Is A High Efficiency Furnace Worth The Investment?

In certain situations investing in a high efficiency furnace is going to be a no brainer. Take a look at this scenario, and if you can relate, seriously consider upgrading, as this is a worst case scenario.

  1. What fuel source do you currently use to heat your house? If you’re using oil, you’re likely going to save a lot of money by upgrading.
  2. Do you have natural gas in the house? Your new efficient furnace is going to run on natural gas. If you already use gas for your stove or dryer you’ve taken another step in the right direction.
  3. How old is your current furnace? If you’re using an older oil burner to heat the house, you’re likely using a lot of oil to create that heat.

If you are currently using oil, have access to natural gas, and operating an inefficient oil burning furnace to heat your home, then you’re going to save a ton of money by investing in a new high efficiency gas furnace.

Now, just because you don’t meet all three requirements doesn’t mean that the investment won’t be worth the price. It just means that it will take longer for you to make your money back.

How Long Will It Take To Recoup The Investment?

How long it takes to make your money back depends on how much you’re spending on fuel now and how efficient of a new furnace you purchase.

The most popular method of measuring a furnace’s efficiency is by using AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). The United Stated Department of Energy has a very nice chart to help you calculate your yearly energy savings based upon the AFUE of the furnace you’re considering buying.

Scroll about two thirds down this page to see the chart.

Let’s Do A Quick Example

Let’s run through a quick example using an AFUE rating of 80%, the standard that all non-weatherized gas furnaces will have to live up to by 2015. Let’s assume that your current oil fired boiler has an AFUE of 60%, that’s very generous if you have a very old furnace.

According to the chart, you’ll save 25% off of your current energy consumption use. If you’re spending $5,000 every year on oil, you’re going to spend $1,250 less annually. Installing your new furnace, parts and labor will cost you about $7,000 (rough estimate) for a 1,400 square foot house.

In just about five and one half years, you’re going to make your money back. Your new high efficiency furnace has now paid for itself and you literally make a profit of $1,250 every year on your investment.

If possible, get the AFUE of your current furnace by checking the labels on it. Get two quotes from every contractor that you meet with. Get one quote for the installation of an 80% efficient furnace and one for a more expensive but more efficient model.

Run the numbers and decide how long you’re willing to wait for your investment to pay for itself versus how much money you’ll save year over year. It’s a delicate balance, but if money is tight you won’t lose by going with the minimum AFUE rating of 80%.

This guest post was written by Lucas Jenkins from Affordable Home Remodeling Ideas. You can get more ideas about budget home remodeling such as drop ceiling tiles and armstrong ceiling tiles at his website.