Furnace service.
Furnace service.

Are you thinking about upgrading your furnace but not quite sure where to begin?

We understand. Furnaces are more efficient than ever, with a plethora of features designed to keep you comfortable. They come in different sizes and shapes, some more powerful than others. They also have different price points based on their efficiency ratings.

The thermostat is the brains of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. But it's the furnace that provides all the muscle, teaming up with your ductwork to send warm air throughout your Michigan home.

And always remember, a happy home is a warm one! It would only take a few cold days in a row with no indoor heat for all the pipes in your home to freeze. What matters most is to pick the right furnace that fits your budget and the size of your home.

Our team at Better World Builders has the knowledge and expertise to help you make that choice. We’re a trusted name in the Battle Creek, MI, area for creating healthy homes. Give us a call today—we can schedule an HVAC consultation or a Certified Home Performance Energy Audit to help you with your next home improvement project!

Choosing the Right Furnace by Fuel Type

Your first decision is to choose the fuel type you want in your home. The most common source is natural gas. Your local utility company supplies the fuel delivered to your home through an underground gas line. The price of natural gas can fluctuate, due to shortages.

  • If you have access to a natural gas line, then this is an option for you. Gas furnaces have proven their value over the years for providing steady comfort on the coldest of days. However, gas furnaces output low levels of carbon monoxide when operating. As the system ages, components can break down, increasing the concentration of carbon monoxide and potentially endangering those in your home or building. We know for example that children living in a home with gas cooking have a 42% increased risk of having asthma.
  • Oil furnaces are a popular alternative in the United States particularly in parts of the Northeast that do not have easy access to natural gas. These types of furnaces last longer than a gas furnace but do not operate as efficiently. Oil prices fluctuate considerably, making it harder to gauge your monthly expenses. Plus, you will need a storage tank for the oil.
  • Electric furnaces may take longer to heat your home; however, they tend to last longer than gas furnaces and cost less to install. That’s especially true if a building isn’t outfitted for natural gas delivery. Most cities have piping infrastructure in place, but if your property doesn’t have access to that infrastructure, an electric unit may be much cheaper. Electric furnaces don’t create dangerous gases, but they do require occasional maintenance. Overall, electric furnaces are cheaper to maintain but typically cost more to operate.

On average, an electric furnace or gas furnace will operate reliably for 15-20 years, with some units lasting much longer. However, older gas furnaces become less efficient over time. The Department of Energy recommends replacing furnaces or boilers that are more than 15 years old.

Which Is More Efficient: Electric or Gas Heat?

That depends on how you measure efficiency.

For most types of properties, gas furnaces are a better investment than electric furnaces—but they’re not the best heating solution overall. Installing a heat pump system provides on average savings of 20-40% compared to inefficient HVAC systems, and heat pumps also offer numerous additional health and comfort benefits.

Heat pumps have been widely used for decades, but recent improvements to the technology have significantly increased their popularity. In the U.S., heat pump sales for newly constructed buildings exceed 40% market share for single-family dwellings and is near 50% for new multi-family buildings, according to the International Energy Agency.

High-efficiency gas furnaces can provide an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of around 90% to 98.5%. That means they lose from 1.5% to 10% of the heat energy through flue gases. Older gas furnaces may have an AFUE as low as 56%.

Electric furnaces don’t lose heat energy through flue gases, so they’re technically 100% efficient. However, AFUE measures thermal efficiency—not overall heating efficiency. If an electric furnace runs frequently, it may consume more fuel overall than a gas unit. Electric furnaces may also have a harsher environmental impact depending on the source of the electricity, the climate, and other factors.

Some Key Points to Keep in Mind

Both types of systems lose heat energy when transferring air through ductwork, which isn’t measured in AFUE.
Electric furnaces heat air to a lower temperature, so they typically operate more frequently than gas furnaces.

Electric furnaces are more thermally efficient, but in most climates, gas furnaces are more efficient overall.
It is also important to consider local utility rates for gas and electricity. Currently, gas and oil prices are rising much faster than electricity—leaving many consumers with heating bills well above previous seasons.

How Much Money Can a New Furnace Save You?

Our AFUE energy savings calculator can help determine how much you could save on your utility bills. Simply enter your current unit's AFUE value and compare it to a newer, more efficient unit. You can even customize it to better match your home's system for a more accurate calculation.

AFUE Energy Savings Calculator

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Customize to Your Home

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** Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*** Data from 2002 EPA study

** Data for Canadian cities from nrcan.gc.ca
*** Data from weatherdatadepot.com

Furnace Installation or Replacement

Don't invest in a quality HVAC system and then hire a substandard contractor to install it. You will never enjoy the full benefits of an incorrectly installed system. At Better World Builders, we specialize in installing equipment the right way. We take our time to ensure everything is measured correctly. Our team can also conduct a thorough Certified Home Performance Energy Audit of your Battle Creek, MI, area home to find additional ways to lower your energy usage.

Be sure to ask about our convenient financing options designed to make it easy for you to create your dream home! For more information, contact us at (269) 383-7862 or request service online today.

Need a New Furnace?

Contact the experts at Better World Builders.

Call us at (269) 383-7862!