Need a new furnace for your Edmonton home? This Furnace Buying Guide provides all the information you’ll need to buy a new furnace in 2023-2024.
When buying a new HVAC system, there are multiple factors to consider – from size and efficiency to the best furnace brands. As one of the best furnace installation companies in Edmonton, we’ve put together this furnace buying guide to explain how to choose a new furnace. Once you’re done reading, you’ll know precisely how to pick the perfect furnace for your home. Plus, our furnace experts will share their recommendations for the best furnaces, including what they have in their own homes!
Ready to take a deep dive into the world of furnaces? Here’s what you need to know when buying a furnace in 2023-2024.
Please note: This Furnace Buying Guide was originally published in 2021. The guide was updated in September 2023 to reflect the best furnace buying tips for 2023-2024.
How does a furnace work?
To choose the best furnace for your Edmonton home, it’s a good idea to know how a furnace works. So, we will break down the process for you in this furnace buying guide. Don’t worry – how a furnace works is not nearly as complex as most people think! In fact, we’ll explain it in just five simple steps.
Since we’re willing to bet you have a gas furnace in your Edmonton home (most furnaces in Alberta are gas), let’s look at how a gas furnace works.
- When you turn on the heat in your home (or turn up the heat or the temperature falls below a set point), the thermostat sends a signal to your furnace. This signal tells your furnace it is time to start heating cool air.
- When the furnace receives this signal, it opens a gas value. The gas that is released ignites the furnace’s burners. To ensure the safety of you and your home, sensors in your furnace check to ensure that all the burners are lit. If one of the burners has not ignited, the entire unit will shut down momentarily before attempting to reignite.
- Once all the burners are lit, they work together to heat the furnace’s heat exchanger.
- After the heat exchanger has reached a specific temperature, the blower motor starts. Cool air comes through your home’s ductwork toward the heat exchanger. The blower motor blows the cool air over the heat exchanger. This process warms the air.
- Finally, the furnace’s blower forces the warm air into your home’s ductwork. This network of ducts delivers warm air to the rest of your home. Once the air in your home reaches the set temperature, the thermostat signals the furnace to stop.
In addition to understanding how a furnace works, it’s essential to know the components of a furnace. Recognizing these parts and what they do will help you better understand your HVAC system, especially when it comes to maintenance and furnace repairs!
Most gas furnaces have the following components.
Want to see where these furnace components are located? Scroll back in the furnace buying guide to our furnace component diagram. In this diagram, you’ll see where each furnace component is typically located. Please note: this may differ from furnace to furnace.
A thermostat regulates temperature and controls a furnace’s on/off operation.
Combustion Air Intake
A conduit or duct that draws in fresh air from outside. This fresh air is necessary to safely and efficiently burn fuel in the combustion chamber.
A box-like chamber that collects heated air from the furnace before it is distributed throughout your home.
Your furnace’s burner is a device that mixes gas and air to facilitate combustion. This produces heat, which warms the cool air circulating in your HVAC system.
A chamber where the return air ducts from different rooms converge. The return-air plenum collects the used air from your home and directs it back to the furnace to be filtered, heated (or cooled), and redistributed.
Your furnace’s air filter removes particles, like dust, pollen, mould, and bacteria, from the air before it’s heated.
The blower fan circulates air through your furnace, into the ducts and throughout your home.
A heat exchanger is a series of coils or tubes which transfer heat from the combustion gases to the circulating air. This heats the air before it is distributed throughout your home.
A gas line is a pipe (also called a branch line) that connects your main gas supply to your furnace, allowing for the continuous and regulated flow of gas. This gas supply fuels the combustion process within your furnace.
The exhaust flue is a duct or pipe that directs exhaust gases from the combustion chamber to the outdoors. This ensures that harmful gases do not accumulate in your home.
A furnace pilot flame is a small gas flame that remains continuously lit and ready to ignite the main burner if the thermostat calls for heat.
