The Ultimate Furnace Buyers Guide For 2024

When it comes to staying warm during the chilly Brampton winters, having a reliable furnace is essential. However, with various types, stages, and brands available in the market, choosing the right furnace can be a daunting task.

Whether you’re looking for new furnace installation, need of furnace repair, or are moving into a house and require a furnace inspection, this comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about furnace installation – Brampton, Ontario.

Table of Contents:

  1. How Do Furnaces Work?
  2. Types Of Furnaces
  3. What Are The Types Of Furnace Stages?
  4. Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps
  5. How Long Do Furnaces Last?
  6. How to Tell the Age of My Furnace?
  7. Are Furnaces Energy Efficient?
  8. What Furnace Size Do I Need?
  9. How Much Do Furnaces Cost?
  10. Buy Vs. Renting A Furnace
  11. Best Furnace Brands In Canada

How Do Furnaces Work?

Technician performing Furnace Maintenance

Before diving into the specifics of furnace repair and installation, it’s important to understand the basic functioning of a furnace.

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Furnaces work by circulating heated air through a system of ducts to maintain a comfortable temperature within a home or building. This process involves burning a fuel source to generate heat, which is then distributed throughout the space. They achieve this through a series of steps:

  1. Fuel Combustion: Most furnaces use a specific type of fuel, such as natural gas, propane, oil, or electricity, to generate heat. In a gas furnace, for instance, natural gas is ignited in the burner, creating a flame.
  2. Heat Exchanger: The heat generated from the combustion process is transferred to a component called the heat exchanger. This is a metal chamber or coil that gets extremely hot. As the hot gases pass through the heat exchanger, they transfer their heat to the metal.
  3. Air Circulation: Simultaneously, a blower fan pulls in cool air from the surroundings and directs it over the hot heat exchanger. This causes the air to absorb the heat and become warm.
  4. Distribution: The now-warmed air is circulated through a system of ducts and vents. These ducts are usually located throughout the building, allowing the heated air to reach various rooms.
  5. Thermostat Regulation: The furnace’s operation is regulated by a thermostat, which senses the current temperature. When the temperature falls below the desired setting, the thermostat signals the furnace to start heating. Once the desired temperature is reached, the thermostat instructs the furnace to stop.
  6. Air Filter: Before entering the furnace, air passes through a filter. This filter helps remove dust, debris, and particles from the air, ensuring cleaner indoor air quality.
  7. Exhaust Vent: In the case of gas or oil furnaces, after the heat is transferred to the air, the remaining combustion gases need to be safely vented outside. This is typically done through a flue or exhaust vent.
  8. Safety Features: Modern furnaces are equipped with safety features to ensure proper operation. These can include flame sensors, pressure switches, and limit switches that monitor various aspects of the furnace’s performance.
  9. Ignition System (For Gas Furnaces): Gas furnaces use various types of ignition systems. Older models may have a pilot light that stays lit continuously, while newer models often use electronic igniters that ignite the gas when the furnace is turned on.

Overall, furnaces are highly efficient systems for providing warmth and comfort during colder seasons, making them a crucial component of many households’ heating systems. Proper maintenance, including regular filter changes and professional inspections, ensures that furnaces operate safely and efficiently.

Types Of Furnaces

There are several types of furnaces available, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Furnaces use either gas, electricity, oil, or propane as the primary fuel source.

Trane Furnace xt95

1. Gas Furnace

A natural gas furnace is the most common, utilizing gas which is ignited in the burner, producing hot combustion gases that pass through a heat exchanger. This heat is then transferred to the air, which is circulated through the ductwork.


  • Cost-effective and widely available.
  • Efficient in producing high temperatures.


  • Requires a natural gas supply.
  • Installation, maintenance, and furnace repair services should be performed by a professional.

