter lifespan.

A furnace that is too big will turn on and off regularly, reducing efficiency and lifespan, and increasing the need for maintenance. Alternatively, a unit that is too small will be constantly running as it tries to keep your home warm. In addition to not being able to properly heat your home, the increased workload will boost energy consumption and wear out the unit.

That being said, you’re probably wondering - what size furnace do I need?

Before our furnace buying guide looks at how you can determine what size system you'll need, let’s take a look at how furnace size is measured.

How is furnace size measured?

When plumbing and heating companies, like ProSolutions, refer to furnace “size” they are not referring to the dimensions of the unit. Rather, size refers to how much heat a unit can produce. Therefore, furnace size is also commonly referred to as heating capacity.

Furnace size, or capacity, is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour. BTU measures energy output. More specifically, it measures the amount of energy required to heat 1 lb of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. For example, a furnace rated 45,000 BTU will produce 45,000 BTUs of energy per hour.

The higher the BTU rating, the more heat a furnace will produce, and, therefore, the bigger the space it can comfortably heat.

Now, let’s take a look at how to choose a new furnace size.

Determining furnace size

Several different factors determine furnace size. One of the most important aspects is the size of your home. The larger your home, the higher the BTU rating you’ll need.

Below are size recommendations from heating professionals, based on the square footage of your home.

1,20036,000 to 72,000
1,50045,000 to 90,000
1,80054,000 to 108,000
2,10063,000 to 126,000
2,40072,000 to 144,000
Recommended furnace size based on square footage.

Other factors that will influence the size of your new furnace include:

  • Climate zone you’re located in (for example, Edmonton is in Climate Zone 5)
  • Insulation quality
  • Thickness of your windows
  • Height of your ceilings
  • Number of people in your home
  • Preferred temperature in your home
  • Condition of the basement (for instance, if you have a large basement that is fully furnished and functional, you may need additional BTUs)

Reading our furnace buying guide and still not sure what size will be best for your home? Give the heating pros at ProSolutions a call! Our experienced and local heating technicians can help you determine the perfect size HVAC system for you and your family.

Which furnace brand is best?

There are many great furnace brands on the market. However, some are better suited to harsh Canadian winters.

In Alberta, homeowners require reliable, efficient, and effective heating throughout the winter. Therefore, the heating professionals at ProSolutions recommend the following furnace brands:

  • Amana
  • Trane
  • RunTru by Trane
  • AirEase

These furnace brands are known for their quality and reliability. So, you can rest easy knowing you won’t encounter any unexpected problems with your unit during a cold winter night.

Looking for some brand-specific guidance? 

Check out our branded furnace buying guides below. Whether you’re wondering about Trane, AirEase, Ducane or other top furnace brands, our heating specialists are familiar with them all. So, we’ve compiled these guides to help you decide which furnace brand is best for your home (and budget). Need assistance choosing the best furnace? Our team can help. Give us a shout and we’ll offer our expert advice.

Trane Products: A Guide to Trane Furnaces & Air Quality
AirEase Furnaces
Ducane Furnaces
Amana HVAC
RunTru Heating and Cooling Systems

Furnace Buying Guide - Other Considerations

furnace air filter replacement ⋆ ProSolutions Inc

In addition to type, efficiency, size, brand, and, of course, cost, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind when buying a new furnace.

Our furnace buying guide wouldn't be complete without mentioning the following aspects of how to choose a new furnace:


HVAC maintenance and tune-ups are extremely important. Regular maintenance will help to ensure your furnace is running efficiently and help extend its lifetime. Although your furnace will need regular maintenance, including filter changes and tune-ups, it should not require constant repairs. This is why it’s so important to buy from a reliable brand. Furnaces from reliable brands are less likely to need regular repairs. Parts and qualified technicians will also be readily available if a repair is required.


You’ll also want to make sure your new furnace comes with a good warranty. A furnace’s warranty says a lot about the brand and how much they believe in their product. Therefore, less reliable brands will typically have more limited warranties. If you’re looking for a great warranty, check out Amana. Amana furnaces are the only furnaces that come with a lifetime replacement warranty!


Modern HVAC systems offer an array of features, with high-end units offering the most innovation and technology. Some common furnace features that you may want to consider for your home include:

  • Smart Thermostat Compatibility - this will allow you to automate the heating in your home and to control your furnace via Wi-Fi.
  • Noise Reduction Technology - new furnaces may offer noise reduction technology. This can be beneficial if you want your furnace to run smoothly and quietly in the background.
  • Diagnostic Technology - many modern furnaces come with built-in self-diagnostics. This will alert you to performance problems and maintenance needs, helping to ensure your system is always in excellent running condition.
  • Air Filtration and Humidity Control - if you have pets, someone in your home with asthma or another respiratory condition, or you just want to keep the air in your house as fresh and clean as possible, consider buying a system with built-in filtering capabilities and humidity control. Alternatively, you can purchase an add-on air filtration unit.
  • Zoned Heating - a furnace with zone control capabilities will allow you to set different temperatures in different rooms. This is especially helpful if you have a large home or several people who prefer different temperatures.

Furnace Buying Guide Tips for Installation

Finding the best furnace installer is important, as furnace installation plays a major role in how effectively and efficiently your new system works. Location, experience, and reputation are some of the most important aspects of choosing the best furnace installer.

If you live in the Edmonton area, you’ll want to work with a local Edmonton company like ProSolutions PHAC. The professional and experienced technicians at ProSolutions have the local experience needed to properly install and calibrate your new furnace for maximum home comfort!

You’ll also want to determine a company’s experience level and reputation in your community. To help with this, check out online reviews and feedback.

Winter is Coming - Make Sure You're Ready!

giphy ⋆ ProSolutions Inc

Whether you’ll be buying a new furnace this year or not, the end of summer is the perfect time to start preparing for winter! 

Schedule your furnace maintenance now to avoid the fall furnace tune-up rush. And, if you need a new furnace, it’s never too early to contact a local contractor. In fact, the sooner the better! Edmonton plumbing, heating and AC companies like ProSolutions will help you determine whether you should replace or repair your HVAC system. They can also help you choose the best unit for your home, and provide a free quote to get you started!

Need a new furnace but don’t have the cash upfront? 

ProSolutions has partnered with SNAP Home Finances to bring you low-cost, flexible financing for your furnace and installation, or repairs.

Apply for our home improvement financing today!

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