Searching for the best deals on oil furnaces can be a challenge if you're looking at the technical aspects. But you don't have to delve into so many technicalities; all you need is the basics and you're good to go comparing oil furnace prices.
The first to check is the AFUE rating. You may think this is already technical, but it's not. The acronym stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and it measures the amount of heat that a furnace is capable of converting when burning fuel. The US Department of Energy has ruled that all furnaces sold should at least meet 78% AFUE rating; this started in January 1992.
If you're looking at an oil furnace with a 90% rating, this means that 90% of the fuel is converted into heat and the rest is expelled out as waste. You will notice that oil furnace prices go up as the rating goes higher. It's good to note that a higher number means the equipment is more energy-efficient, giving you more savings in the long run.
Do you need equipment with a higher efficiency rating? In general, yes, you do. But if your heating requirement is not so big, you're better off with a furnace hitting the minimum. The size of your house and the climate during the cold season should be considered when assessing your heating requirement.
Carefully compare the models you're planning to buy. Some units heavily advertised might be pre-configured with all the bells and whistles; a basic configuration could be available at a lower price. Clarify things when presented with quotations; ask what's included and what's not. Installations, extended warranty, parts and after-sales support may cost you more, but they may save you money in the long run.
Consult the experts. Some contractors offer free estimates that will give you an idea of how much it'll really cost you apart from the unit alone. If you're replacing an old oil furnace, there might be a need to upgrade your chimney or oil tank, so you may want to have it checked as well to avoid surprises.
In the end, you will not only basing your purchase decision on oil furnace prices alone, as there are certainly additional expenses that you should consider. Read the fine print; survey the market; and then make a decision based on what you're comfortable with. After all, heating equipment lasts on the average for 20 years and is worth the investment for your family.