A furnace’s control board (or circuit board) functions as the brain of the system. It controls and manages the various functions and operations of the furnace to ensure it works safely and efficiently. For example, the control board:
- Receives signals from the thermostat to initiate heating cycles
- Controls igniter activation, gas valve opening, and blower motor operations
- Monitors safety devices such as flame sensors and limit switches
- Controls fan speed based on the heating demand
- Identifies issues and malfunctions through diagnostic codes, etc.
*Component not pictured in the furnace buying guide diagram above.
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.
Keep in mind that this is an average. A high-quality system will be the most reliable and last the longest – especially if it is well-maintained. In fact, regular maintenance will help maximize the lifetime of your furnace and reduce the likelihood of major repairs.
If you have an older furnace that’s still running, you might think, “If it ain’t broke, why fix/replace it?” For many things, this saying is 100% true. But, when it comes to furnaces, is it better to have an old furnace or a new furnace?
In most cases, a new furnace is better than an old one.
Why? Older furnaces can continue to operate for many years. However, newer furnaces are much more energy-efficient! As a result, you will save money on utility bills. New furnaces also have modern features such as smart thermostat compatibility, noise reduction technology, and improved air filtration systems. These features enhance comfort and convenience. Moreover, a new furnace can increase the value of your home, making it a beneficial investment in the long run.
Thus, replacing your furnace every 15 to 20 years is advisable to ensure safety, efficiency, and reliability.
PRO TIP: There’s a formula that HVAC professionals use to decide if it’s worth repairing or replacing a furnace. Continue reading this furnace buying guide to learn this formula.
How to Extend the Lifetime of Your Furnace
Want your furnace to last longer? Here are some tips to help you extend the life of your furnace.
- Hire an experienced HVAC company to install and maintain your system.
Finding a professional furnace installation and maintenance expert to install your new furnace and conduct regular maintenance is as important as choosing the best furnace.
A local furnace company is the best choice if you live in the Edmonton area. A local company will be familiar with the climate. As a result, they will know how to properly install and care for your HVAC system – for maximum efficiency and a longer lifespan.
Hiring a local company is especially important in Alberta, as winters can be extremely cold, taking a toll on your furnace.
- Replace (or clean) your air filter every 3 months.
Regularly changing your air filter will ensure your system doesn’t have to work harder than necessary. As a result, you can extend the lifetime of your furnace and reduce the need for maintenance and repairs. In addition, regularly replacing (or cleaning) your air filter will guarantee optimal air quality inside your home.
- Schedule an annual furnace tune-up.
An annual tune-up guarantees that your HVAC system is running efficiently and effectively. Having a professional technician examine your furnace at least once per year will also allow you to identify and fix any issues before they become bigger, more expensive problems.
How do you know when your furnace needs to be replaced?
In some cases, determining when your furnace needs to be replaced is straightforward. For example, if any of the following are true, we suggest consulting a local Edmonton furnace company. An experienced HVAC company, like ProSolutions Inc., can tell you whether your furnace needs to be replaced.
- Your furnace is 15+ years old
- You experience a significant increase in your energy bills
- Your furnace starts making loud or strange noises
- You are experiencing inconsistent temperatures in your home
- Your furnace requires frequent repairs
If your HVAC system requires repairs, it can be more difficult to decide if it is worth fixing or replacing – especially if the repairs will be costly.
Luckily, heating, plumbing, and air conditioning companies use a simple equation to determine whether a unit should be repaired or replaced. This equation compares repair costs and how many years a furnace has left with the furnace replacement cost.
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
Example of a Furnace Repair vs. Replace Scenario
Your furnace is 10 years old and will cost $700 to repair.
Replacing the unit would cost $5,000.
In this case, it would be wise to replace your furnace. Here’s why.
$700 (cost to repair) x 10 (age of unit) = $7,000
$7,000 > $5,000 (cost to replace)
After reading this section of our Furnace Buying Guide, are you still unsure if you should repair vs. replace your furnace? Our Edmonton heating services company can help! As Edmonton homeowners, the experts at ProSolutions Heating Inc. are familiar with the local climate. As a result, we can help you decide if it makes sense to replace your HVAC system or if it would be more cost-effective to repair it.
