Long story short: Yes, it’s worth it if you’re willing to wait for the high-efficiency furnace to pay itself back.
But how long does it take for a high efficiency option to pay itself back?
Here’s a simple method:
- Learn the extra upfront cost of the high-efficiency furnace
- Determine annual savings of the high-efficiency furnace
- Determine the payback period
Let’s go into more detail about each step.
Step 1: Learn the extra upfront cost of a high-efficiency furnace
First, get installation estimates for both:
- Mid-efficiency furnace (80% AFUE)
- High-efficiency furnace (90%+ AFUE)
A high-efficiency furnace not only costs more than a mid-efficiency furnace, but the installation cost is also higher because a new PVC flue pipe needs to be installed.
Let’s assume that the high-efficiency furnace (with installation) costs $1000 more than the mid-efficiency furnace (with installation).
Step 2: Determine annual savings of the high efficiency option
Compare how much you’ll save with a high-efficiency furnace compared to a mid-efficiency furnace each year.
Here’s where things can get very “math-y.”
So, to save you the trouble, ask for annual saving estimates for each furnace from a contractor while they’re giving you installation estimates.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume, that a high-efficiency furnace saves you $100 more a year compared to a mid-efficiency furnace.
Step 3: Determine the payback period
Now you know the high-efficiency furnace’s extra cost ($1000) and how much it could save you a year ($100).
Let’s calculate the payback period.
Since a furnace on average lives 18-20 years, the high-efficiency option will pay for itself with several years to spare to save you even more.
Of course, if you’re looking to move out of your home in a few years, you’d go for the mid-efficiency option.
Again, this is very, very simplistic example. We’re just giving you a method for calculating payback. So don’t take the numbers we’ve provided as gospel.
The key: find a good contractor
As you can see, the key to steps 1 and 2 are finding a good furnace installer who knows what they’re doing.
Of course, we’d love to be on your short list of furnace installers.
Contact Santa Fe for free furnace estimates to see if a high-efficiency furnace is right for you.