Furnace Installation Cost Guide
Whether you're building a new home and need a heating system installed or you have to replace a dead furnace, the installation of new heating equipment will be a costly proposition. A home's HVAC system is the costliest mechanical system within the household, but with diligent research around new furnace costs, you can keep your furnace price down.
If you need help along the way, ImproveNet can connect you with up to four HVAC contractors ready to take on your furnace project!
National Install a Furnace Costs
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Table of Contents
- New Furnace Costs
- Furnace Installation Cost Factors
- Furnace Replacement
- Best Furnace Brands
- Furnace Equipment
- When To Buy A New Furnace
- Furnace Troubleshooting
- Furnace Maintenance
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- Find A Pro
New Furnace Costs
A new furnace cost roughly $3,800 and most homeowners pay between $3,250 and $4,420 to install a new furnace. The lowest price that a homeowner might pay is $1,500, while the maximum price a homeowner has reported paying for a furnace replacement or installation was $8,000.
Nonetheless, the actual furnace price will depend on a myriad of factors, most importantly, the type of furnace you go with.
Electric Furnace Prices
If you want to keep costs down and live in a relatively warm climate, a forced air electric furnace is the way to go. A new electric furnace starts at $395, but more often than not, without labor, a new furnace will cost roughly $700.
Electric furnaces are smaller compared to gas or oil and require less maintenance. However, the drawback is that electric furnaces are not as efficient as its competitors and ongoing costs can get high. You can expect your electric bill to rise when you install a new electric furnace.
Gas Furnace Prices
If you live in the Midwest or on the East Coast, you most likely have a forced air gas furnace. They can handle the worst of winters and are much more efficient than electric furnaces. Of course, that extra power comes with a cost. A new gas furnace starts at $700, but more often than not, without labor, a new furnace will cost roughly $1,200.
While gas furnaces will certainly keep your utility bills down, the gas furnace cost rises dramatically if you need to install gas lines. This won’t matter if you’re replacing an existing gas furnace, but if not, expect the installation price to increase due to the addition of new ductwork.
Note: While most homeowners install natural gas furnaces, you also have the option of using propane.
Oil Furnace Prices
Oil furnaces are certainly not as popular as they once were, but they’re still a valuable heating system in certain areas of the country. Oil furnaces let you purchase your heating source all at once versus paying monthly bills. If, for some reason, you have easy access to a lot of oil, an oil furnace may be the way to go.
A new oil furnace starts at $1,300, but more often than not, without labor, a new furnace will cost roughly $1,800.
Furnace Installation Cost Factors
Beyond the type of furnace you install, there are other factors that can increase or decrease your new furnace price. Some, such as features and brand, you can control. Other factors, like house size and labor, you can’t. Nonetheless, it helps knowing what factors can affect the cost of a new furnace.
The size factor works in two ways; the size of your furnace and the size of your house. The bigger the furnace, the more expensive your furnace installation cost will be. However, that does not mean you can go out and buy the smallest furnace there is. If your new furnace is too small, there won’t be enough heat flowing throughout the home.
Likewise, you shouldn’t buy the biggest furnace either. If you do, the furnace will overwork, short-cycle and rapidly increase your utility bills.
Furnace efficiency is measured by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). It measures how much energy is converted into heat. The higher the AFUE value, the more efficient the furnace is. For example, a furnace with an AFUE of 60 converts 60% of the fuel to heat and loses 40% in the combustion process.
As time goes on, more and more efficient models are coming out. In fact, you can even purchase a high-efficiency gas furnace where the AFUE rating is at least 90%. Of course, high-efficiency models cost more than lower-efficient models.
Beside efficiency and size, there are plenty of brands out there ready to sell you your next furnace. Some brands are more prominent than others and as such, cost more than the average. On the other end of the spectrum, there are inexpensive brands as well. Just bear in mind, the cheaper it is, the higher your furnace maintenance and repair costs will be.
Inexpensive Furnace Brands
More Expensive Furnace Brands
- American Standard
We already touched on this earlier, but if your home does not have existing ductwork, your furnace installation cost will rapidly rise. The $3,800 furnace price above assumes ductwork is in place. If not, expect an additional $1,000.
More often than not, homeowners hire HVAC pros to install or replace a new furnace. However, not all pros cost the same. A furnace pro who has been in the business for 20 years will charge more than a contractor just starting out. More experience generally means more expertise, which, costs more.
When it comes to labor, we always recommend you gather at least three or four HVAC quotes from local furnace companies. This way, you can compare prices, personalities and past work.
Just like a new car, there are certain features we need and certain features we would like. Well, your new furnace cost will increase or decrease after you decide which features in the latter you decide to add.
Whether it’s a programmable thermostat, variable-speed blowers or zoned heating, if you want to keep installation costs down, try to limit those nice-to-have furnace features.
More often than not, furnace replacement will cost less than installing a new furnace in a new home. Since most homeowners fall into the former category, it helps knowing what furnace replacement entails. Below are some of the basic steps, but if you want to hear exactly what is required, please connect with a local HVAC pro.
