The key to identifying the best gas furnace price for your needs lies in correctly finding the balance between the up-front costs of a furnace and the long-term savings.
In other words, gas furnace costs should be considered as a long-term investment. For example, you can buy a cheap car with poor gas mileage or invest more in a new hybrid that will save you more over the long haul.
The price of a gas furnace works in a similar way: You can buy a furnace at bottom dollar with low fuel efficiency or spend several thousand dollars more for an extremely efficient model.
If you don’t plan on living in your home for long, buy a cheaper model with low to moderate efficiency. Furnaces have little impact on a house’s resale value. If you plan on living in your house for several years, you’re better off with a high efficiency model.
Generally, gas furnaces are priced higher than other fuel burning heaters initially, but they cost less long-term because of the reduced price of gas as a fuel source.
So what does a gas furnace cost?
Gas furnace costs range from $1,700 to $5,000, including installation, for low-to-moderate efficiency systems, depending on the size of the furnace required by your home. The lowest annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating allowed by the U.S. Department of Energy for a gas furnace is 80 percent.
Essentially the AFUE is the percentage of heat you retain in your home. So if your gas furnace has an AFUE rating of 85 percent, then that’s 85 percent of heat entering your home. The other 15 percent is lost heat.
High efficiency gas furnaces, with 90 to 98.5 percent AFUE, can cost from about $3,000 to $12,500, including installation.
Installation prices can run several thousand dollars depending on the complexity of the installation. If your home has never had central heating and requires new ductwork, expect your gas furnace prices to reach toward the higher end of the spectrum.
Likewise, the size of your home and the number of rooms you plan to heat affect the unit costs.
For furnace prices specific to your needs and location, click here for to connect with HVAC contractors for free furnace estimates.
For prices specific to brands and models, including unit and installation cost, see these guides too:
How do gas furnaces work?
Gas furnaces are the most popular alternative option to petroleum-based products, as well as electric furnaces. Gas furnaces burn natural gas, which consists of methane and other carbon based gases that are often found in petroleum fields.
Gas furnaces work by turning on an igniter in the furnace when the thermostat registers below the set temperature. Natural gas flows into the furnaces through pipes provided by the local utility company. An igniter lights the natural gas, which heats air in the furnace. The heat is transferred to the air in the heating ducts, and flows through your home.
Gas furnace advantages
Natural gas burns cleaner than oil. They are also far more efficient, with an average 90 percent AFUE, using less fuel to heat the air. Remember, this number refers to the percentage of energy that is converted to heat (in this case, 90 percent) and the amount wasted (in this case, 10 percent). A high AFUE results in less exhaust and no need for a chimney to vent the heated air and fumes.
Natural gas costs less than oil and is far cheaper than electricity, making natural gas more economical than other fuel combustion systems in the long term. Gas is inexpensive for consumers because so little is used per home in the grand scheme of things. The actual expenses for extracting, treating and piping the gas into homes is very expensive.
Therefore, whether you use no gas or minimal gas, you’re likely to have nearly the same utility bill due to infrastructure fees from local gas companies. In other words, in the summer months when you don’t use gas at all, you may still end up paying anywhere from $6 to $25 per month or so due to gas company service fees.
Whether winter or summer, pair your system with a programmable thermostat to help reduce your bills even further. Here are some resources on smart thermostats, from Nest 1st generation versus 2nd generation and Nest versus Honeywell.
If you select a high efficiency gas furnace, then you may be eligible for a federal tax rebate. Not all Energy Star furnaces are eligible. No matter if your new furnace is gas, oil or propane, it must have an AFUE of 95 percent to receive a rebate. So a furnace could have an Energy Star label, but not have a high enough AFUE rating for a rebate.
Sizing is another pro if you have an older unit. Older furnaces, whether oil or gas, are pretty large. Newer gas furnace units are much more compact and lighter.
Finally, gas furnaces are much quieter, cutting back on interior and exterior noise pollution.
Gas furnace disadvantages
For some, the cons of a gas furnace are so few that they don’t even consider them. One not to miss, though: Natural gas is not available everywhere, so it is not an option for all consumers.
Natural gas leaks are dangerous, and furnaces must be well maintained in order to avoid this hazard. Luckily, natural gas has a distinctive odor added to it so that leaks can be detected.
Where to find an HVAC contractor?
Whether your current furnace is giving off a death rattle, or you just want a new furnace, find local, qualified contractors now and receive free quotes. If you’re still not sure what type of furnace to go with, ask the HVAC contractor to provide you with two quotes for comparison. For instance, you can ask for a gas furnace vs. oil furnace price comparison, or moderate-efficiency vs. high-efficiency gas furnaces.
It’s hard to make a decision without receiving an estimate customized for your home. Do it today.