Gas Furnace Buying Guide – Reviews, Prices and Tax-credit 2017

Is Gas Furnace The Best Option?

gas-furnace

Before getting to know which type of gas furnace to buy, it is also very important to have a look at other options such as electric furnaces, heat pump, oil furnace and propane furnace. We will have a look at the same and draw a comparison with the gas furnace.

1.Electric Furnaces

When it comes to affordability and initial investment, there is no doubt that electric furnaces are a better option whether it is split or centralized. On the other hand, it is a known fact that the long-term expenses of the gas furnace are much higher. With rising electricity costs, there are many customers who believe that gas furnaces could be a better option. If you plan to move house to another place in the near future, the electric furnace could be a good option for saving your initial cost.

If you are interested in electric furnace, read our previous post for more information: Gas Furnace vs Electric Furnace: 6 Main Factors Comparision

2.Heat Pump

Heat pumps are also great options and it would be naive to ignore it. When it comes to recurring running costs, they are often considered suitable. Though the oil and gas prices are in a slump today, it cannot remain the same till eternity. There is bound to be a firming up of fuel prices and when this happens, there is no doubt that heat pumps would become the cynosure of all eyes. However, a heat pump can only work for mild winter. If you live in the north area and suffer from a long and tough winter, gas furnace performs much better.

3.Oil Furnace & Propane Furnace

If your local oil or propane are convenient to transport and cheap, you can take this option into consideration. We already wrote an article before to talk about Gas Furnace vs. Oil Furnace vs. Propane Furnace. You can read this article to calculate if these two options are proper for you.

4.Gas Furnace

However, it would be wrong to say that gas furnaces are without their own share of problems. As mentioned above, the initial investment is much higher when compared to electric furnaces. Further, the lifespan of gas furnaces could be slightly lower when compares it vis-à-vis electric furnace. Hence at the end of the day, the onus lies on the customers to choose the right one keeping mind specific needs and requirements.

How to Size a Gas Furnace for Your Home

Getting the right size furnace for your home is very important. One that is too small won’t heat sufficiently, will run constantly and will have premature mechanical problems. A furnace that is too large will make more noise than necessary, and in most cases, it will heat past the set point, creating hot spots and significant temperature fluctuations.

Many HVAC contractors simply recommend the “same size as the old one.” There are several reasons that could be a bad idea:

  • Contractors typically put larger-than-needed furnaces in homes “just to be sure they get the job done,” so the old furnace might be too big
  • If the home has been modified with extra insulation and more-efficient doors, windows and weather stripping, the new furnace will need to be smaller
  • If the home has been added to or you want to heat a finished basement or converted garage, the new furnace will probably need to be bigger; large additions require their own furnace
  • If the new furnace is more efficient, and it probably will be if the old furnace was 15+ years old, you’ll need a smaller furnace to deliver the same heating capacity

The first step is to determine how much heat you need in your home. This is called the Load Calculation. There are two ways to determine this.

Furnace sizing estimate: This approach goes by the general rule that you’ll need 30-60 BTU/hour of heat per square foot of house depending on your climate. This climate zone map will help:

  • Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 30-35 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 3 (warm): 35-40 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 4 (moderate): 45 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 5 (cool): 50 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 6 (cold): 55 Btu/sq. ft.
  • Zone 7 (very cold): 60 Btu/sq. ft.

Homes of 2,000 square feet will need differently sized furnaces in each zone:

  • Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 2,000 x 30/35 = a 60,000 to 70,000 Btu furnace
  • Zone 3 (warm): 2,000 x 35/40 = a 70,000 to 80,000 Btu furnace
  • Zone 4 (moderate): 2,000×45= a 90,000 Btu furnace
  • Zone 5 (cool): 2,000×50= a 100,000 Btu furnace
  • Zone 6 (cold): 2,000×55 = a 110,000 Btu furnace
  • Zone 7 (very cold): 2,000×60 = a 120,000 Btu furnace

Manual J load calculation: This is the professional way to get an exact-fit furnace for your home. They were done by hand using the old Manual J for decades. Now, your HVAC contractor will determine the size furnace you need by entering information into a software program including:

  • Your climate zone information
  • Direction the home faces or sits on the lot
  • Exterior landscaping such as shade trees
  • Foundation type
  • Siding types and general home construction details
  • Roof color (light colors reflect heat; black absorbs it)
  • R-values of the insulation in your attic and walls
  • Number of doors and windows and their insulating qualities
  • The homes square footage and number of levels
  • It’s easy to see how a load calculation will yield a more accurate estimation of the size of the furnace required for your home.

Once it is known how many Btu’s are needed to keep your home comfortable in the coldest weather your region gets, you must factor in the furnace’s efficiency to choose the right size. For example, if you need 100,000 Btu’s of heat in the coldest weather, then you must choose a furnace with the capacity and efficiency to get that much heat into your home.

