Being such a large province, British Columbia encompasses a variety of climates. Our coastal regions enjoy the mildest winters in all of Canada, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. Further inland, winters are colder and snowier than on the coast, and in the north, winters are long, extremely cold and snowy.
What does this have to do with what type of gas furnace you should buy? Well, just as the needs for types of winter clothing differ according to region, so do the needs for home heating.
So let’s have look at this, and other factors. Buying a gas furnace is a big expenditure. Our Gas Furnace Buying Guide for BC should help you make the choices that are right for your circumstances.
How Do I Know I Need a New Furnace?
The first factor to consider is age: if your furnace is reaching the 15 to 20-year mark, it’s probably nearing the end of its life. Other symptoms may include:
- Increased energy bills, which means your furnace is no longer running efficiently.
- Uneven heating, with some rooms cooler than others or not heated at all.
- An excess of dust or soot.
- Lack of humidity in the air.
- Unusual or loud noises, such as rattling or humming, coming from your furnace.
- Frequent need of repairs.
What Size Furnace Should I Buy?
This is where climate plays a role. For regions with mild winters, you may be able to choose a furnace with 80 per cent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). But if you experience harsh winters, go with a furnace with at least 90 percent AFUE. The size of your home is also a factor. It may be tempting to go for the largest furnace available, but this isn’t necessary or advisable. Have your contractor perform a Manual J load calculation. Your square footage, window efficiency and window and door placement are among the factors in this calculation.
Are Some Furnaces More Energy Efficient Than Others?
Newer models generally offer higher efficiency, providing up to 97 per cent efficiency, compared to older models, at about 65 per cent. The more efficient the furnace, the less fuel – and money – wasted. Look for Energy Star® certification and a high AFUE rating. Remember, too, that energy efficiency translates to a more environmentally friendly option.
What Special Features Should I Look For?
New gas furnaces are loaded with special features, thanks to technological advances over the past couple of decades. Look for: smart thermostats, ECMs (electrically commuted motors), electronic ignition, zoned heating, variable-speed blowers, dual heat exchangers and air filtration options.
What Brand of Furnace Should I Buy?
The answer depends on what’s most important to you: quality, reliability, value, special features or warranty. But generally, do your research before you decide. Unbiased buyers’ guides such as Consumer Reports® should help you narrow down your choices.
How Do I Choose a Supplier and Contractor?
Make sure you choose a certified technician for the installation of your furnace. Reputable dealers should also provide a free in-home consultation to assess your needs and make recommendations. Also ask about their maintenance plans and services.
What About Warranties?
Your new gas furnace should come with a 10-year manufacturer’s limited parts warranty and a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty on the heat exchanger. Ensure that you ask about the warranty before you buy, and get it in writing.
Are Government Rebates Available?
In British Columbia, rebates of up to $1,000 are available for upgrading to a high efficiency gas furnace. For details, check the website:
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, select CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program rebates are doubled for a limited time to support the restart of B.C.’s economy and help homeowners save energy.
Remember that although buying a new gas furnace may seem expensive, over time you will save money on fuel, repairs and maintenance. Plus, providing more warmth and comfort for your family is priceless!