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What Determines the Cost of a Furnace?

What Determines the Cost of a Furnace?

Ever looked at the price tag and wondered why furnaces cost so much? Don’t worry, I think we all have, especially if it’s your first time buying one. Furnace costs mostly boil down to: it varies depending on what type of furnace you’re installing, along with many other things, including:

1. Fuel Source

The fuel source of a furnace determines much more than just how it heats your home. It’s one of the biggest reasons why the prices vary from furnace to furnace. And there are a bunch more differences as well.

For example, having an oil furnace means you only have to pay for heating once or twice a year, rather than every month.

Electric furnaces are sustainable, good for the environment, and cheap upfront, but very expensive monthly. However, if you have solar panels installed, they can be a relatively affordable option, though they’re much less common than gas.

Natural gas furnaces are by far the most common type of furnace. They’re relatively inexpensive upfront and monthly. It’s also much easier to hook up a gas stove if you have the gas lines in for a furnace already.

2. Furnace Size

Okay, so you’ve chosen the type of fuel you want for your furnace, but how big should it be? Well, bigger furnaces of course cost more money than smaller ones, but are needed depending on the size of the space they need to heat.

Bigger spaces need bigger furnaces and the other way around with smaller spaces. Just make sure you consult one of our HVAC specialists to make sure you’re getting the right size —  one that’s either too big or small will run into maintenance issues and lower efficiency rates.

3. Energy Efficiency

Speaking of efficiency, do you really need a high efficiency furnace? Unfortunately, again, it depends mostly on where you live. If you live in a warmer climate, you can usually get away with a lower efficiency furnace.

After all, according to the US’s Department of Energy, all furnaces on the market have an efficiency rating of above 80%. That’s far higher than they used to be, that’s for sure. If you’re replacing an old furnace on its last legs, the slight jump in efficiency up to 80% might be worth it. Plus, it would be cheaper.

However, if you live in a colder area, efficiency can be very important. Higher efficiency means more reliability and less wasted money every month. If you’re running it for more months out of the year, that can add up to thousands of dollars.

4. Installation Cost

But how much will it cost to install it? And you really need a professional to do it?

Again, the cost varies depending on the type of furnace and how powerful it is. Powerful furnaces are more expensive to buy and install than less powerful ones. Electric furnaces are the cheapest to install, followed by gas, with oil being the most expensive.

As for the second question, a professional really is needed. Furnace installation is both dangerous and complex, as it can result in fires or gas leaks if done incorrectly. That is why all HVAC specialists must be certified in order to install one.

5. Brand

Is buying a furnace from the best brands really that important? Honestly, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you need a long-lasting, reliable furnace, go with a reliable brand where you can easily source the parts if something breaks. If not, go for a cheaper option.

6. Other Factors to Consider:

a. Warranty

Before you purchase your furnace replacement, make sure you check to see if your old furnace is still under warranty. Not every warranty is the same, though many are around ten years in length. Be sure to check what yours covers before completely replacing the furnace.

b. Maintenance

Most appliances require maintenance. This is especially true for furnaces. Depending on what climate you live in, your safety may depend on how well your furnace runs. Though, that is mostly for regions with bitterly cold winters.

It is highly recommended that you schedule maintenance regularly for your furnace, as otherwise, small issues can quickly become large ones.

c. Tax Credits

If you or a loved one recently purchased a high efficiency furnace (95% plus), you may be entitled to a $150 tax credit. While it does little to offset the cost of such a furnace, a little extra money often goes a long way.

d. Insulation

Insulation is often overlooked when it comes time to replace a furnace. The best furnace in the world will struggle to heat a poorly insulated home, especially in a colder climate. Older homes tend more often than not to have worse insulation, simply because they are older, and insulation has gotten more efficient with time.

If your home is struggling to stay heated, check to make sure that your insulation is effective before replacing the whole furnace.

Any questions? Schedule an appointment with one of ProSkill's HVAC experts to put your mind at ease.

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