The current furnace in your home isn’t the only type of furnace that’s available! If it’s time for a new furnace, you have a variety of options to choose from today that may not have been available when your existing furnace was installed. In fact, the current furnace arrangement in your home may no longer be the optimal choice. If you’re picking a furnace for new construction, the world is truly at your fingertips when it comes to choosing the best fit for your property. Today’s homeowners are upgrading to energy-efficient furnaces to get the best performance possible from:

  • Natural gas.
  • Oil.
  • Electric.
  • Propane.

The truth is that no single heating source can check every box at the same time. The key to finding your home’s perfect fit is to check as many of the most important boxes as possible. Don’t stay confused about the different types of furnaces. Follow this quick guide to find your best fit!

What Is a Furnace?

Someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time dealing with a home’s heating and cooling needs on a hands-on basis may not have total clarity on furnaces. A furnace is a type of heating unit that’s been used in residential homes for decades. A furnace allows a home to enjoy a warm, comfortable temperature when outdoor temperatures turn cold. A home’s furnace is activated when the homeowner sets the thermostat. This simple action triggers a response that causes warm air to travel through vents to circulate through the home. Of course, the mechanism of how that air becomes heated can differ based on the type of furnace chosen. Take a look at the common furnace options found in homes today.

Natural Gas

“Natural gas is a fossil energy source that formed deep beneath the earth’s surface,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. A natural gas furnace is seen as an efficient, economical choice for homes. In fact, modern natural gas furnaces are often 98% efficient. Natural gas is one of the most common heating sources in American homes. Of course, your home needs to have access to natural gas in order to take advantage of the perks of this choice. Homeowners should also know that the cost savings gained by natural gas’s energy efficiency come only after paying what are usually higher upfront costs for installation.

Natural gas does come with some limitations. While routine furnace maintenance is essential for all types of furnaces, keeping up with annual cleaning and servicing is especially important with natural gas furnaces. A properly maintained natural gas furnace can last from 15 to 25 years.


Oil furnaces are also quite common in American homes. Oil furnaces tend to offer the “reverse benefits” of natural gas. While installation of a new oil furnace is often significantly cheaper than the installation of a natural gas furnace, monthly oil costs tend to be higher than monthly costs to heat with natural gas. Just how big is the difference when it all gets broken down? Efficiency rates on new oil furnaces range from 89% to 90%. They cost about 25% less to purchase than natural gas furnaces.

Oil is a top choice when the goal is a mix of affordability and efficiency. However, homeowners should be prepared to deal with fluctuating prices because the cost of heating oil is based on the market price of crude oil. That means that last year’s heating bills can’t always help you to accurately predict this year’s heating bills. In addition, it’s necessary to remember to schedule your own deliveries when heating a home with oil. You will not be able to heat your home if the oil tank at your home runs out! Oil furnaces can last between 15 and 30 years.


Electric furnaces aren’t commonly found in modern homes. However, there are several factors that make electric furnaces attractive to homeowners today. First, an electric furnace is the cheapest option to purchase and install. What’s more, electric furnaces are known for longevity. They often outlive natural gas and oil furnaces by up to 10 years.

People with homes with electric heating appreciate that they are able to adjust the temperature from room to room with ease. In addition, electric heating tends to heat up rooms very quickly. Electric heat is also quiet, fume-free heat. However, not everyone is a fan of the “dry heat” emitted from electric heaters. What’s more, electric heating goes out when your home’s electricity goes out. Finally, the cost of electric heat can be high if you’re in an area with high electricity rates.


While propane furnaces are considered rare, they are more common in rural areas where people need to have self-sufficient heating sources. Propane is a byproduct of oil and gas production that can be easily stored in tanks. Many people are attracted to the low cost of propane furnaces compared to oil and natural gas furnaces. However, propane is less efficient as a heating source compared to oil and natural gas.

Choosing the Right Furnace for Your Home

Choosing the right furnace for your home is a personal decision that must be made by taking a variety of factors into consideration. First, it’s perfectly normal to be uncertain about which option works best for your home. That’s precisely why most people make the decision with help from their local heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) specialists. Your local HVAC company can provide helpful resources for making an informed choice. We know the pros and cons of different heating choices based on local climate conditions, energy rates, and more. Here’s a quick checklist of the top things to consider when choosing your home’s ideal heating source:

  • Size: Choosing a furnace that’s the right size is just as important as choosing the right type of furnace. When you bring in HVAC experts, you’ll get guidance on choosing the right size furnace for your home based on your home’s design, average ceiling heights throughout your rooms, and the number of windows in your home.
  • Climate and Region: Here in Delaware, all types of furnaces can provide adequate heating. However, oil and natural gas furnaces are the most common options chosen by homeowners.
  • Furnace Brand Reviews: Don’t just jump at the first furnace you find! It’s important to select a high-quality furnace from a reputable brand that offers a good warranty. HVAC professionals are aware of the quality levels, performance, maintenance needs, warranty information, and longevity of the various furnace models on the market today. This allows them to help you make an informed choice when choosing your own furnace. What’s more, your local HVAC pros can also help you to set up a good maintenance schedule based on the model you select. This will help to ensure that you squeeze every ounce of performance and efficiency out of your furnace as possible!
  • Alternatives: What if you don’t want to go with a mainstream heating option at your home? Your local HVAC company can also help you learn more about safe, efficient options for solar heat, pellet stoves, radiant heat, wood-burning stoves, and more.

The system that works for your neighbor may not be the best option for your home based on your energy goals. That’s why it’s important to dedicate time to researching heating options. Of course, the shortcut to finding an affordable, long-lasting option that’s going to create optimal comfort in every room of your home is to seek guidance from local HVAC pros capable of installing all types of HVAC systems. Homeowners should know that upgrading to a new ENERGY STAR furnace can make their home’s heating system 15% more efficient than a conventional furnace! Contact Delaware Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more!