Look out for these common factors to ensure you choose a quality furnace brand.
Annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings measure how much fuel the furnace converts to heat, allowing you to gauge efficiency. A quality furnace has an 80%–99% AFUE rating. We don’t recommend buying a furnace below 80% AFUE. Though furnaces with higher AFUE ratings cost more, spending an extra $300 or $500 for better energy efficiency is worth it for the long-term energy savings.
It’s important to check what company makes your other HVAC components. HVAC brands often design their products to be compatible with only their brand or brands owned by the same parent company. Knowing the brand of your AC unit and thermostat will help you narrow down your options.
Pay attention to the furnace’s components and their quality. High-quality components require less maintenance, saving you money on routine HVAC service. Most brands offer different tiers of heating units that fit various budgets and home heating needs. Look out for parts that use stainless steel and variable-speed technology as good markers of high quality.
Additional components such as an air pressure switch, variable-speed motor, air filtration system, and electronic ignition help with performance and maintenance. These advanced features can reduce noise, trap dust particles, and increase efficiency. Furnaces may also have smart-home features that improve efficiency by automatically adjusting the output to the exact amount of air needed.
You may be able to add these components as upgrades to a standard model, but we suggest finding a unit that already includes them. Ask an HVAC technician about what upgrades are possible with the furnace model you’re interested in.
Furnace motors, also known as blower motors, make the whole system run. These motors are usually connected to the blower in some capacity.
Standard furnaces have a direct drive motor that connects with the furnace’s blower wheel to circulate air through the furnace system. However, many companies now offer variable-speed motors. Unlike conventional furnace motors, a variable-speed blower motor runs at different speeds to precisely control the heat flow. This results in better airflow control and a better balance of temperature and humidity. As an added bonus, a variable-speed motor slowly ramps up to full speed, reducing noise while increasing energy efficiency.
We recommend looking for furnaces that incorporate variable-speed motors.
Packaged systems are a great way to cut costs on an entire HVAC system. HVAC companies tend to manufacture both heating and cooling units, so you might be able to purchase both unit types at a reduced price if you go through the same brand for both. For example, Bryant offers its furnaces with cooling units, such as AC units, at reduced prices. If you need an entire HVAC system replacement, we suggest you look for a company that offers packaged systems.
Review the length of each brand’s warranties and what parts or components are covered. A 10-year limited parts warranty is standard, but check and see if the brand offers additional labor warranties or unit replacement warranties.
For example, Trane includes a 10-year labor warranty to cover the cost of repairs or replacement due to malfunction, and Daikin includes a lifetime warranty on its heat exchangers. These warranties make these brands stand out compared to others offering only a 10-year parts warranty.