What Features To Look For In A New Furnace Or Heater

If you're preparing to have a professional perform a furnace or heater installation, it's a good idea to think about the new system's features. A heater installation project is a good chance to address issues regarding capacity, efficiency, filtration, computerization, and even automation. Let's take a look at these features and how you can get the most bang for your buck with a heater installation effort.


First, take measurements of every room in your house. This should include the attic and basement if your place has those. Likewise, you should get the height of each room, too. You can then use this calculator to determine how much capacity you need in BTUs.

It's best to right-size the capacity of your furnace installation as much as possible. Going too low will put a strain on the system, shortening its life. Too high of a capacity will lead to inefficient heating, potentially raising your utility bills.


The U.S. Department of Energy applies three different standards based on which region of the country a building is in. Annual fuel efficiency is measured in percentages. The lowest percentage efficiency standard, 80%, for a heater installation applies to the American Southwest. Understandably, the highest standard, 90% AFUE, applies to northern states. You can go higher, though.


Every furnace has a filter, and filtration ratings are measured in MERV, minimum efficiency rating value. This rating applies to how well the filter blocks particles, and it goes from one to 16.

With filtration, there are trade offs at both ends. A low-MERV filter won't block a lot of dust, but it will allow your system to achieve greater fuel-efficiency. The reverse is true with a high-MERV setup.

If you need a high-MERV system due to allergies or a respiratory illness, discuss this with your technician before choosing a system. Otherwise, the high-MERV filter may strain a heater it's not designed for.

Computerization and Automation

If you're adding a new furnace or heater, it's probably wise to update the control system, too. Modern thermostats offer tons of computerization, allowing you finer control of how and when the heating unit operates. For example, you can set it to only heat your bedroom when it's close to bedtime.

These also can be automated, and it's possible to integrate high-end ones with your voice assistant software. For example, you can have the voice assistant in your car trigger the furnace 15 minutes before you get home.

If you're still confused about what features you want in your furnace installation, contact an HVAC professional today to get more help.