If you are shopping for a new furnace, the first thing you probably think of is efficiency – as in, getting a furnace that is more efficient than the one you’re replacing. A mid-efficiency furnace has an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of 80%. Compared to this, high-efficiency furnaces have an AFUE between 90 to 97%. Therefore energy-efficient furnaces can heat your home faster and cut down on monthly energy bills. However, they are also more expensive to install and have higher maintenance costs.
There are several pros and cons of purchasing high-efficiency furnaces as compared to mid-efficiency furnaces.
Pros of High-Efficiency vs. Mid-Efficiency Furnaces
• A 95% is more efficient than an 80% furnace. The furnace uses an extra 15% of the heat produced during the combustion process to heat your home. Better efficiency also means lower energy bills. So, you are saving money over time by reducing your monthly energy costs.
• Purchasing an new Furnace will require less expensive repairs. You will not have to purchase spare parts like for an older model. This will also eventually save money in the long run. Older furnaces may suffer from various problems such as problems with ignition, blockages, high noise levels. Sometimes, they might not produce enough heat to warm the entire house.
• These furnaces use lower energy and produce cleaner air. They are better suited for the environment and for your comfort. An efficient unit can also reduce your carbon footprint levels compared to mid-efficiency ones.
• They are smaller in size and usually accommodate lesser space in your home. They also have a longer life cycle than conventional models, so you do not have to worry about replacing your unit in just a few years.
Cons of Higher-Efficiency vs Mid-Efficiency Furnaces
• 90% plus furnaces have higher upfront costs and equipment costs compared to mid-efficiency furnaces. They might cost between 25% to 40% more than an AFUE model. Even though you are cutting costs in the long run through decreased energy bills, still not everyone is ready to make such an investment.
• The cost of installation is also higher. 90%-plus furnaces are more difficult to install as they are more complex, and combined with the high price of the unit itself, your expenses are likely to add up. If you are getting a high-efficiency furnace for the first time, your contractor will have to install two new components in your home. This is piping for air combustion and drainage for the condensate. The PVC pipes used are also different from the traditionally used metal pipes to enable the process of sealed combustion. These furnaces also have demanding maintenance needs compared to mid-efficiency ones that need to be taken care of now and then.
To decide which furnace option is best for your home, you need to take several factors into account, such as the size of your home, your monthly budget, and the weather in the region you live.
If you live in a region that is cold all year round, an energy-efficient furnace is a great choice, as after the initial investment you make, you are cutting down monthly energy costs. But if you are using the furnace for a few winter months, efficiency may not be that important.