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Electric Forced Air Furnace Cost Guide

Installing a new heating and cooling system is a simple way to protect the environment and lower monthly costs. Older heating systems are often more expensive to operate, but newer forced-air heaters can reduce the amount of money that homeowners spend to heat their homes. These heaters can rely on natural gas or electric power, but the electric models are more popular. In addition to looking at the costs of a new heater, homeowners should also think about the advantages and disadvantages of these models.

The Costs

  • Average cost of electric forced air furnace: $500 to $1,000 

What is Forced Air Heating?

Traditional heaters use an internal coil that heats up with the power of electricity, but these heaters usually only increase the temperature of the surrounding area. Forced-air electric heating systems use a heating element as its core. The system uses a thermostat to monitor household temperature and a series of vents and ducts to distribute heated air. When the homeowners adjust the thermostat, they change the operation range.

The system then turns on the heating element and fans. Warm air is circulated throughout the residence through the ducting. The system runs until the thermostat senses temperatures that are within the acceptable range. Many older homes feature large vents on the second floor that let warm air rise from the ground floor.

Advantages of An Electric Forced Air Furnace

Electric forced-air heating systems feature a unique design that is easy to install within an existing central-air system. The design also cleverly allows for the future addition of central air conditioning. Many people prefer this unit over the other options because of how quietly the system runs. Homeowners often find that they don't notice when the system turns on or off.

Forced-air units are also more energy efficient than other heating systems. Because the system works with the thermostat in the home, it will quickly turn on or off based on the needs of the homeowners. Some homeowners also use a smart thermostat, which can learn their behavior and preferences from past settings. It will learn to keep the residence heated at the right time, and save money for the owners.

A few of the more popular systems come with a filtration element that carefully filters out a high percentage of particulate matter. Clean air throughout the house means fewer allergy issues. In addition to those benefits, many homeowners find that they can add one of these new systems to their homes without major duct alteration and associated costs.

Disadvantages of An Electric Forced Air Furnace

Before installing a forced-air electric heater, homeowners should be aware of the potential disadvantages. One of the biggest drawbacks is that these systems require routine maintenance. Though homeowners can hire someone to install it, they must take the time to check and clean the system once every few months. Most systems come with filters that need to be regularly replaced, and homeowners will also need to learn to clean the ducts and vents. Any type of debris left in the vents will be an impediment to proper airflow, and can potentially be a fire hazard.

Other homeowners find that they waste money heating every area of their home. Some systems let users adjust where the heat goes, but many forced-air systems will pump warm air into all areas of the house, which can result in higher electric bills. Homeowners can avoid this problem by installing vents that they can open or close as needed. Forced-air electric heating systems can also be fairly expensive if new ducts and vents must be installed. 

Forced-Air Heating Installation Costs

Buying a forced-air electric furnace only costs around $500 for a basic model. Homeowners can find those models available for sale in most home-improvement stores and department stores. The problem is that most homeowners cannot install those units on their own, and some people aren't sure what size they need. Every unit shows the BTUs that it produces. Buyers can find a range of models that produce anywhere from a few thousand BTUs to more than 60,000 BTUs. The more BTUs that the unit produces, the more space it can heat and the faster the unit will work. Many buyers find it helpful to talk about their purchase with an expert before buying a new furnace.

Labor Costs

Installation of the new furnace will add an extra $400 to $600 to the purchase price. It typically takes less than 10 hours for a contractor to install a new furnace. Most contractors will include removal of the old furnace as part of the quote, but some contractors charge an additional fee. If the home configuration necessitates any extra tools or equipment, it can add $100 or more to the labor cost. Some contractors will also require help carrying the furnaces in and out of the house.

Things to Consider

Some homeowners require a new furnace because they need to replace an old or outdated model, but others use the furnace as part of their energy-efficiency plan. Electric heating is often less expensive than natural gas heating, but if the homeowner decides to switch from gas to electric heating, he or she will typically need to install a completely new system in the home. Adding a new forced-air electric heating system can cost $4,000 for a small house with vents and ducts that are in good condition. If the contractor needs to install new vents or make significant alterations to the structure, the price can increase to $10,000 or more. Homeowners should think of a new furnace as a long-term investment.

Last updated on May 17, 2016

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