Is It Worth Getting A High Efficiency Furnace?

When it comes to the best heating and cooling systems, many homeowners wonder if investing in a high efficiency furnace is truly worthwhile. In this article, we will explore the potential cost savings and other essential factors to help you make an informed decision. 

To determine if a high efficiency furnace is worth it, consider how long you plan to stay in your home. If it’s a short-term arrangement, the investment might not pay off as quickly. 

However, for long-term homeowners, the benefits become more apparent, especially in larger homes.

Energy Savings With High Efficiency Furnace

Heating your home can consume a significant portion of your utility bill, roughly 45%. To reduce your energy expenses, homeowners often resort to various common remedies. 

But the question on many minds is whether a high efficiency furnace can make a difference. 

 The math behind the savings is crucial. A standard-efficiency furnace returns about 80 cents for every dollar spent on fuel, whereas high efficiency furnaces can offer returns of 90% or more. Your fuel bill, a substantial part of your energy expenses, can see significant savings. However, the exact amount varies based on several factors:
  • Window insulation and air leaks
  • Weather conditions
  • Quality of doors and weatherstripping
  • Ductwork condition
  • Cleanliness of filters

High-Efficiency Furnace Choice

If your existing furnace is causing mounting repair bills, and you’re contemplating a replacement, you have options to consider. One crucial distinction is between standard-efficiency and high-efficiency models. These appliances are not small investments; even the most budget-friendly models cost thousands of dollars, while the most advanced options can double that price tag. So, is it worth the significant expenditure?

How Are Furnace Efficiencies Rated?

Furnace efficiency is quantified by a metric called AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), akin to miles per gallon for cars. A higher AFUE percentage indicates greater efficiency. For instance, an 80% AFUE furnace transforms 80% of the fuel’s energy into heat for your home, while the remaining 20% is vented outside. Currently, the Department of Energy mandates a minimum AFUE rating of 80% for gas furnaces, referred to as standard efficiency. These units are non-condensing and typically have fans, electronic ignition, and a metal flue pipe. While 80% efficiency may sound acceptable, older furnaces with pilot lights and natural draft induction can have AFUE ratings as low as 56%, resulting in substantial heat loss.


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    One remarkable advantage of a high-efficiency furnace is the unparalleled comfort it provides. These systems offer precise temperature control, humidity regulation, and improved indoor air quality. Say goodbye to uneven temperatures and hello to lower energy bills.
  • Environmental Benefits: By emitting fewer greenhouse gases, high efficiency furnaces contribute to a greener environment.
  • Enhanced Indoor Comfort: They run longer at lower fan speeds, making them less obtrusive and providing better overall indoor comfort.
  • Extended Lifespan: With proper HVAC maintenance, high efficiency furnaces often outlast traditional ones, offering long-term value.
Gas Vs Oil Furnace​
Gas Vs Oil Furnace​
High Efficiency Natural Gas Furnace​
High Efficiency Natural Gas Furnace​

High Efficiency Furnace AFUE

Furnace efficiency, measured by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), is similar to a car’s MPG rating. An 80% AFUE furnace converts 80% of fuel energy into heat and vents 20% outside. The Department of Energy mandates a minimum 80% AFUE rating for standard gas furnaces. Older furnaces with pilot lights and natural draft induction can be as low as 56% AFUE, leading to significant heat loss.

High Efficiency Furnace Installation Cost

The cost of a high efficiency furnace can vary based on the make and model. On average, it ranges between $6,000 and $10,000, excluding additional ducting costs.

The decision to invest in a high efficiency furnace hinges on your goals. If you aim for lower energy bills, reduced carbon emissions, and long-term savings, the upfront cost is justifiable. 

If you plan to remain in your current home for an extended period. High efficiency furnaces provide continual savings, extended lifespan, and reduced heating costs, along with the satisfaction of reducing the carbon footprint.

What Size Furnace Do I Need​
What Size Furnace Do I Need​

What Size Furnace Do I Need

Selecting the appropriate furnace size involves considering factors like:

  • Home size
  • Occupants and levels
  • Window orientation
  • Installation location
  • Efficiency and comfort needs
  • Type of furnace

For accurate sizing, consulting a professional HVAC consultant is highly recommended.

Furnace Maintenance​
Furnace Maintenance​

Furnace Maintenance

High efficiency furnaces typically last between 15 and 20 years. To ensure optimal performance and longevity, regular maintenance, including annual servicing before the heating season, is crucial.

Here are some important things to do:

  • Filter Replacement: Change the air filter regularly to keep the air flowing smoothly and prevent dust buildup. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for how often to replace it, usually every 1 to 3 months.
  • System Inspections: Occasionally, check your furnace for any damages like cracks or leaks. Make sure all electrical and gas connections are working properly and safe.
  • Cleaning: Keep your furnace clean and clear of dust and debris. Wipe the outside and remove anything that could block the airflow.
Types Of Furnaces​
Types Of Furnaces​

Types Of Furnaces

When exploring fuel options for high efficiency furnaces, it’s important to consider various choices. Here, we’ll delve into the available options, each with its own characteristics.

  • Natural gas is a great option for high-efficiency furnaces. It’s easy to find in many places, and it’s clean and efficient, which helps the environment. Natural gas prices are usually steady, but you need to make sure it’s available where you live.
  • Propane is another good choice for high-efficiency furnaces. It’s easy to store and move around, which is useful if you don’t have natural gas. Propane provides reliable heating.
  • Oil is an older but still effective fuel for high-efficiency furnaces. You’ll need a storage tank and regular deliveries. Oil prices can change, but modern oil furnaces are designed to save fuel. However, they can produce emissions, and in some places, it might be hard to find.

When picking a fuel, think about the environment and emissions. Also, make sure your furnace works with the fuel you choose. This way, you’ll have efficient and eco-friendly heating at home.

HVAC Chicago​
HVAC Chicago​

HVAC Chicago

In conclusion,  investing in a high efficiency furnace can yield significant returns over time, especially if you plan to remain in your home for the long haul. Remember that regular maintenance and professional guidance are essential for maximizing your furnace’s performance and lifespan.

If your current furnace has served you for over a decade or has been causing frequent and expensive repairs, it might be the right time to think about replacing it with a high efficiency furnace.

If you are looking for HVAC Chicago solutions, contact Ecobuild + today. 

Ecobuild + Green Building Contractor will guide customers through every step of the process, aiming to provide them with the ideal products that perfectly fit their project’s requirements.

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