selecting heating heating system for home furnaceBefore you buy a new heating system for your home, there are several decisions you should decide. These decisions include fuel type, system type, and which contractor will you select for the installation.

If you aren’t able to make an informed decision about your HVAC system yourself, then your heating and cooling contractor (who may not have the best understanding of your needs) will make that decision for you, which could cause issues in your budget and the long-term effectiveness of your system.

It’s important to know what you are looking for before contacting someone else to make your purchase decisions.

Choosing a Fuel Type

If you are replacing an old heating system, you will most likely want to stay with the same heating fuel that your present system uses, but there are a few cases in which you should consider switching.

If you live in a cold climate and have electric heat, you may benefit from switching to one of the other fuel types. Electric heat tends to be expensive in cold climates where air source heat pumps do not work as efficiently.

There has also been a tendency to switch from fuel oil or LPG to natural gas as pipelines are extended into new neighborhoods. Prices for these fuels fluctuate, so it is difficult to predict which would be less expensive. Some people switch to natural gas for the convenience of not having a storage tank and not having to schedule fuel deliveries.

Here are the percentages for each fuel type in homes throughout the US:

Main Heating Fuel

Natural Gas:   56%

Electric:   38%

Other:   20%

Heating fuel choice reflects decisions made by home builders and owners. EIA data show that homes built since 1970 use electricity and natural gas as their main heating fuel in roughly equal proportions.

Often the choice of heating fuel in new construction has long-term implications, as fuel switching can be expensive. In addition to buying new equipment and removing old equipment, ductwork, pipes, flues, pumps, and fans may need to be installed or removed.

Choosing a System Type

Nationwide, the warm-air furnace is by far the most popular type of heating system. The distribution of system types varies by region, but the overall popularity trends remain constant. In the Northeast, steam or hot-water systems are slightly more prevalent than furnaces, while in the South, heat pumps are the second-most popular systems behind furnaces.

Main Heating System Type

Central Systems

Central Warm-Air Furnace:    55%

Steam or Hot-Water System:   12%

Heat Pump:   10%

Stand-Alone Systems

Built-In Electric Units:   7%

Room Heater:   5%

Floor, Wall, or Pipeless furnace:   4%

Other:   7%

As mentioned previously, you will probably want to replace your existing system with a new one of the same type. This is usually the most sensible option, because fewer parts of the system have to be replaced.

For example, switching from a warm-air furnace or heat pump to a hot-water system would require installation of a new hot-water distribution system. Air systems use ductwork, and water systems use piping. Some of the system types—such as built-in electric units and floor, wall, or pipeless furnaces—do not have any form of distribution. These are called unitary systems.

Switching to a central furnace or hot-water system would require installation of a duct or pipe distribution system.

Choosing a Contractor

Once you decide which heating system you want to install, it is time to choose a contractor. This is where Pro HVAC Service can help. We have a network of contractors across the United States.

We can provide you with free, no obligation quotes from our contractors in your area by filling out the form to the right or giving us a call at (844) 769-5995.

It is very important to find a contractor that is dedicated to providing you with quality services. One of the leading causes of continued heating system repair  is improper installation, which makes finding a reputable heating and cooling contractor that much more necessary.

It is recommended to get at least three quotes from contractors in order to find the best price for what you are looking for.

Here are some useful tricks to keep in mind when selecting a contractor:

  • Get referrals from friends or family who have had work done on their heating systems
  • Check each contractor’s licensing for applicability to the job and length of time held
  • Ask if licensed technicians will be performing the work.
  • Ask about the contractor’s warranty.
  • Workmanship should be covered as well as all materials installed by the contractor.

Choosing a Model

Choosing the type of model you need for your heating system can be tricky. Unlike everyday appliances you purchase for your home, there is often less knowledge for the type of heating system you need for your home. The main points of concern when purchasing a model are price, performance, and reliability.

Price vs. Performance

Price is important when it comes to your heating system, but should not be your only consideration. Buying the least expensive heating equipment is usually not the best investment. It is a better idea to consider the operating cost of the equipment as well as the initial cost.

Because heating systems last for many years, the operating cost will greatly exceed the initial cost of the equipment over its lifetime. If you buy a more efficient system, then over time the lower operating cost will make up for the high initial cost.


Heating systems are built to last around 20 years. To avoid frequent service calls and maintenance fees it can be more beneficial to pay for a more reliable system. You should compare warranties offered on various makes and models and consider a good warranty from a reputable manufacturer to be an indication of a reliable product.

Get Free Quotes on Heating Systems Today!

Whether you’re looking for a modern furnace, boiler, or radiant heat system, Pro HVAC Service can help!  We’ll provide you with a free estimate on the installation or replacement of your system quickly and easily.

To get your free estimates, fill out the form to the right, or give us a call at (844) 769-5995.  Within minutes, we’ll contact you with a list of local HVAC Contractors that can help you.