Everyone likes the idea of reducing their energy bills, particularly in the cold of winter in Heath. If you’ve priced a furnace lately, you may have noticed the price difference between medium and high-efficiency furnace.
If you are wondering if installing a high-efficiency furnace is worth the extra cost, read on. We’ll cover all the bases on replacing your traditional furnace with a high-efficiency one.
Measuring the Efficiency of a Furnace (AFUE)
The HVAC industry measures the efficiency of a furnace using the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. The higher that rating, the more efficient the furnace is. You should realize that a furnace with an AFUE rating of 95% requires significantly less fuel (natural gas, propane or fuel oil) to heat your home, than heating equipment with an 80% AFUE rating. Even though higher-efficiency furnaces cost more out of pocket at install time, they will allow you to spend less on heating costs year over year.
In a climate like Ohio, and especially in Heath – where the average low temperature is 22 degrees Fahrenheit in the coldest months of January and February – with the lows often much lower than that, you should save money with a high-efficiency furnace versus a location with warmer winters. AFUE ratings are always an important factor when buying a furnace, especially in the central Ohio area.
Let’s examine a common scenario. The images display numbers from CenterPoint Energy’s Furnace Efficiency Calculator, showing estimated annual operating costs and high efficiency savings for a home in the 2,000-3,000 sq ft range, assuming a natural gas price of $0.7/therm. As you can see the annual savings can offset the cost of the furnace over the typical 15-year life of the furnace.
This demonstrates how a high-efficiency furnace may end up well worth the extra cost at the time of purchase. Once you achieve payback of the time it takes to recover the cost of an investment, the high-efficiency furnace has paid for itself and begins saving you energy dollars.
There are other factors involved in furnace technology that can affect efficiency, pricing and comfort.
Comparing Single-Stage, Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
When shopping for a furnace, be sure to check if each model is a single-stage, two-stage or variable-speed (aka modulating) furnace. The AFUUE rating indicates how efficient a furnace uses fuel, it’s important to grasp how different furnace technology affects the sales price, comfort and operating cost of a new furnace.
The simplest type of furnace is a single-stage, having only one flame setting: “on” or “off.” No low or medium setting. While a single-stage furnace costs less than more complex models, it does have some drawbacks. Unfortunately, single-stage furnaces can allow big fluctuations in the home’s temperature, and because they’re less efficient, they cost more money to run.
If your thermostat is set to 68 degrees, you’re home’s air temperature may drop down to 64 degrees before the furnace fires up. To achieve 68 degrees, the furnace might need to heat the air as high as 72 degrees before shutting off. That’s quite a temperature swing.
This type of furnace has two heat settings, ‘low’ and ‘high,’ allowing it to run more efficiently than a single-stage furnace. These furnace provide a more comfortable temperature control, but will have a higher price than a comparably sized single-stage furnace.
With your thermostat set at 69 degrees, the dual-stage furnace may allow the temperature to drop as low as 66 before it fires up; and it will probably run until the temperature reaches 69 or 70.
This type of furnace, also called a “modulating” furnace, is the most efficient-running, and maintains the best comfort level. This furnace changes heat settings in smaller increments, resulting in your home’s air temperature only varying by a degree or two from the thermostat setting.
The advanced technology demand a higher price than a single- or two-stage furnace. You may end up using less fuel, offsetting the up-front cost. How soon you begin saving money with a high-efficiency furnace depends on how your family uses the furnace, home size, natural gas rates, and other factors.
Other Important Considerations When Buying a Furnace
Furnace efficiency can pay for itself, eventually, but also give your family additional comfort. What are some other considerations that can determine whether a high-efficiency furnace is worth spending the extra money?
Natural Gas Prices
Fuel prices have been low for the past several years, because of many factors (mild winters, more natural gas available, domestic production increased substantially), cutting the energy savings a bit. Energy prices, of course, or some of the most volatile costs in our modern society, so any increase in cost is offset by savings in operating costs with a high-efficiency furnace.
Currently, the Internal Revenue Service offers a tax credit for qualifying high-efficiency improvements to your home. Learn more on the IRS website, Energy Incentives for Residential Property.
A high-efficiency furnace uses less energy and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, everyone benefits from cleaner air, present and future.
Utility Rebate Programs
Columbia Gas of Ohio offers rebates on energy efficient home products and ENERGY STAR appliances. Customers can get as much as $350 off ENERGY STAR furnaces and water heaters. In addition, customers can receive $10 to $75 off the purchase price of a programmable thermostat.
Time in Your Home
How long do you plan to stay in your home? While you’ll almost never recoup 100% of the cost of installing a high-efficiency furnace in the sale price of your home, it may increase the marketability and desirability of the home. And if you’re staying put for a while, you can’t really measure the price of better comfort for your family, can you?
Don’t Pay Too Much for a New Furnace
When you purchase a large appliance like a furnace or air conditioner, there are two distinct possibilities when getting furnace quotes:
HVAC Contractor with Too Much Business Some companies have more business than they can handle, so they’ll mark up their rates by 50% to 100%, and if you accept their bid, they’ll install your furnace while another homeowner gets moved down the list.
Inexperienced or “Desperate” HVAC Contractors These are smaller contractors who need every scrap of business they can get, so they low-ball offers just to get the business. Then they rush the installation, may not install the furnace properly and safely, resulting in an early failure or breakdown of the furnace.
The best way to determine if you’re dealing with a fair price is to determine how long a company has been in business, how many install and service technicians they have, and compare Google reviews.
- If the HVAC contractor has a large amount of Five Star Reviews on Google, they can be trusted. Google is very stringent on requiring reviews only from verified, live accounts. It’s very difficult to fake a large number of five star reviews. We have almost 1,000 five star reviews — meaning we’ve made a LOT of people happy with their HVAC equipment purchase and service.
- Dor-Mar has been in business since 1961, and is in its third generation of ownership. You can’t last that long in a consumer-driven business without making a lot of customers happy.
- We have a crew of 30+ install and service technicians. While we like to keep them busy, we ensure there is adequate time for each customer. We also conduct frequent training to keep our team up to speed on newest developments in the industry.
Get a Free On-site Estimate for a New High Efficiency Furnace
If you live in our service area in or around Heath, Ohio, we’ll be happy to provide an on-site estimate for a new furnace replacement. Use the convenient appointment request form or call our expert customer service team to arrange for a personalized price estimate.
Our estimator will measure your home and perform an assessment, then recommend the size and type of furnace you should install, and available furnace options for your home. He’ll also review any available rebates or special promotions to save you more.
Dor-Mar to the Rescue!
Schedule an appointment for HVAC system installation, troubleshooting or maintenance with us today by using our online contact form, or call our Heath number listed below . We pride ourselves on our customer-focused service, and our reviews show it!
Dor-Mar…Your Climate Hero!
*Please note: neither the Centers for Disease Control(CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), nor the manufacturer of our UV-C Devices have officially announced whether UV-C kills the current strain of Corona Virus (COVID-19). We urge you to err on the side of caution until we have a definitive answer, and take other measures to prevent the acquisition or spread of this virus.