Old furnace inside a home
An old furnace inside a home is tested for its heat output.

With the first bite of fall chill in the air, it is understandable if you all of a sudden remember that your decrepit old furnace just cannot do the job anymore.

If you find yourself in this position and in need of heating replacement, then there are several key questions you must ask yourself.

The first, inevitably, surrounds cost and affordability. Of course you want to be warm and comfortable all winter long, and you can certainly do that, no matter your budget.

So, just how much does a furnace cost?

The answer is that they run the gamut. Much depends on what type of heating you require.

If you have a gas line in your house, a new furnace ranges anywhere from $2,000-$5,000, depending on efficiency and size.

If your house is all electric, you will need a heat pump/air handler combination unit. Heat pump systems range anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, once again dependent upon efficiency and size.

Let’s look at some more details that will help determine how much does a furnace cost even more specifically.

EFFICIENCY

There’s an acronym to familiarize yourself with: AFUE – annual fuel unit efficiency. The higher the furnace’s AFUE, the higher the initial cost of the unit. However, units with better AFUE will eventually yield a better return on investment, as they utilize less energy to operate, therefore paying you back in lower power bills in the long run.

SIZE

This is where a professional contractor can prove their worth in choosing a furnace that is the perfect size for your home. Furnaces that are too small will obviously struggle to heat an entire house, while those that are too big may reach the desired temperature too quickly – thus shutting down before cranking back up again later. This constant off/on status can wreak havoc on your power bills. If you’re trying to calculate the right size furnace you need to learn about BTUs (British Thermal Units). BTUs are used to measure a furnace’s heat output. The general rule of thumb is that you want 40-45 BTUs of heat per square foot of your home.

So, if your home is 3,000 square feet, you’ll want a furnace that produces between 120,000 BTUs and 135,000 BTUs. The more BTUs, the more expensive the furnace.

INSTALLATION

Finally, cost will also be determined by the contractor you employ to install the furnace, the brand you select, any added features you select (most of which are not even close to necessary during a north Georgia winter), and the location of the furnace (if it is in a difficult spot to reach then installation will necessarily take longer and thus cost more).

When it comes to choosing a contractor, make sure you get a written estimate of the full cost on company letterhead from a technician that comes to your house in person. That way you can avoid any surprise costs or hidden fees. Any professional contractor worth their salt will gladly present these options to you.

Follow these guidelines and you are sure to find the absolute best furnace for your home or business – one that will operate fully and leave you warm and comfortable for many winters to come.