The Top Rated Natural Gas Furnaces
By Lillian Chiu
, last updated November 29, 2011
Investing in the right natural gas furnace will help keep your home comfortable at a reasonable cost. When comparing different gas furnaces, it's important to be familiar with the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating system. The AFUE is measure of the energy efficiency of the system, and is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a gas furnace. Most natural gases furnaces today have an AFUE rating of at least 78 percent, but some can go as high as 97 percent. Older gas furnaces tend to have an AFUE rating below 65 percent. When considering these top rated furnaces, keep your individual heating needs in mind; get the appropriate system and correct sized unit for your home.
Trane XV Two Stage Gas Furnaces
This furnace has an incredibly high AFUE rating of 96.7 percent. Because of the high energy efficiency, those who install this type of system may receive tax credits (typically anything that is 95 percent and over qualifies). The “two-stage” system refers to the furnace's ability to maintain a comfortable temperature at all times by alternating between two different output levels. Once the desired heating conditions have been reached, the furnace will simply maintain the temperature by switching to a lower capacity. If the temperatures suddenly drop, then the system will compensate by increasing the heat output. To ensure the smooth transition, the Trane XV Two Stage furnace features a variable speed blower, which makes less noise while preventing sudden changes in temperature. This intuitive system will save you on gas costs and always keep your home comfortable.
American Standard Freedom 95 Gas Furnaces
As the title implies, these furnaces have an AFUE rating of 95 percent. A 3 stage heating system is used to achieve this high-efficiency. As with Trane XV Two Stage furnaces, these furnaces will also adjust the heating capacity based on the conditions of the home using a variable speed blower. However, the American Standard Freedom 95 furnaces have 3 different capacities to switch between (45, 60 or 100 percent), offering a more flexible range of comfort. This heating system also comes with Acculink, which is useful for those who plan to use it in conjunction with an air conditioning system. This furnace also comes with a Comfort-R feature, which allows you to adjust the humidity level.
Carrier Infinity Gas Furnace
The Carrier Infinity Series has several models that meet different consumer needs; AFUE ratings range between 80 and 97 percent. While the 97 model may seem more appealing, it's important to not automatically dismiss the 80 percent model. High efficiency is undoubtedly an important aspect of gas furnace shopping, but it may not be necessary for every home. Gas furnaces with an efficiency rating of over 90 percent will save you in the long run, but they also have a higher start up cost. A furnace with an 80 percent efficiency rating, on the other hand, has lower start up costs with higher monthly costs. For those who live in climates don't require as much heating, or for those looking to install a heating system in a rental property, an 80 percent system might be a wiser investment.