80% AFUE vs. 95% AFUE: Which Is Best for My Kansas City Home?

December 01, 2016

Here’s a question we get a lot: “Is the high initial cost of a high-efficiency furnace really worth the monthly savings it promises me?”

The answer? If you live in Kansas City, yes. If you live in a warmer climate, no.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace is almost always cost-justified in cold climates (especially when you factor in utility rebates and tax incentives).

But how much does a high-efficiency furnace actually save you? There are so many factors, so it’s hard to say. 

But, accounting for a higher upfront cost, a 95% AFUE furnace can save you about $1,157 over its lifetime compared to an 80% AFUE furnace.

Let’s take a closer look at how we came to that conclusion.

Step 1: Compare the upfront costs

First, you’ll need the estimates to install a mid-efficiency furnace (let’s say, 80% AFUE)  and subtract that from the cost to install a high-efficiency furnace. 

Only a contractor can give you these estimates.

However, according to the American Public Gas Association, a high-efficiency furnace typically comes with installation costs that are anywhere from $1,500 to $2,200 higher than mid-efficiency furnaces.

Let’s use the $2,200 number for now.

Step 2: Compare the lifetime operating savings

Now you’ll want to see how much a high-efficiency furnace can save you over its lifetime compared to a mid-efficiency furnace.

To do this, use Lennox’s handy energy savings calculator

Note: This calculator assumes you have a furnace of a particular size. Your actual savings may vary based on your furnace’s size.
 
Since location is the biggest factor that determines how much you’ll save, let’s compare savings from Florida and Kansas.

Florida savings

Source

So, in Florida, you can expect to “save” an accumulated $729 in operating costs if you choose a 95% AFUE rated furnace. 

BUT you’re really losing $1,471 in the long run when you factor in the $2,200 you paid to install the furnace (see step 3).

Kansas savings

Source

In Kansas, you end up with a lifetime operating savings of $3,351.

Step 3: Subtract the upfront cost from the operating savings

Now subtract that difference in upfront cost ($2,200) from the lifetime operating savings of a high-efficiency furnace ($3,357) and you’ll get the net average savings ($1,157). 

Or, simplified: $3,335 - $2,200 = $1,157

Conclusion: Since the net average savings is positive (and by a fair amount) you can see why it’s worth upgrading to a high-efficiency furnace in a cold climate. 

Of course, everyone’s home is different and therefore your savings will be different. A professional HVAC tech can help you determine how much you’ll save if you invest in a high-efficiency furnace.

Need a quote on a high-efficiency furnace? Ask a KS tech

Want numbers that are specific to your home and heating needs? We’re here for you.

Just schedule your appointment today and we’ll send out a tech to give you an installation estimate.


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