2. Electric Furnace

Electric furnaces use electric heating elements to produce heat. When electricity passes through these elements, they generate warmth, which is then circulated through the system. While electric furnaces tend to have lower upfront costs and are easy to install, they may be more expensive to operate in areas with high electricity rates.


  • Easy installation and low upfront costs.
  • No need for a fuel supply, making them more environmentally friendly.


  • Can be more expensive to operate in regions with high electricity costs.

3. Oil Furnace

Oil furnaces burn heating oil to produce heat. The oil is atomized and ignited in the furnace’s combustion chamber, creating hot gases that pass through the heat exchanger. This heat is then distributed throughout the building. Oil furnaces are commonly used in areas where natural gas is not readily available.


  • Efficient in producing high temperatures.
  • Suitable for areas without access to natural gas.


  • Requires an oil storage tank.
  • Regular furnace maintenance is crucial for optimal performance.

4. Propane Furnace

Propane furnaces are similar to natural gas furnaces but use propane as the fuel source. Propane is stored in a tank on the property and is delivered to the furnace as needed. These furnaces are ideal for homes in areas without access to natural gas lines.


  • Provides a reliable heat source in areas without access to natural gas.
  • Produces high temperatures efficiently.


  • Requires a propane storage tank.
  • Professional installation and maintenance are recommended.

What Are The Types Of Furnace Stages?

Understanding the different stages of a furnace can help you choose a unit that best suits your heating needs.

1. Single Stage Heat

Single stage furnaces have only one level of heat output, meaning they operate at full capacity whenever they are turned on. While they are less energy-efficient compared to multi-stage and modulating furnaces, they can be a cost-effective option for those in milder climates.

2. Multi-Stage Heat

Multi-stage furnaces have two or more settings, allowing them to adjust heat output based on the current temperature. This provides more precise control and higher energy efficiency. When the weather is milder, the furnace operates at a lower setting, saving energy and maintaining a consistent temperature.

3. Modulating Heat

Modulating furnaces continuously adjust the heat output, providing the most precise and efficient heating. They can maintain a consistent temperature with minimal fluctuations, making them highly efficient in maintaining comfort levels and saving on energy costs.

Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps

Are you considering a heat pump vs. a furnace? While furnaces are the most common heating system, heat pumps are also a viable option in climates like Brampton. Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the outside air or ground and transferring it indoors. They operate on electricity and are more energy-efficient than traditional furnaces, particularly in moderate climates.

Heat pumps are capable of both heating and cooling, offering a year-round solution for temperature control. However, in extremely cold climates, they may require supplemental heating, which could come from an electric furnace or other source.

In the Brampton climate, it’s good to have both sources of HVAC equipment installed for your home heating system. The heat pump can run during milder weather, saving you money, and the furnace can pick up the slack during the cold snaps.

How Long Do Furnaces Last?

On average, a well-maintained furnace can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years. The lifespan depends on factors like the type of furnace, regular maintenance, and the quality of installation. In Brampton, furnace repair services are available from the friendly HVAC professionals at Dr HVAC.

Regular maintenance, such as changing filters, cleaning ducts, and having a professional inspection, can significantly extend the life of your furnace. Additionally, keeping an eye out for signs of wear and addressing them promptly can prevent major issues and prolong the lifespan of your heating system.

How to Tell the Age of My Furnace?

To determine the age of your furnace, locate the manufacturer’s label, which is typically located on the inside panel of the unit. This label contains important information about the furnace, including the serial number. The first four digits of the serial number often represent the manufacturing date. Manufacturers usually have specific guidelines or tools on their website to help decode this information.

By identifying the age of your furnace, you can better anticipate when it might be reaching the end of its lifespan and plan for a replacement if necessary.

Are Furnaces Energy Efficient?

Furnace efficiency is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. This rating indicates the percentage of fuel that is converted into usable heat. High-efficiency furnaces have AFUE ratings of 90% or higher, meaning they convert most of the fuel into heat.

