Comfortmaker and Tempstar Gas Furnace Reviews and Prices 2018

This is a Comfortmaker and Tempstar furnaces review. Furnace prices, features, and models are discussed. We’ll also help you choose the right furnace for your climate and find an experienced installer in your area.

The 10 models from each are identical expect for the name.

Tempstar and Comfortmaker Furnace Features

These brands have features quite similar to most.

Staged Heating

Your options are:

  • Single-stage furnaces run at 100% capacity. They are inexpensive, but might slightly overheat the thermostat set point. Those with fixed (single-speed) blower motors are louder. Furnaces with 80% and 90%-plus efficiency ratings are produced.
  • Two-stage furnaces run on 65% (low fire) to maintain even heating and on 100% (high fire) when a quick boost in heating is desired. Low fire is quieter, and most of these furnaces have a multispeed or variable-speed blower, which are quieter than a fixed-speed blower. Two-stage furnaces are mid-range in cost and available in 80% and 90%-plus furnaces. You might also check what’s the difference between single-stage and two-stage furnaces.
  • Variable-speed or modulating furnaces heat from 40% to 100% capacity based on the heat needed to keep your home’s temperature exactly where you want it. They cost the most and are the highest in efficiency.

Furnace Sizes

Some models are available in sizes as small as 26,000 BTU while others start at 66K. This means that if your home requires a very small or very large furnace, your model options are limited.

Here they are in BTU ranges:

  • 26K to 120K: F9MXE/G9MXE, N9MSE
  • 40K to 120K: F9MVE/G9MVE, F9MXT/G9MXT, N9MSB
  • 44K to 132K, F8MTL/G8MTL, N8MXL
  • 44K to 154K: N8MSN
  • 60K to 120K: F9MAE/G9MAE
  • 66K to 132K: F8MVL

Furnace sizes increase by 20K or 22K BTU. For example, the F9MVE/G9MVE furnaces are available in 40/60/80/100/120K models. The N8MSN is available in 44, 66, 88, 110, 132 and 154K models.

Communicating Technology

The Observer System is the communicating technology for the brands. It is available as an option on G9MAE/F9MAE, G9MVE/F9MVE, and G8MVL/F8MVL. A communicating thermostat is required that not only sends commands to the furnace and air conditioner but receives data from those components. The result, ideally at least, is fine-tuned heating and air conditioning for better temperature and humidity control. The downside is that the systems sometimes stop communicating, and when that happens, it might not run at all. The Observer thermostat costs about $400 compared with $30 to $75 for many full-function, programmable thermostats.

There’s a lot more detail about this HVAC technology in our Guide to Communicating vs. Non-communicating Systems. It explains why we do not recommend communicating technology at this time. There are still problems to be solved, though the industry is working on them.

Dual Fuel Models

All Tempstar and Comfortmaker furnaces can be used in a system that also employs a heat pump.

Designed for cold climates, dual fuel systems only use the furnace when temperatures are below freezing, a range in which most heat pumps can’t produce sufficient heat.

A dual fuel system costs $400 to $800 more than a furnace and AC split system. However, the energy costs for heat pumps are 30% to 60% less than for furnaces, so the investment pays for itself pretty quickly.

Full Furnace Replacement Warranties

With most furnace warranties, if the heat exchanger fails while the furnace is under warranty, the heat exchanger will be replaced. ICP brands including these two offer complete furnace replacement on some models if the heat exchanger fails within 1, 5 or 10 years depending on the model. Comfortmaker and Tempstar call this period the No Hassle period. The No Hassle warranty is separate from the standard Lifetime or 20-year heat exchanger warranty each furnace has.

Here’s why the No Hassle warranty is important: Furnace warranties don’t cover the labor cost to replace the part.

Secondly, for many furnaces, the labor cost of replacing the heat exchanger is close to or more than the cost of a new furnace. This is because the heat exchanger is at the very core of the unit, so the furnace must be disassembled and reassembled.

In short, when the heat exchanger cracks, the furnace is finished. It is rare to replace one. With a No Hassle warranty, at least you’ll get a new furnace. However, you will have to pay the installation labor cost.

ICP warranties are among the best available. They are comparable to those from Amana and Goodman, as you can see in this Amana vs. Goodman guide.

Model Analysis and Recommendations

This table summarizes the furnaces from both brands by model numbers, efficiency, heating stages and warranties. We prepare tables like this for all our brand furnace reviews, so comparing models and brands is quick and easy.

ComfortmakerTempstarAFUE %Stages of heatBlower speedWarrantyNo Hassle
G9MAEF9MAE98VariableVariableLifetime/1010 years
G9MVEF9MVE96.52-stageVariableLifetime/1010 years
G8MVLF8MVL802-stageVariableLifetime/1010 years
G8MTLF8MTL802-stageFixed20/101 year
G9MXTF9MXT96.22-stageMultispeedLifetime/105 years
G9MXEF9MXE96.2Single-stageMultispeedLifetime/101 year
N9MSEN9MSE95Single-stageFixed20/10
N9MSBN9MSB92Single-stageFixed20/10
N8MXLN8MXL80Single-stageMultispeed20/10

*Note: The first entry of  Warranty is the heat exchanger warranty; The second is the general parts warranty.

