Selecting the Right Furnace for Your Calgary Home: A Detailed Guide


Selecting the right furnace for a Calgary home can be a daunting task, especially for those who are not familiar with the HVAC industry. With so many options available, it can be challenging to determine which furnace is the best fit for your home. Fortunately, there are several factors to consider that can help guide you in making an informed decision.

One of the most important considerations when selecting a new furnace in Calgary is the size of your home. A furnace that is too small will struggle to keep up with the demand for heat, while one that is too large will waste energy and lead to higher utility bills. 

Other factors to consider include energy efficiency, type of fuel, and the reputation of the manufacturer. By taking these factors into account, homeowners can ensure that they select a furnace that will provide reliable and efficient heating for years to come.


Types of Furnaces

When selecting a furnace for a Calgary home, one of the most important considerations is the type of furnace that will best suit the homeowner’s needs. There are several types of furnaces available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are the most common type of furnace found in Canadian households. They are popular due to their high efficiency and lower operating costs. Gas furnaces use natural gas as fuel and require a gas pipe connection and proper ventilation for optimal use.

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are another popular option for Calgary homeowners. They use electricity to generate heat and do not require any fuel or venting, making them easy to install and maintain.

Oil Furnaces

Oil furnaces are less common but still prevalent in some Canadian homes. They use heating oil as fuel and require a storage tank to hold the oil.

Wood and Coal Furnaces

Wood and coal furnaces are less common and typically used in rural areas where wood and coal are readily available. They require a constant supply of wood or coal to operate and can be less efficient than gas or oil furnaces.

Propane Furnaces

Propane furnaces are similar to gas furnaces but use propane gas instead of natural gas.


Efficiency and AFUE Ratings

Choosing an efficient furnace for a Calgary home is crucial to conserve energy, lessen greenhouse gas emissions, and cut heating costs. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, which quantifies how much fuel a furnace converts into heat, is an essential factor in this selection process. 

High-efficiency furnaces usually have AFUE ratings between 92 and 97 percent, compared to older models that sit around 65 percent. It’s important to remember that these ratings, based on laboratory conditions, may not mirror real-world performance as factors like home size, insulation, and ductwork can impact efficiency. 

Despite this, comparing AFUE ratings remains a useful method to evaluate different furnace models. Lastly, the most efficient furnaces may have ratings up to 99 percent, surpassing the maximum 98 percent AFUE often presented on the EnerGuide label.


Selecting the Right Size

Choosing an appropriately sized furnace is essential for maintaining comfort and energy efficiency in a Calgary home. Oversized furnaces can cause uneven temperature due to rapid heating, while undersized ones may fail to maintain a comfortable temperature. The correct furnace size is determined by calculating the home’s heating load – the heat quantity the furnace must generate to keep the home comfortable. 

Factors influencing this include the home’s square footage, number of windows and doors, insulation level, and local climate. Furnace size is usually measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), with larger homes requiring more BTUs. The furnace’s efficiency rating also matters, with high-efficiency furnaces needing fewer BTUs to produce the same heat amount as their less efficient counterparts. 

Since each home has a unique heating load, it requires a custom-sized furnace, which can be determined by a licensed HVAC contractor performing a load calculation. Generally, residential gas furnaces range from 44,000 BTU/h to 120,000 BTU/h. The correct furnace size for a Calgary home, however, depends on its unique heating load, ensuring optimal comfort and energy efficiency.


Safety and Regulations

Selecting a furnace for a Calgary home involves considering safety, regulations and location. Furnaces can present safety hazards if not properly installed and maintained, so adherence to all safety guidelines is crucial. 

The City of Calgary’s Planning & Development department oversees furnace installations, ensuring compliance with the Alberta Building Code and Alberta Gas Code. These provide minimum standards to guarantee safe and efficient operation. A building permit is also required for new installations, replacements or relocations, to confirm code and regulation compliance. 

The furnace unit should include safety features such as an automatic shut-off switch and a carbon monoxide detector. Additionally, it should be installed in a safe, well-ventilated location that doesn’t interfere with doors or windows and allows easy access for maintenance.


Calgary-Specific Considerations

Selecting a furnace for a Calgary home involves considering several factors including the local climate, home size and location, and fuel source availability. Given Calgary’s cold winters with temperatures often dropping below freezing, a furnace with high heating capacity is crucial. 

A recommended capacity is at least 60 Btus per square foot of living space, possibly more for cooler areas or homes with poor insulation. For rural homes, availability of fuel sources like propane or oil is important, with cost and availability influencing heating expenses. 

The size of the home also matters, with larger homes needing bigger furnaces and multi-level homes possibly benefiting from zoned heating systems. Homes in high wind or extreme temperature areas may need additional insulation to maintain comfort.



Selecting the right furnace for a Calgary home is critical for optimal home comfort and energy efficiency. When choosing a furnace, it is essential to consider the size, efficiency, and fuel type. A properly sized furnace will ensure even temperatures throughout the home, while an efficient furnace will reduce energy costs and environmental impact.

It is important to keep in mind that purchasing a furnace is a significant investment, and buyers should take the time to research and compare different models and brands. A buyer’s guide can help homeowners understand the features and benefits of different furnaces and make an informed decision.

Home comfort is a top priority for Canadians, especially during the long and cold winter months. A reliable and efficient furnace is crucial for maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature and avoiding costly repairs or replacements.

Home heating accounts for a significant portion of energy consumption in Canada, and selecting an energy-efficient furnace can help reduce energy costs and environmental impact. Many furnaces now come with energy-saving features such as programmable thermostats and variable-speed blowers, which can help reduce energy consumption and save money in the long run.

In conclusion, selecting the right furnace for a Calgary home requires careful consideration of size, efficiency, and fuel type. Buyers should take the time to research and compare different models and brands, and consult a professional if necessary. With the right furnace, homeowners can enjoy optimal home comfort and energy efficiency while reducing their environmental impact and energy costs.


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