Furnace Ratings: Top Rated Furnaces

Updated November 30, 2014
In this report

Furnace Rating Sources

1. EnergySavers.gov Furnaces and Boilers, EnergySavers.gov, June 24, 2012
Credibility:
This article from the U.S. Department of Energy explains how furnaces and boilers are rated for efficiency and discusses some characteristics of low-, mid- and high-efficiency heating systems. It also provides some advice on when to replace an old furnace or boiler and whether to choose a high-efficiency unit. A table shows the possible cost savings of replacing older, inefficient heating equipment. The article discusses the possibility of retrofitting an existing furnace or boiler to make it more efficient, and there is a list of tips for maintaining your heating system at top efficiency.
2. ConsumerReports.org Gas Furnace Buying Guide, ConsumerReports.org, September 2014
Credibility:
This buying guide from ConsumerReports.org offers general guidelines on deciding whether or not your furnace needs to be repaired or replaced, and how to choose a gas furnace. There are suggestions for finding a contractor as well. A link lists the major manufacturers of gas furnaces, along with their repair histories based upon a survey of Consumer Reports subscribers. Unlike most content on ConsumerReEports.org, this article is free to the public.
3. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Heating , American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
Credibility:
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has lots of information relating to energy-efficient appliances and calculating your return on an investment. There's some good information on deciding when to replace a furnace, and editors offer a checklist of maintenance tips as well.
4. The Family Handyman Do I Need a New Furnace?, The Family Handyman
Credibility:
Several HVAC pros are interviewed for this article on a variety of furnace-related topics. Those include choosing a furnace and the pros and cons of various furnaces types. There are a number of helpful tips for choosing a contractor and saving money on the initial purchase.
5. National Geographic magazine Furnace Buying Guide, National Geographic magazine
Credibility:
The energy-saving benefits of high-efficiency furnaces are touted in this article. Tara Snyder compares types of heating systems, discusses sizing and offers guidelines on when to replace an old furnace. It also contains a list of tips for keeping your heating system at top efficiency. The environmental impact of home heating is also discussed.
6. DannyLipford.com Tips for Dealing With HVAC Pros, DannyLipford.com
Credibility:
Danny Lipford is a remodeling contractor who hosts television and radio programs about home improvement. Half this article offers tips on maintaining HVAC equipment and dealing with the professionals who service it. The rest is about buying a new HVAC system. He offers tips on how to select a contractor, such as making sure that the business owner plays an active role in designing and installing your system. The advice is straightforward and less drenched in jargon than most guides. Lipford also explains some key HVAC terminology.
7. HGTV.com Types of HVAC Systems, HGTV.com
Credibility:
The editors of HGTV.com offer an excellent overview of HVAC systems, both heating and cooling. It also talks about how to add radiant floor heating to your remodeling project and discusses and retrofitting an existing heating system.
8. This Old House Is It Time To Replace the Furnace?, This Old House
Credibility:
The author, a plumbing and heating contractor, offers advice to a reader considering upgrading her 80 percent efficient furnace to a new high-efficiency furnace. This ends up becoming a valuable explanation as to why -- although it may seem counterintuitive -- an upgrade isn't always the best choice.
9. HomeEnergyPros.com Changing 80 Percent Furnaces to 90+, HomeEnergyPros.com, As of July 2013
Credibility:
This forum thread also tackles the topic of whether or not it's always a good idea to replace an 80 percent AFUE furnace to one rated 90 percent AFUE. Both economic and energy-efficiency considerations are discussed.
10. Energy.gov Heat Pump Systems, Energy.gov, Dec. 15, 2014
Credibility:
This article offers an overview of heat pumps, how they work, and when they may be appropriate. Links take you to even more detailed discussions of specific types of heat pumps.
11. ENERGYSTAR.gov Heat & Cool Efficiently, ENERGYSTAR.gov
Credibility:
In this overview from the U.S. Department of energy, there is a lot of general information on maintaining heating and cooling systems, with links to more detailed lists of information about when to replace your HVAC equipment and how to choose a contractor. The most useful piece of information here is a how-to guide in PDF format, which covers such information as HVAC maintenance, energy-savings strategies, choosing new equipment and working with a contractor.
12. ENERGYSTAR.gov ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2014 - Furnaces, ENERGYSTAR.gov
Credibility:
These are the most energy efficient furnaces of 2014 as named by the U.S. Department of Energy. All AFUE percentages are greater than 97 percent. Annual operating costs are also detailed, as is annual energy use and fan efficiency.
13. ENERGYSTAR.gov ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2014 - Boilers, ENERGYSTAR.gov
Credibility:
The U.S. Department of Energy names these as the most efficient gas- and oil-fired boilers of 2014. All of the gas models have an AFUE rating of 95 percent; the oil-fired boilers have an AFUE of better than 90 percent. Annual operating costs are also detailed.
14. DSIRE.org Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, DSIRE.org
Credibility:
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) is a source of information about the state and local incentives and rebates available for high-efficiency products, including furnaces. While it can be tedious to scroll through each state's offerings, it may very well be worthwhile if you find that your local government or utility company offers rebates or incentives. Some of the information here appears dated, but an update has been promised.