Choosing the Right Furnace: A Comprehensive Guide for Maryland Homeowners

Selecting a furnace for your Maryland home is no small feat. With cold winters requiring a reliable heating system, the furnace you choose will have a significant impact on your comfort as well as on your utility bills. This guide offers an in-depth look at the key factors to consider, from the size and type of furnace to its efficiency and the intricacies of installation and repair. Our hope is that this information will equip you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision, ensuring warmth and comfort throughout the year.

Step 1 – Determine the Right Size – Not Too Big Not Too Small – Looking for the Goldilocks Furnace

One of the most important factors to take into consideration when shopping for a new furnace is getting the right size. In order to heat your home properly and offer the fuel efficiency you expect, your furnace has to be the right size; not to large and not too small. The determination of the size you need involves a complex formula that includes several factors including the square footage of your home, and the number of windows you have. If you try to save money by buying a furnace that’s too small, your system will have to work harder to heat your home and it won’t be very efficient. If you select a furnace that’s too large, you’ll pay too much for the furnace and you won’t get the efficiency you need. In addition, the level of insulation you have in your home will affect the size of the furnace you’ll need. Homes that are well insulated may require smaller units as they can hold heat more effectively.

Step 2 – Choose the Fuel Type

There are several different fuel types for you to choose from in Maryland:

Natural Gas

Natural gas furnaces are the most common type, especially in suburban and urban areas in Maryland where gas lines are readily available. They offer the advantage of cleaner emissions and tend to be more cost effective in the long term.

Oil Furnaces

Oil furnaces are often used in areas where natural gas is not readily available. They offer higher BTUs but require a separate storage tank for the oil, adding another element of complexity and expense.

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are usually less expensive to install but can be costly to run, especially in a cold state like Maryland where the furnace will be in constant operation during the winter months.

Step 3 – Assess Energy Efficiency

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency – AFUE Ratings

The AFUE rating is expressed as a percentage that tells you how much of the fuel will be converted into usable heat. Furnaces with higher AFUE ratings, such as those above 90%, are generally more efficient but may have a higher upfront cost.

Long Term savings

While higher efficiency furnaces may be more expensive initially, they can pay off through reduced utility bills, making them a worthwhile investment over time.

Step 4 – Consider Installation and Repair Costs

Professional Installation

The importance of professional installation can’t be overstated. Even the most efficient furnace can perform poorly if not installed correctly. Additionally, improper installation can lead to frequent repairs, adding to the overall lifetime cost of the unit. Finally, improper installation may negatively affect the warranty coverage provided by the manufacturer.

Step 5 – Additional Features

Smart Thermostats

Investing in a smart thermostat can give you greater control over your heating, allowing for more efficient use of your furnace.

Zoned Heating

Zoned heating systems enable you to heat different areas of your home to different temperatures, offering both comfort and efficiency.

Step 6 – Consult a Professional

Consulting a heating professional who is familiar with Maryland’s specific climate conditions can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation. They can also give insights into potential tax credits or rebates for certain types of furnaces.


By now, you should have a good understanding of the variables that go into choosing the right furnace for your Maryland home. The journey to making an informed choice is intricate but worthwhile. It’s not just about immediate comfort; it’s about selecting a system that will serve you efficiently and reliably for years to come. With careful consideration of the size of the furnace, the type of fuel it uses, its energy efficiency, and the installation and repair costs, you can invest in a heating system that is the best fit for your home. The right furnace will do more that just keep you warm; it will become an essential part of your home, contributing to your quality of life and the value of your property.

First Response Heating and Cooling is a family owned and operated business serving the communities of Harford, Baltimore, and Cecil Counties for over 40 years. Our mission is to provide fast and efficient heating and cooling solutions to both residential and commercial clients.  Our skilled technicians specialize in a wide range of services, including smart home installations, heating system repairs, air conditioning maintenance, and much more. We also offer light commercial and business-to-business services.

For more information about our company or the products and services we provide, contact us via our website, or give us a call at 833-671-4332.

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