- Replace ductwork (if necessary)
- Get permits (if necessary)
- Inspect new equipment
- Remove old furnace
- Inspect ductwork
- Install new furnace
Best Furnace Brands
There are hundreds of furnace brands out there ready to sell you your next furnace. However, like any business, there are certain brands that stand out. Whether it’s their terrific product, great prices or spectacular customer services, the following furnace brands stand out among the rest:
- American Standard
Fore a thorough comparison, please see Top Ten Reviews.
Not all furnaces were created equal, but many have similar parts. You won’t be quizzed on this later, but it helps knowing the parts that come with most furnaces:
- Shut-Off Valve: As the name implies, the shut-off valve stops the flow of gas into the home. In case of emergency, turn the shut-off valve into the off position.
- Pilot Light: This ignites the burner.
- Blower: This is the fan that blows warm air throughout the home. Make sure nothing is blocking the blower.
- Burners: The burners house the hot gas before it’s released throughout the home.
- Heat Exchanger: Where the heat travels through to get to the ducts.
- Ducts: Once the heat makes its way through the exchanger, it enters the ducts, the final spot before it’s released into the home.
When To Buy A New Furnace
When your furnace stops producing heat, it’s time to replace it. However, there are other, more subtle signs that should tell it you it’s time to replace your furnace:
- Your Furnace is Old: The average life expectancy of a furnace is 18 years, but, if your furnace is over 15 years old, you may want to consider a new furnace.
- Your Heating Bill Increased: Compare your heating bill to the same month last year. If the weather stayed relatively the same, your bill shouldn’t be too far off. If it is, your furnace may not be as efficient as it once was.
- You Repaired Your Furnace Multiple Times: Eventually, it makes economical sense to buy new versus repairing an old model.
- Your Thermostat Settings are Not Normal: More often than not, setting your thermostat to 75 degrees Fahrenheit should accurately heat the home. If your number has changed over the years, it’s time to replace your furnace, get new windows or add more insulation.
- Your Furnace Makes Strange Noises: The furnace and ductwork should not be loud. If it is, find the source and then contact a heating pro.
While the signs above generally indicate that you need a new furnace, there are troubleshooting tips all homeowners should try before jumping to a replacement.
Gas Furnace Troubleshooting
First, check the emergency switch and make sure it’s on. Then, see if the breaker tripped. If so, you just saved hundreds of dollars. If not, check the pilot light and make sure it’s still lit. If it is, go outside and check the exterior pipes. Make sure there is nothing blocking them.
For more guidance, please see gas furnace troubleshooting.
Electric Furnace Troubleshooting
First and foremost, make sure no cords are unplugged. Then, see if the breaker tripped. Then, go to the thermostat and make sure it’s still working. Replace the battery if need be. If all is working, try resetting the entire system.
If your furnace is short-cycling, it might be time to change the furnace filter. More often than not, this cures the issue. If these and other electric furnace troubleshooting tips do not work, it’s time to call a pro.
Oil Furnace Troubleshooting
First, copy the same steps for a gas furnace above (switch and breaker). Then, check the red button on the protector relay. Press it only once. If that doesn’t work, clean the air and oil filters. Then, try cleaning the blower and motor. Finally, try resetting the thermostat.
For more details, please see Oil Furnace Troubleshooting.
Of course, rather than attack a problem once it occurs, it’s better to take a proactive approach. Regular furnace maintenance can bolster its efficiency and lifespan. Fortunately, there are a few furnace tasks you can do without a HVAC pro. We highly recommend you try all before calling in a contractor:
Change the Furnace Filter
This is by far the most important maintenance tip. In the winter, you should replace your furnace filter every 30 to 45 days. During the other seasons, every 2-3 months is OK. However, before you do so, it helps to have a few pointers.
Clean the Blower
Dust and debris can make its way through the filter and onto the blower. Before you change your filter, take a second and clean the blower with a damp cloth. Make sure you wipe down the belt and pulleys too.
Check the Thermostat
There is a chance your thermostat is broken or the batteries died. If so, you lucked out, as this is much cheaper than repairing or replacing your furnace. A telltale sign of this is if your home is no longer warm at a temperature that used to heat the home.
Vent & Fan Inspection
If you can get to them, you should try to inspect and clean the vents and fans. If any are dirty, clean them. It’s very possible that dust and debris are causing a blockage. Try to clear and reset the system.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
When it comes to replacing or installing a brand new furnace, homeowners need to hire the pros. There are many moving parts and unlike installing new flooring or new cabinets, furnace installation can be quite dangerous. In fact, whenever you’re working with gas or electrical, you must be very careful. The consequences can be severe. That’s why most homeowners hire HVAC professionals for major furnace projects.
Find A Pro
As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts to furnace installation that drastically affect your furnace cost. In the end, to get the most accurate quote, you should contact three or four furnace professionals. Once they all submit bids, compare all four, but don’t automatically jump to the lowest bidder. Oftentimes, a lower price comes with lower quality.
Last updated on Feb 10, 2017
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