As you read furnace specifications like those for this 93% efficient Armstrong furnace (see page 2) the input Btu’s are the total number of Btu’s the furnace makes. Output Btu’s are the Btu’s that transfer into your home’s ductwork. Here are some estimates using common efficiency levels and Btu input and output. The output is the important number.

  • 80% efficiency x 130,000 Btu input = 104,000 Btu output
  • 90% efficiency x 110,000 Btu input = 99,000 Btu output
  • 93% efficiency x 110,000 Btu input = 102,300 Btu output
  • 95% efficiency x 110,00 Btu input = 104,500 Btu output
  • 98% efficiency x 100,000 Btu input = 98,000 Btu output

Since furnaces in each model are made in increments of 10,000 to 20,000 Btu, getting the number “perfect” is often impossible. An experienced furnace contractor will help you decide which furnace to choose when your calculation falls between two.

What Furnace Efficiency is Right for You?

If you’re committed to heating your home with as little environmental impact as possible, then the most efficient furnace you can afford is the answer.

When you’re looking for the most cost-effective heating, the strategy is to find the balance between furnace cost and energy costs. Let’s use the zone map again to identify efficiency levels for each that strike that balance:

  • Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 80%
  • Zone 3 (warm): 80%
  • Zone 4 (moderate): 90%
  • Zone 5 (cool): 90%-93%
  • Zone 6 (cold): 92%-95%
  • Zone 7 (very cold): 95% and up

The longer you intend to live in your current home, the more it makes sense to choose a high-efficiency furnace. If selling is in the plans, you won’t recover the cost of a very efficient furnace, but keep in mind in cold climates that home buyers might want to know how efficient the furnace is. That will help them estimate what their heating bills will be, and might affect their offer on the home.

4 Factors that Affect Gas Furnace Cost

How much does a gas furnace cost installed? That’s the question we answer in the most comprehensive detail you’ll find anywhere. You’ll soon have a very good idea of what a furnace will cost with the Quality, Performance, Efficiency and Size you want.

The average furnace prices you might find elsewhere are meaningless because they don’t take those important factors consideration. For example, a $1,200 furnace could be a cheap, single-stage 80% furnace with 120,000 Btu capacity, or it could be a quality, two-stage 90% furnace with 60,000 Btu heating.

There are four factors that affect the price of the furnace you choose, and all are important to consider in determining the best furnace for your purposes:

1. Furnace Quality

The most popular brands are generally classified into three quality categories. We’ve put brands made by the same parent company in parenthesis to avoid confusion as you shop brands and get estimates:

  • Budget brands – (lowest cost, 12 to 15-year durability): Examples are Payne, Aire-Flo and Goodman
  • Standard brands – (moderate cost, 15 to 20-year durability): Examples are (Rheem and Ruud), (Heil, Arcoaire, ComfortMaker, Keep Rite and Tempstar), (Armstrong and Ducane), (Luxaire, York and Coleman), (Maytag, Broan, Westinghouse, Tappan, Frigidaire and NuTone), (Daikin and Amana)
  • Premium brands – (highest cost, 20 to 25-year durability): Examples are Lennox, (Carrier and Bryant), (American Standard and Trane)

In most cases, sister brands have identical furnace lineups with different branding. These furnace lists from the Rheem and Ruud sites show that the model designations are the same except for a “U” for Ruud models and an “R” for Rheem furnaces.

2. Furnace Performance

All the brands make furnaces in one or more of these performance categories:

  • Basic performance: Single-stage gas valves and single-speed blowers create louder heating with temperature fluctuations including some unheated air at the start and end of the cycle. They’re made by ALL brands.
  • Better performance: Two-stage gas valves with multi-speed and variable-speed blowers run at low capacity most of the time to produce quieter heating and better temperature balance. Most are made by Standard and Premium brands.
  • Best performance: Variable-capacity gas valves, also called modulating heat, with variable-speed blowers are the quietest furnaces, and they raise or lower the amount of heat they produce in very small increments, like a car on cruise control, with the result that your home’s temperature remains constant. They’re made by Standard and Premium brands

3. Furnace Efficiency

This is a measurement of how much of the heat that is produced is captured and pushed into the ductwork rather than being lost with the vented combustion gases. You’ll see “AFUE” listed after the efficiency percentage. It stands for Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency. In 90% and higher furnaces, performance and efficiency go together because two-stage heating is more efficient than single-stage heating, and variable-capacity heating is more efficient than both.