PRO TIP: got furnace problems and want to save the hassle (and cost) of calling in a professional? Try these DIY furnace troubleshooting tips before you call a heating company.
How much does a new furnace cost?
Wondering – what is the total furnace replacement cost near me? In Edmonton, you’ll pay around $5,500 to $10,000+ for a new furnace, including installation. That said, the cost of a new furnace depends on many factors, including:
- Type of furnace
- Installation company you hire, etc.
Another factor to consider when comparing furnace prices is the type of blower motor. There are three common types:
- Single-stage – a single-stage blower motor has two settings – ON and OFF. Therefore, the blower motor is either running or not, with no in-between.
- Multi-speed – a multi-speed blower motor typically has two or three speeds: LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH.
- Variable speed – variable speed blower motors can operate at many different speeds for more precise temperature control.
*More on single-stage vs multi-speed vs variable-speed furnaces below.
To help you decide which heating option best suits your budget, here’s what you can expect to pay for each type of furnace.
Type of Furnace
Furnace Cost (Including Installation)
$5500 – $7500
|$6600 – $9500|
Furnace Installation Costs
Although it will cost more initially, having a professional heating company install your furnace is crucial. This is because a properly installed and calibrated furnace 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.
The time of year you purchase and install your new furnace can also impact cost, availability and your overall experience. So, what time of year is best to replace a furnace?
As any furnace buying guide will tell you, the best time to replace a furnace is during the off-season, which is spring or fall. During the off-season/warmer seasons, more discounts and promotional offers are available. If you buy and install your furnace during these times, furnace availability is better, you’ll get quicker installation, and you won’t run the risk of freezing while you wait for your new furnace. Moreover, because HVAC companies have more availability at this time, you’ll be able to schedule the installation at the most convenient time for you!
In addition to purchase and installation costs, Edmonton homeowners should consider operating costs when choosing a new furnace.
So, what type of furnace is cheapest to run?
The day-to-day cost of running a furnace will vary depending on furnace type, size, efficiency, home insulation, and fuel source. That said, gas and propane furnaces are typically the cheapest to run in Edmonton. On the other hand, electric and oil furnaces are more expensive to operate.
Most homeowners in Edmonton opt for a gas furnace because they offer the lowest operating cost.
Buying a high-efficiency furnace can also help reduce operating expenses, as more efficient heating systems convert a higher percentage of fuel into heat, reducing waste.
Minimize Your Operating Costs with a New High-Efficiency Furnace
Wondering how much money a new furnace might save you on your energy bills? Here’s what one of our clients had to say. (This client recently upgraded their old furnace to a new high-efficiency heating system.)
“Our new furnace saved us about 20 – 30% off of our gas usage. We ended up turning up the heat a degree or two vs. previous years, so we likely would have saved even more if we kept it all the same. Energy usage is definitely where we saw a major drop, though. I would assume that we saved a minimum of 15 – 20% off our electricity usage from the furnace upgrades.”
So, if you’re looking to save up to 30% on your monthly energy bills, buying a new furnace can help!
Does a new furnace add value to your 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. This is particularly true in Alberta, where winters can be extremely cold, and a reliable heating system is a must.
Please note: if you want to know more about how to choose a new furnace after reading this furnace buying guide, our HVAC specialists can provide personalized advice. Our top priority is helping you select the perfect unit for your home and budget. So, give us a call anytime!
Furnace Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best New Furnace for Your Home
There are many factors to consider when choosing an HVAC system. This includes common considerations like size and brand and often forgotten factors like furnace type and efficiency.
Below, our furnace buying guide will examine all the elements you’ll need to consider when choosing a heating system for your home. Our experts will discuss the following:
- Furnace types
- Single-stage vs. multi vs. variable speed furnaces
- Furnace brands
With these aspects in mind, you’ll be able to find the perfect furnace to keep you and your family comfortable throughout the winter in Edmonton.
What are the different types of furnaces?
There are several different types of furnaces to choose from. This includes four main types:
Of these options, gas and electric heating systems are the most common in Alberta. But which type of new furnace is best for you? Let’s examine some advantages and disadvantages of each.
