How to Choose a Furnace in Minneapolis

Twin Cities Heating and Air HVAC Minneapolis MN commercial photographer July222C2016 068 - Twin City Heating, Air & Electric

Choosing a furnace is not all about the price tag, especially in Minneapolis. Throughout the winter, our furnaces are constantly used. Any furnace can warm your home for a winter. The real test is if it can run for ten without breaking down or causing issues with your home’s air. Knowing if the furnace you choose will last a long time, save you money, and stay sturdy throughout its lifespan, there are many key factors to look for.

Twin-Cities-Heating-and-Air-HVAC-Minneapolis-MN-commercial-photographer-July 20, 2016--010.jpg

Efficiency (AFUE)

Always start with the efficiency of the furnace. Annual fuel-utilization-efficiency, or AFUE, shows how much energy is used to heat your home versus how much energy is lost during the heating process. Every AFUE rating, also known as efficiency rating, is advertised in percentages out of one-hundred. If your furnace has an 80% AFUE rating, that means 80% of energy is converted into heat while 20% is lost trying to generate the heat. The lowest AFUE today is 78%, and the highest AFUE is 98%. Higher AFUE ratings mean that your energy bills will be lower because most of the energy is converted into heat. For example, if you set your thermostat to 68° during the winter, a furnace with an 80% AFUE will have to use 10% more energy than a 90% AFUE furnace to get to that temperature. Of course, the initial cost for a higher AFUE rated furnace is more than lower ratings, but that cost will be surpassed over time when you save on your energy bills.


The size of your home will contribute to what type of furnace you’ll want to get. As you might guess, the larger the home, the larger the furnace that home will need. Furnaces that are too small will not be able to heat the home during frigid temperatures. In turn, furnaces that are too large will have to slow heat production frequently because the home will reach the desired temperature faster, increasing energy use to turn on and off. This happens frequently in homes, but it will also contribute to higher energy bills. One common question we get, and is listed in our Frequently Asked Questions, is how to determine the size furnace you need. While the measuring system is a little complicated, the most accurate way to check your furnace size is by seeking a HVAC professional to measure the size of your home and add in key factors to the heat and airflow.

Fuel Type

There are many different ways to heat your home, but the most common today are natural gas furnaces. This is because natural gas is more available and inexpensive compared to other sources. Other sources include electricity, oil, wood, and coal. If you’re looking into other types of furnaces, you’ll want to be sure to talk with your HVAC professional about the advantages and disadvantages for each type in your home. While some options may seem better than others on paper, your home is unique and has different needs than others. Because of this, your HVAC professional will have suggestions for you to heat your home efficiently and safely.

Twin-Cities-Heating-and-Air-HVAC-Minneapolis-MN-commercial-photographer-July 20, 2016--001.jpg

Other Factors

While efficiency, size, and fuel type are some of the most important factors to consider while choosing a furnace, there are other factors that will help narrow down your options. Each of these factors contribute to how that furnace will operate once set up in your home.

Variable or Fixed Speed Blowers

The blowers in your furnace determine the speed and amount of warm air released into your home. Fixed-speed blowers usually only have two settings: on and off. This can waste more energy as your furnace has to start over each time the temperature goes below the thermostat setting. Variable-speed blowers have many different settings, allowing the furnace to stay on, but decrease the amount of heat going into your home once it has reached the thermostat setting.

Dual Heat Exchangers

One of the reasons high efficiency furnaces are so efficient is because they have two, or dual, heat exchangers. These exchangers gather and store the heat from the burned fuel. This allows the furnace to gather and store more heat to send into your home.

Zoned Heating

Furnaces with zoned heating are programmed to heat different areas of your home differently. This would allow more heat to go into a room you use more often, like the living room or bedrooms, and save energy by decreasing the amount of heat in rooms you are not in as often, like basements.

The best way to get the right furnace for your home is to contact your HVAC professionals, like any of us at Twin City Heating and Air. We are now offering purchasing and installation packages for furnaces and air conditioners. If you’re looking to get a new furnace, install a new air conditioner, or get a tune-up for your HVAC systems, we are ready to help.