Here in Pittsburgh, the cost to install a furnace ranges from $4,500 to $9,000+, with the average cost being $7,000.
Pretty big price range, right?
Well, there’s such a wide price gap because cost really depends on lots of factors, such as:
- The size of your furnace
- The efficiency of your furnace
- Adding extra comfort features
- Ductwork modifications
- The contractor you hire
Let’s go into more detail about each of these cost factors.
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#1: The size of your furnace
Bigger furnaces are more expensive than smaller ones.
When we talk about furnace “size,” we’re not referring to the physical dimensions of a furnace, but rather its heating capacity.
Heating capacity for furnaces is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). The higher the BTU output of a furnace, the “bigger” it is.
But here’s the thing: You don’t get to choose what size furnace you want. Instead, the tech who installs your furnace will help you calculate what size matches your home.
You see, furnace size depends on factors like:
- The square footage of your home
- Number of windows and doors in your home
- Your home’s insulation levels
- Your furnace’s efficiency
- And much more
A professional will perform a heat load calculation, which takes all of those factors into account and then tells you what size furnace fits your home.
Getting the correct size furnace is important because a furnace that’s too big or too small for your home can raise your energy bills, not heat your home properly or cause extra wear and tear on your furnace.
#2: The efficiency of your furnace
The more efficient the furnace, the more expensive it will be upfront.
However, more efficient furnaces also save you money on your monthly energy bills.
Furnace efficiency is measured by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), which is a rating that shows how efficiently a furnace turns fuel into heat.
The AFUE rating is expressed as a percentage, with most furnaces ranging anywhere from 80% to 98+%. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the furnace.
For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 90% means that for every $100 you spend on natural gas to heat your home, $90 of it is converted to actual heat while the remaining $10 is wasted via combustible gases.
The tech you hire will explain more about furnace efficiency and will help you choose an AFUE rating that matches your budget.
Note: Electric furnaces are technically 100% efficient, but they end up costing a lot more to operate because electricity is a much more expensive fuel source than natural gas.
#3: Adding extra comfort features
When you buy a new furnace, you can opt for special features that will increase your comfort. That said, these comfort features will also raise the cost of the furnace.
Examples of furnace comfort features include:
- Modulating burners (gas models): These burners adjust their flame more precisely than regular single-stage or two-stage burners, which helps maintain a more consistent indoor temperature.
- Variable-speed blower motors: This type of blower motor adjusts its speed based on your heating needs, which eliminates hot and cold spots in your home.
- Insulated blower compartments: This type of compartment reduces the noise your furnace will make while it’s running.
#4: Ductwork modifications
The tech you hire for the installation will also inspect your ductwork to make sure it can support the new furnace.
If your tech finds that your duct system needs some repairs/modifications, that will raise the total cost of the project.
Even though it may cost more upfront to repair or modify your ductwork, in the long run it’s financially in your best interest to have your ductwork in good shape.
You see, broken ducts leak hot air into unconditioned spaces like the attic, which wastes money. (Essentially you’re paying for heat you’re not getting.)
Additionally, leaky ductwork draws dust and insulation into your ducts which can clog your furnace filter and wear down important furnace components, leading to expensive repairs.
#5: The contractor you hire
As a general rule of thumb, experienced contractors charge more for their installation services, but they also do high-quality work.
If you choose a lower-quality, inexperienced contractor who does careless installations, you run the risk of having your furnace break down prematurely or heat your home inefficiently.
To find a high-quality, experienced contractor, make sure they:
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