Modern furnaces are designed with advanced technology to maximize efficiency and reduce energy consumption. Investing in a high-efficiency heating system can lead to significant energy savings over time, offsetting the initial cost of the unit.

You can also find furnace rebates for Energy Star, high-efficiency new furnace installations. Check out the Canada Greener Homes Grant.

What Furnace Size Do I Need?

Choosing the right furnace size is crucial for efficient heating. An oversized furnace will cycle on and off frequently, leading to energy waste, while an undersized furnace will struggle to maintain a comfortable temperature. A Dr HVAC technician can perform a load calculation to determine the appropriate furnace size for your space.

Load calculations take into account factors such as the size of your home, insulation levels, windows, and local climate conditions. This ensures that the furnace installation you choose is perfectly matched to the heating needs of your space, maximizing comfort and energy efficiency.

How Much Do Furnaces Cost?

The cost of a furnace can vary widely depending on factors like type, brand, size, and location. According to This Old House, the average cost of a furnace installation in Canada ranges from $2,500 to $7,500.

Keep in mind that this cost includes not only the furnace unit itself but also furnace installation charges, additional components, and any necessary ductwork modifications. It’s essential to obtain a quote from a reputable HVAC company such as Dr HVAC to get an accurate estimate for your specific needs.

Buy Vs. Renting A Furnace

Homeowners have the option to either buy or rent a furnace. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations.

Buying a Furnace

Purchasing a new furnace provides long-term ownership and potential equity. You have the freedom to choose the brand, model, and features that best suit your needs. Additionally, you may be eligible for tax credits or rebates for investing in an energy-efficient heating system.

While the upfront cost of buying a furnace is higher, it can be a cost-effective option in the long run, especially if you plan to stay in your home for an extended period. However, you’ll be on the hook for unexpected repair costs, emergency furnace repair, and any other furnace problems that may arise.

Renting a Furnace

Renting a furnace offers lower upfront costs and often includes furnace maintenance coverage as part of the rental agreement. This means you won’t have to worry about unexpected furnace repair costs.

However, it’s important to consider that while renting may be more budget-friendly in the short term, it can be more expensive in the long run. Over time, the cumulative rental fees may exceed the cost of purchasing a furnace outright.

Ultimately, the decision between buying and renting should be based on your financial situation, long-term plans, and preferences for ownership.

Best Furnace Brands In Canada

Choosing a reputable brand is crucial for the reliability and longevity of your furnace. Here are some of the top furnace brands in Canada:


Trane is known for its high-quality, durable, and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. They offer a wide range of furnaces that cater to different budget and efficiency needs.


Bryant has a long-standing reputation for producing reliable and efficient heating solutions. Their furnaces are known for their durability and advanced technology.


Goodman is recognized for providing reliable and affordable heating solutions. They offer a range of furnaces that balance quality with affordability.


Napoleon 9600 Series Furnace

Napoleon is a Canadian company known for its innovative and high-performance heating products. They offer a variety of furnaces designed for efficiency and comfort.


Runtru, a brand by Trane, is known for its budget-friendly yet reliable heating solutions. They provide a range of furnaces that deliver reliable performance at an affordable price.

Each of these brands has a strong reputation for producing high-quality and reliable heating systems. When choosing a furnace, consider factors like efficiency, features, and budget to select the brand and model that best suits your needs.

Give Dr HVAC A Call!

Purchasing a furnace is a significant investment, and being well-informed is key to making the right decision. By understanding how furnaces work, the different types available, and considering factors like size, efficiency, and brand reputation, you can confidently choose a furnace that will keep you warm and comfortable in Brampton’s winters for years to come.

Remember to consult with a Dr HVAC professional for personalized recommendations and furnace installation services. With the right furnace, you can enjoy a cozy and comfortable home throughout the cold seasons.


Save up to $7,100 with the Greener Homes Grant and exclusive Dr HVAC rebates on heat pump systems!