• Cost Advantage of a 98% AFUE Gas Furnace Over a 90% AFUE Model

    Is paying more for a 98% furnace a cost-effective choice? The relative costs of the furnace and how cold your climate is will go a long way toward answering the question.

    Determining the Cost of Heating Your Home

    Most energy use pie charts allot about 45 percent during winter months to heating. That’s average. In cold climates, the percentage might be as high as 55 percent; in warm climates, it could be as low as 15 percent.

    Locate the AFUE of your current furnace, and determine how much energy you’ll save with 90% and 98% models. You’ll always save 8 percent more with a 98% AFUE furnace.

    Let’s say your gas bill is $150 in the winter, you live in an “average” climate and your current furnace is a 70% AFUE model.

    • $150 x .45 (45% of home’s energy use) = $67.50 for heating with a 70% furnace
    • 70% divided by 90% x $67.50 = $52.50 for heating with a 90% AFUE furnace
    • 70% divided by 98% x $67.50 = 48.20 for heating with a 98% AFUE furnace

    In this example, the homeowner saves $4.30 per month with a 98% furnace vs. a 90% furnace.

    In colder climates and in larger homes, the savings might be $12 to $15 per month or more.

    In warmer climates, the savings could be pennies or a few dollars per month.

    Gas Furnace Prices

    This is the next important factor. How much extra you’ll pay for the more efficient furnace will determine how long it will take you to recover that money.

    Here are average prices for gas furnaces at these efficiency levels. For exact prices, and to find the qualified contractor with the lowest prices, get at least three written estimates.

    You can do that conveniently using the form on this page. You’ll receive three written estimates from local, pre-screened contractors who know that they are competing for the work. There is NO cost or obligation for using the service. The costs below are based on 100,000 BTU furnaces.

    • 90% AFUE Single-stage gas furnace: +/- $1,000
    • 90% AFUE Two-stage gas furnace: +/- $1,350
    • 98% AFUE Modulating gas furnace: +/- $2,000

    Conclusions

    How many months will it take you to pay yourself back for the more expensive furnace? Most homeowners look at 6 to 8 years as a break-even point they’re comfortable with. If they’ll be paid back in that time or sooner, they buy the more efficient furnace. It will be worth it over the life of the furnace, and it’s a hedge against higher gas prices in the future.

    If the payback time is longer, or if they plan to move in a few years, choosing the less efficient model is considered a more cost-effective choice.

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