Purchasing a High-Efficiency Furnace
Efficiency Rating & Long-Term Value
The efficiency rating is one of the most important things you should be looking for when deciding on which furnace to purchase. It’s important because a good AFUE rating (for example, 90+) will save you money over time and also have less impact on the environment. Also look out for ENERGY STAR ratings, as these indicate efficiency as the unit has undergone strict testing overseen by Natural Resources Canada.
When looking at the up-front cost of a unit, it’s also key to think of the long-term value as opposed to the short-term cost. An example of this is an inexpensive unit that has an AFUE of 90%, meaning 90 cents in every dollar will go directly towards heating your home. However, a more expensive unit might have an AFUE rating of 95% and, over time, those extra 5 cents in every dollar is going to save you money!
Features Spotlight: Control Panels
Recently, we have seen a rise in the traditional thermostat control making way for communicative, technology-driven control panels. This section will provide you with an introduction to the features these “smart” or “connected” controls include.
Traditional Controls: Traditional controls (or thermostats) have been the standard way of controlling your furnace for years. Most allow you to programme the temperature and schedule how and when your furnace runs, and are a basic but vital part of your heating system.
Connected or Smart Controls: Many mid-tier and premium furnaces now come with controls that feature extra technology which can help to keep you comfortable in your home. Here are some standard features of a smart control panel:
- Provides home energy usage data you can access and then base any future heating decision off of
- Set multiple different schedules and temperatures depending on the time of day, the day of the year, season etc.
- Can send diagnostic data back to a manufacturers control centre to help your manufacturer or technician diagnose any issues with your furnace
- Allows you to remotely access your furnace settings via any smart device
- Displays automatic reminders when items such as the humidifier pad, UV light filter and air filter needs changing
Features do vary depending on what furnace you go for and the manufacturer in question.
Examples of smart or connected control technology by brand:
- Amana: Self-diagnostic control board
- American Standard: AccuLink Technology
- Bryant: Evolution Connex Control
- Carrier: Infinity Control
- Comfortmaker: Ion System Control
- KeepRite: Ion System Control
- Lennox: iComfort® S30
Be wary of purchasing a furnace that doesn’t include a good warranty. A good parts warranty means the manufacturer has rigorously tested that model, and are confident enough in its build quality to offer a solid guarantee. A good parts warranty, at least 10 years, is what you should be looking out for. Also, make sure you register for warranties after purchase if it’s required!
Homeowners in the Toronto and surrounding area can take advantage of the following promotions:
- Get a Free NEST Smart Thermostat or duct cleaning when you purchase a furnace & central A/C combo*
- Get a Free NEST Protect Smoke Detector when you purchase a furnace OR central A/C*
Government Rebates Available
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) (formerly Ontario Power Authority) offer rebates when you purchase a furnace with an air conditioner or a tankless water heater, and there may also be rebates available for installing a new ENERGY STAR high-efficiency furnace through the Heating and Cooling Incentive Program.