Finding the right furnace
The first thing you’ll need to consider is the type of furnace to install. Since most furnaces last between 15 and 20 years, chances are the wealth of choices now available didn’t exist when your original unit was purchased. The most common residential furnace is powered by natural gas and can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $7,000. Oil furnaces preceded gas and are still used in much of the area, but these furnaces tend to be less efficient. They cost between $3,000 and $6,000 to install, possibly more if existing ductwork needs to be adapted.
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There are three major types of Furnaces.
- Single stage
- Dual Stage
Keep in mind the single stage is the least comfortable system and the modulating is an extremely comfortable system.
You can also choose to install electric heat, which can be with a heat pump, which pulls in heat from the air or ground using refrigerant coils. Air source heat pumps cost $4,500 to $9,000, while ground-source may cost upward of $25,000 and more. These heat pump furnaces can be used as air conditioning units in summer, and heating in the fall and winter.
Gas furnaces come with a host of choices which can affect their price.
The first is heat output, measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs); an “average” home is well served by a 60,000 BTU furnace. Units with higher BTU rating aren’t necessarily better for smaller homes, since they’ll cost more and hit ideal temperatures too quickly, then shut off – the result is an inconsistent comfort level.
Efficiency is the next consideration. Older-model furnaces were often rated 80 percent efficient or less, which means 20 percent of the heat generated was lost to waste. Many new models are rated 90 percent or better, with some in the 94 to 95 percent range. This small jump in efficiency translates to a decrease in utility costs.
- Single stage range is approximately either 82%, 90% or 95% depending on the manufacturer.
- Dual Stage range is approximately either 82%, 90% or 95% depending on the manufacturer.
- Modulating starts at 90% and goes to 97% depending the manufacturer
Keep in mind the lower the number the higher your bills.
It’s also important to determine how effectively a gas furnace can heat your home, in large part determined by its “staging.” Older furnaces were one stage, meaning they always ran at full power. Many newer furnaces are two-stage, capable of running at 65 percent when first starting up to conserve fuel, and then ramping up to 95 percent as needed. More expensive three-stage models also exist, which can run anywhere from 33 to 90 percent power in 1 percent increments.
Consider these tips to estimate the cost of a new furnace.
Considering labor costs
Installing a furnace also comes with labor costs. The price of labor isn’t fixed, but many companies charge as an installed price and do not separate the equipment and labor. This is not a problem and you want to compare the total cost only as part of the equation. You must also compare companies, prosses, warranty, guarantee, and installers.
Two warranties govern furnace installs and function. The first is the manufacturer’s warranty, which comes with the furnace and protects against defects in the furnace itself, such as inoperable fans or pilot lights that won’t stay lit. A contractor’s warranty covers the labor involved to make repairs if the furnace doesn’t work properly and is often good for a period of 5 to 10 years. Some contractors charge more for extended warranties.
Make sure to get any warranty in writing; also make sure that it specifies exactly what gets covered, for how long and what the contractor will do to fix the problem. Although the costs of installing a furnace vary significantly, you can avoid price pitfalls by doing your own research.