Each brand divides its furnaces into three series in basic/better/best manner. It’s an artificial distinction, but is designed to help consumers understand the quality and performance of the furnaces.

  • Comfortmaker Softsound Deluxe = Tempstar Deluxe: 4 High-performance furnaces.
  • Comfortmaker Softsound = Tempstar QuietComfort: 2 Mid-level, popular furnaces.
  • Comfortmaker Performance = Tempstar Performance: 4 Basic, affordable furnaces.

Confusing, perhaps, but simply a way for the brands to distinguish themselves.

If you enjoy digging deep into furnace specifications and features, that can be done on their individual Comfortmaker and Tempstar product pages.

Choosing a Furnace for Your Climate

What Climate Zone do you live in? The table below will help you choose a cost-effective furnace for your climate. The key is to balance how much your furnace will be used with its cost and efficiency.

ZoneSuggested AFUECost-effective models
1 & 2 (Hot)0.8G8MVL, G8MTL
3 (Warm)0.8N8MXL, N8MSN
4 (Moderate)0.92N9MSB
5 (Cool)92% or 95%N9MSB, N9MSE
6 (Cold)95% or 96%N9MSE, G9MXE, G9MXT, G9MVE
7 (Very cold)96% or 98%G9MXE, G9MXT, G9MVE, G9MAE

An 80% efficient furnace will produce too-high heating bills in Duluth. A 98% furnace costs so much that it will never pay for itself through lower heating bills in Phoenix.

Would you like to see how much money you can save based on where you live and the furnace efficiency you choose? We’ve designed our AFU Savings Calculator for that purpose. It is simple to use, and you’ll have results in seconds.

Tempstar and Comfortmaker Prices by Model

As noted, each furnace is manufactured in a range of sizes. For comparison purposes, we’re pricing furnaces with either 80K or 88K BTU capacity.

ComfortmakerTempstarFurnace OnlyInstalled CostAFUE %
G9MAEF9MAE2150390098
G9MVEF9MVE1720349596.5
G8MVLF8MVL1450332580
G8MTLF8MTL1335308580
G9MXTF9MXT1595334596.2
G9MXEF9MXE1470323096.2
N9MSEN9MSE1250300095
N9MSBN9MSB1185293592
N8MXLN8MXL1025277580
N8MSNN8MSN980273080

Comfortmaker vs. Tempstar vs. Carrier Furnaces

There is some confusion about these brands, their relationship to Carrier and to even more brands.

Let’s sort out the branding, and it begins with a huge company called United Technologies Corporation, or UTC.

  • UTC owns Carrier and Bryant Those two brands make very similar furnace lineups.
  • International Comfort Products (ICP) makes Comfortmaker and Tempstar. It also makes Heil, Keeprite, Arcoaire and Day & Night.
  • ICP is owned by UTC. All ICP brands are identical, and most models overlap with Carrier/Bryant furnaces. This will be clear as you compare the information here to our Carrier Gas Furnace Buying Guide.
  • Only Heil is sold nationally. The others are sold regionally.

Cost is the Difference: The same furnaces sell for different prices, depending on the brand.

Carrier is priced as a premium ($$-$$$$) brand while Comfortmaker and Tempstar and other ICP brands are priced as affordable ($-$$$) furnaces. This is how Carrier covers all price ranges. Some consumers want an affordable furnace and “won’t pay for an over-priced Carrier.” Others won’t “settle for less than a Carrier.”

That approach allows Carrier to sell more furnaces, though profit is lower on Comfortmaker and Tempstar.

The Bottom Line: The takeaway is that if you prefer Carrier (or Bryant) to Trane, Lennox or another major brand, be sure to get an estimate for an ICP brand. You might get the same furnace and save $300 to $1,000 or more.

If you can’t find a Comfortmaker or Tempstar dealer in your area, Heil and the other ICP dealers will have the same or nearly the same models.

How to Find an Experienced Furnace Installer

The quality of the installation is just as important as the brand. Taking the time to find a qualified furnace company with a proven track record is essential. There are two approaches.

Two-plus weeks: Ask friends and family for recommendations and/or check online reviews of heating and air conditioning companies in your area. Reviews can be found on Google, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau.

Select 3 or 4 companies to contact. When you talk with a representative, learn about the company’s history, the qualifications of the installers and whether the company is licensed and insured.

Get written estimates from each, and compare them for the cost. Select a contractor with a fair price and a good reputation for excellent work.

A few days: Not everyone has weeks or wants to go through that hassle to find a furnace installer. We can streamline it and get written estimates to you very quickly from some of the top furnace companies in your area. The contractors in the service are pre-screened, licensed, insured and experienced.

To get started on quick, convenient written estimates, click a Free Local Quote tab or try our Free Local HVAC Estimate tool, a PickHVAC exclusive. There is no cost or obligation for using these tools.

Get the Best Price on a Comfortmaker or Tempstar Furnace

The goal for most homeowners is to get proper installation at a fair price. We recommend only getting estimates from experienced installers in your area.

Our guide called Homeowner Tactic when Negotiating with HVAC Dealers has helpful tips for getting a fair deal.

Have you had a Tempstar or Comfortmaker furnace installed? Let other readers about it by sharing the furnace model, size and cost. If it was part of a complete system, let us know that too.

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