When is it right to go with a standard efficiency furnace like the 80% A.F.U.E. Goodman GMS8 gas furnace, versus one that is 90% or 95% efficient? This is the type of topic we cover in our HVAC Prices database but we thought this letter from Dale in Greenville, South Carolina was very instructive. Dale writes:
“My wife and I are building a house here in a small subdivision of split-level homes. They aren’t starter houses, but they’re not dream homes either. The house is 1,550 square feet on 3 levels and a crawl space. When I met with the HVAC contractor he took a lot of time measuring within the house and asking me lifestyle questions in order to come up with the right unit. I had selected this contractor on the recommendation of several friends and I soon understood why he was so good.
Based on his analysis, he suggested an 80% efficient/standard efficient gas furnace, and introduced me to the Goodman GMS8 gas furnace. I’d always heard that the higher the efficiency the better, so I was surprised at his suggestion. But his reasoning was sound.
Our climate is mild so we won’t have high heating costs in the winter. To spend even $500 more on a high efficiency unit, to save only $15 per month in utilities, would take more than 30 HEATING months to recoup, or about 10 years.
I work for a large company that moves people around a bit – and while I think I’ll be here for at least 2-4 years the same factor kicks in; I’ll probably never make up the extra cost of a higher efficiency model.
The contractor also mentioned that his company installs 80% efficient units in the majority of the rental properties they service because of their low upfront cost.
When I asked why the Goodman GMS8 gas furnace, I received an equally lucid response:
1. Goodman has a solid reputation for quality and reliability.
2. They are very affordable.
3. The dual-diameter heat exchanger is more efficient and very durable.
4. The electronic control board offers quick and easy self-diagnostic, often eliminating the need for a service call.
5. The 80% efficiency is still higher than many gas furnaces in operation today.
6. The single stage, multi-speed design produces a good balance between affordability and heating performance.
7. The warranty on the Goodman GMS8 gas furnace (limited lifetime on the heat exchanger, 10 years on parts and exchange) is one of the best warranties in the business.
I was sold on this unit and this contractor, but I did check his bid against 2 others in the area. His total was $2,900 ($1,300 for the furnace, $1,600 for installation). The other bids matched the furnace cost while one was $100 lower on the install and one was $300 higher. I learned that installation is generally lower in new construction homes, for obvious reasons. Needless to say I went with the contractor who had walked me through the process and am completely happy with the results.”
If you want customized results like Dale received, we always recommend you work with a qualified contractor who can best assess your needs. He or she will best know how to fit the gas furnace to the size and layout of your home, properly install it, and set it up to run efficiently, quietly and with the greatest longevity.