-Lowest day-to-day operating costs
-Easy to find a new gas furnace and gas furnace repair parts (because this type of furnace is so prevalent in Alberta)
-More expensive upfront to buy and install
-Never 100% efficient
-Lowest upfront cost
-Easy to install
-Most efficient option
-Smaller than gas furnaces (i.e. great for tight spaces)
-Higher day-to-day operating costs
Which Should You Choose – Gas vs Electric?
As you can see, 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 like Edmonton. Gas furnaces are also highly efficient. As a result, gas furnaces are by far the most popular option for homeowners in Edmonton and throughout Alberta.
So, according to this furnace buying guide (and HVAC professionals throughout Edmonton), the winner in gas vs. electric is – Gas Furnaces. Because gas heating systems are the most reliable and cost-effective in the long run, they come highly recommended by the heating experts at ProSolutions Inc.
In addition to deciding between a gas vs. electric furnace, you’ll also need to consider whether you want a single-stage, multi-stage (also known as multi-speed) or variable-stage furnace.
Single-Stage vs. Multi-Speed vs. Variable Speed Furnaces
You’re probably wondering – how do single-stage vs. multi-speed vs. variable-speed furnaces compare? And what is the difference between multi-speed and variable-speed furnaces? Let’s take a look.
- A single-stage furnace offers two settings: on and off. As a result, temperature control is not nearly as good as with variable-speed and multi-speed furnaces. Single-stage units are also not as energy-efficient, as the motor operates at a constant high speed when the furnace is on.
- A multi-speed system can operate at different speeds to heat your home. The HVAC system will adjust its speed to reach the desired output based on the current and desired temperature. Thus, it can better regulate temperature and home comfort. However, a multi-stage furnace typically still has only two or three output stages: low, medium, and high.
- 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.
Based on their many benefits, variable-speed furnaces are highly recommended by HVAC professionals in Edmonton.
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 it is, 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 wonder – 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.
A typical gas furnace must have a minimum AFUE of 95% in Canada to be considered energy efficient.
What determines furnace efficiency?
Now that you know how efficiency is measured, you might be asking – what determines the efficiency of a furnace?
Several factors determine furnace efficiency, including:
- Furnace model and efficiency rating
- Type of blower motor (i.e. single-stage, multi-stage, variable speed)
- Furnace size – choosing the right size furnace for your home will have a huge impact on how efficiently it performs.
- Age of the furnace – the older a furnace is, the less efficient it will be.
- Furnace maintenance and repairs – regular maintenance and preventative repairs will ensure that your furnace is running as efficiently as possible.
- Air filter condition – this is one of the most significant factors that can affect your furnace’s efficiency. A dirty furnace filter will force your unit to work much harder than it needs to, greatly reducing efficiency.
So then, what is the best and most efficient furnace in Edmonton? Our furnace buying guide wouldn’t be complete without some top-notch recommendations.
What is the best and most efficient furnace in Edmonton? Recommendations from Heating Experts
Are you wondering how to choose a new furnace that is efficient and reliable?
The best and most efficient HVAC systems in Canada are ENERGY STAR certified. When you see an ENERGY STAR label on a new furnace, you can rest assured that it will be highly 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
PRO TIP: 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. You can also manage your smart thermostat remotely. Therefore, you can adjust the temperature at 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 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?
Furnace size matters for several 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 constantly be running as it tries to keep your home warm. In addition to being unable to heat your home properly, the increased workload will boost energy consumption and wear out the unit.
That 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 examine how furnace size is measured.
How is furnace size measured?
When plumbing and heating companies, like ProSolutions Inc., refer to furnace “size,” they are not referring to the unit’s dimensions. 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 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. Therefore, the bigger the space it can comfortably heat.
Now, let’s look at how to choose a new furnace size.
Determining the best furnace size for your Edmonton home
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.
36,000 to 72,000
45,000 to 90,000
54,000 to 108,000
63,000 to 126,000
72,000 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 your basement is large, fully furnished and functional, you may need additional BTUs)
Reading our furnace buying guide and still not sure what size furnace is 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.