Your options are:

  • 80% furnaces are available in Basic and Better performance and have a single heat exchanger
  • 90%-96% furnaces are available in Basic and Better performance, and most have secondary heat exchangers to capture heat from the exhaust gases
  • 96.5%-98.7% furnaces offer Best performance and have secondary heat exchangers

When comparing gas furnace prices, knowing the differences in quality and performance allows you to evaluate and choose your best option. For example, a $3,000 single-stage 80% Payne furnace might last 12-15 years and be ideal in a warm climate or a home you plan to sell in five years. On the other hand, a $6,000 modulating 98% Lennox furnace will last 20+ years and be a good fit if you live in a Northern climate and plan to live in your home indefinitely.

4. Furnace Size

Every model of furnace is made in different sizes to provide the proper amount of heat for the space it serves. Most models are available in sizes from about 40,000 Btu to about 120,000 Btu in increments of 10,000 to 20,000 Btu.

Gas Furnace Reviews for Brands

brands

There are more than 50 companies that sell gas furnaces in addition to other HVAC equipment. Choosing from all these brands can truly be a challenge. To narrow down your choices, we classify the brands by parent companies. Each line below is from the same company:

  • Carrier, Bryant, Payne and Tempstar
  • Lennox, Ducane and Armstrong
  • Rheem and Ruud
  • Goodman, Amana and Janitrol
  • York, Coleman and Luxaire
  • Maytag, Westinghouse, Frigidaire and Kelvinator
  • Trane and American Standard
  • Maytag, Frigidaire and Tappan

Warning:Before you dive into brands reviews, we strongly recommend you spend 70% of your research time on finding a qualified contractor. Gas furnace is not a traditional appliance and most brands are reliable.

1. Carrier series

2. Goodman

3. Trane series

4. York series

5. Lennox series

6. Rheem series

Gas Furnace Prices By Leading Brands

Given that there are many parameters (like size, efficiency ratings, heater stages) for gas furnace. We need to set am equal baseline before we can list and compare the prices for each brand. In this list below, each gas furnace includes the same and common parameters: PSC blower, One-Stage 92% AFUE, 70,000-75,000 btu which is mid-sized home of around 2,000 square feet, 10-year warranty exclude labor fee.
The Unit Only price is the online wholesale price without shipping fee. The Unit Installation Cost include gas furnace unit, all the material for the house and labor fee.

Brands
Unit Only
Unit Installed Cost
Amana $1,000
$2,800
American Standard $1,545
$3,200
Armstrong $850
$2,470
Bryant $990
$2,650
Carrier $1,250 $3,150
Coleman $800 $2,370
Day and Night $850 $2,150
Ducane $1,660 $2,590
Frigidaire $860 $1,990
Goodman $720 $1,930
Heil $850 $2,350
Janitrol $850 $2,200
Lennox $1,480 $3,950
Nordyne $985 $2,450
Maytag $885 $2,170
Payne $685 $1,750
Rheem $1,110 $2,950
Ruud $1,100 $2,950
Tempstar $1,580 $4,950
Trane $1,300 $3,650
York $780 $2,050
Average $1,120 $2,450

 

Gas Furnace Installation Cost and Extras

How much does it cost to install a gas furnace? The answer depends on the variables that affect installation cost. Let’s explore basic installation and the cost of extras you might need:

Basic gas furnace installation:

This is removing the old furnace and installing the new furnace using the same plenum and exhaust vent. The more advanced the furnace, the longer it takes to install and set up properly, so the higher the cost is:

$1,050-$1,625 | Budget furnace installation cost

$1,175-$1,725 |Standard furnace installation cost

$1,350-$1,975 |Premium furnace installation cost

Sheet metal connections:

When the new furnace is a different physical size than the old one, a new plenum to connect it to the ductwork must be made. New connections for the cold-air return and exhaust might be required too.
$150-$275 | Fabrication and installation of a new plenum

$200-$325 | Fabrication and installation of cold-air return connection and exhaust vent

New Ductwork:

In most installations, the ductwork other than the plenum and connections will work. However, if you’re installing a furnace in new construction, then ductwork will have to be installed.

$8-$13.50 | Ductwork and grates per linear foot

Repairing Ductwork:

Leaky ductwork wastes heat and money. It makes noise, and prevents heat from getting to some rooms. If your ductwork is more than 12-15 years old, it should be inspected by an HVAC contractor to determine if it needs repair.

$2-$4 | Repair per linear foot of exposed ductwork

Inspection:

You will have to pull a permit from your local building department to have the new furnace inspected for safe, proper installation. Some utility companies offer them for free, or you might have to pay for one.
$0-$125 | New furnace inspection

Thermostat:

You will need to replace your thermostat if your new furnace has performance features like two-stage heating or continuous low-speed fan that are not supported by the old thermostat or if you’re adding a central AC. Many homeowners also upgrade their thermostat to a programmable model that Energy Star says cuts the average heating and cooling costs by 10% or a Wi-Fi thermostat like Nest that allows them to monitor and control their HVAC system with a smartphone and app. Most brands make programmable thermostats including Wi-Fi models, so one can be included in the estimates you receive.

$12-$100 | Non-programmable thermostat

$15-$124 | Basic programmable thermostat

$135-$375 | Wi-Fi programmable thermostat

Submitted Gas Furnace Prices and Reviews

Price
Brand & Model & Size
Home Location
Home Size
$5,300 York TM9V Little Egg Harbor, NJ 1900sqft
My first furnace came with the house. As a result, when it started getting noisy and blowing cold air, barely one year after I moved in. I did not want to sink my money into something I knew little about. Consequently, after some research, I settled on buying the York TM9V. Its 96 percent efficiency rating meant that the upfront installation cost and purchase were a bit high. However, I expect to make great savings from the high efficiency of this furnace. It has been two great years with this furnace and it has no problems at all. I expect it to stay this way for at least another twenty years.
$6,500 Bryant Evolution Plus 90i Augusta, ME 2000sqft
A reputable company in my town installed the furnace; something I attribute to its reliability four years after installation. The warranty terms were quite favorable, so I decided to take a full ten-year warranty. This has greatly contributed to the low running and maintenance costs. Except for a few issues, last year, which was covered by the warranty. The system has been running quite smoothly.
$4,200 American Standard Freedom 90 Duluth, MN 1200sqft
This furnace has worked quite well for my three-bedroom house in Duluth. Even in the middle of winter. I have seen a forty percent drop in my average gas bills since the system became operational. I have been using the furnace for seven years now. During that time, I have only had one crucial service call to replace the gas inlet valve. Thanks to my warranty, regular change of air filters have ensured the system continues to run efficiently.
$3,950 Lennox Elite Colorado Springs, CO 1460sqft
This unit was actually installed by my aunt. On the winter of 2012, when she installed it. Despite the house, being old and poorly insulated. This powerful furnace still managed to keep the house warm enough. My only regret is that I live so far away. As a result, I will not be able to carry the furnace with me.
$3,200 Goodman GMNT Cleveland, OH 2800sqft
This system has really changed our lives. Before this, we had an old, inefficient furnace that required a lot of banging in order to run. In addition, we had to use kerosene heaters so we did not freeze to death. Two years ago, we decided we had had enough. After careful research, we settled on the Goodman. It is rated 3.5 ton, 13 seer. The system came with a ten-year warranty, which has kept maintenance costs low.
$3,990 Trane Ashland, WI 1800sqft
I moved into the house in the year 2009. I learned that the Trane furnace had been in operation for about ten years. Since then, the furnace has continued to give me reliable room heating. In fact, the only service I have had to give it has been regularly replacing the air filters. I would definitely buy a Trane again, if this system does ever need replacing.
$3,100 York Affinity Brigantine, NJ 2200sqft
After a few run-ins with bad contractor. We finally landed a contractor that is willing to do the job well. He installed the system in just one day. Four years later, the furnace is still warming up pour house nicely. I would definitely recommend a York to anyone seeking to install a furnace. They are reliable and unlikely to break down in the middle of winter.
$2,900 Amana Chicago, IL 2300sqft
Since the year 2000 when I installed this furnace. It Hs not required any parts replacement. I appreciate the great build of these furnaces by Amana. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a furnace installed. If I ever need to change my furnace, I will definitely be installing an Amana.
$3,500 Carrier Coffeyville, KS 1900sqft
The furnace came as part of the house when I purchased the property ten years ago. Except for one incidence, which was entirely my fault, the system has continued to run smoothly. During that time, I had forgotten to do a regular change of the air filters. I estimate that the furnace could continue to offer reliable service for at least another ten years. Overall, the system is a very effective and helpful product to a client.

How to Get the Best Gas Furnace Prices?

We recommend professional installation. A gas furnace must be installed properly to prevent dangers (explosion from the gas leak, poisoning by carbon monoxide) and to run efficiently and durably. There’s too much at stake not to do it properly.

  • Firstly, keep in mind that installation quality is always the most important thing for residential HVAC project. So never sacrifice contractor quality for lower price.
  • Secondly, remember to look up the latest tax credit and rebates.
  • Thirdly, ask for at least 3 bids before you make the decision. You can click here to get 3 free estimates for you local contractor, and this estimate already takes rebates and tax credit into consideration and filter unqualified contractors automatically.

At last, once you chose the right contractor, remember to use the tactics from this guide: Homeowners Tactics When Negotiating with HVAC Dealer to get the final best price.

That wraps up the Gas Furnace Buying Guide with tips for choosing the right furnace for your purposes. Feel free to join the conversation with a question, reply or submittal of furnace prices you’ve paid recently. Please share with friends, if you think this information will help them select a furnace for their home!

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