Gas Furnace Reviews and Prices 2021
Gas Furnace Reviews
This gas furnace review is a comprehensive collection of answers to questions homeowners may ask when shopping for a new gas furnace:
My HVAC Price will take a deep dive into furnace costs by brand, location and what labor factors will cause a gas furnace installation cost to change.
- What are the best furnace brands to buy in 2021?
We will take an independent look into all major furnace brands, and rank them by reliability, cost and life expectancy.
- What furnace options matter and why?
My HVAC Price will define furnace options, and when upgrading to more options matter.
Table of Contents
Gas Furnace Brands and Cost Factors
There are many factors that influence the price of a new furnace, and for the average consumer its hard to understand why the same size unit may vary in price significantly. Continue reading as we explain what factors influence the price of a new gas furnace.
Much like every consumer product made today, products are separated by classes of quality. The quality of the materials used and where the units are manufactured has a large impact on the price and cost. Gas furnaces are no different. We have broken down the quality of gas furnaces in a 3 different ranges to help you compare quality. This breakdown is purely based on the quality of the construction and materials. These classes do not factor in the quality of the installation.
- Economy Gas Furnace Brands: Lowest cost, shortest lifespan expectation (less than 13 years): Airtemp, Day & Night, Payne, Aircoaire, ComfortMaker, Coleman and Ducane.
- Standard Gas Furnace Brands: Middle of the road pricing, average lifespan expectation (13-16 years): Ruud, Rheem, York, Goodman, Amana, Luxaire, Nordyne, Bryant, Run-Tru and Ameristar.
- Premium Gas Furnace Brands: Highest price, superior quality, longest lifespan expectation (15-20 years): Trane, Carrier, Lennox and American Standard
Gas Valve Type
The gas valve inside a furnace regulates the flow of gas to the burners. There are three different styles of gas valve technologies that directly effect the efficiency (operating cost), as well as the cost to purchase and install a new gas furnace. All of the premium furnace brands and most of the standard branded gas furnaces offer a tiered line of furnaces which use all of these technologies.
- Single Stage Gas Valve: When a Single Stage gas furnace is on they operate at 100% capacity. On or Off. The main issue with single stage gas valves are that they are only sized correctly when the load of the home requires 100% capacity. Like when the temperature outside is below 10 degrees. Single stage furnaces run shorter, but more frequent cycles of operation, which can lead to a short lifespan. Single stage furnaces are the most economical to purchase, but they lack the ability to change output based upon weather conditions.
- Two-Stage Gas Valves: Two-Stage furnaces have the ability to have a medium and a high output setting. Typically this ranges from 65-80% of capacity in the first stage, and 100% capacity in the second stage. Two-Stage gas furnaces are the most cost effective upgrade for consumers and they save about 5% of annual energy costs.
- Modulating Gas Valve: Modulating furnaces have the ability to ramp up and down the capacity needed to heat the home on autopilot. Some models are able to start at 20% capacity and have over 100 different stages. These gas furnaces are the most energy efficient, quiet and provide the best comfort for homes. The huge advantage modulating gas furnaces have is the ability to heat a home more evenly and efficiently.
The main factor of operating a gas furnace the amount of fuel the furnace consumes. The other important efficiency metric to look for in a new furnace is the style of blower motor in the appliance. Below is a breakdown to be able to compare a furnace efficiency no matter the brand.
- AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency is a thermal efficiency measure of space-heating furnaces and boilers. In layman’s terms AFUE is the percentage of fuel burned that is actually turned into heat for your home. Let’s take an 80% furnace, so this means that you would get 80% of heat out of the fuel that you purchased. The higher the furnace AFUE rating is the more energy efficient it is (lower operating cost). Furnaces can range from 80% AFUE (least efficient) to 98% AFUE most efficient.
- Blower Motor Technology: It is important to consider the type of blower motor the furnace comes with. Most furnaces have an Air Conditioning system attached to it, and the furnace blower motor plays a major role in the efficiency or SEER rating of that appliance. A variable speed or ECM blower motor is recommended due to the lower operating costs and the ability to ramp up and down due to demand required. A variable speed blower is also much more effective at lowering the humidity during air conditioning season.
Size or Capacity
The size or capacity (not physical size) of a gas furnace will have a dramatic effect on the cost. In residential furnaces the sizes include a range from 40,000 BTU up to 140,000 BTU. The larger the furnace, the most the furnace will cost.
To size which furnace is required to heat your home many factors come into play. The geographical location of your home, square footage of your space, the height of the ceilings, insulation of the home and even the type of windows that your home has.
The last factor to consider is the size of the ductwork inside your home. Having too small of ductwork in your home for the size of furnace can greatly effect the performance of your new furnace significantly, even worse it can lead to costly repairs over time.
What size Gas Furnace do I need?
As you can see from the chart above, different regions of the country require different size furnaces due to the climate they operate in. Most contractors will perform a sizing process called a Manual J load calculation. A Manual J will take into consideration the shading of the home, type of windows and even the grade of insulation of the home to recommend the appropriate size furnace for your home. In Greer, SC an award winning heating and cooling company performs a manual J load calculation on every single installation.
Gas Furnace Prices
Contractor Gas Furnace Price
Price transparency is a very touchy issue when it comes to the consumer and contractor relationship. Most contractors are very reluctant to disclose what they actually pay for a furnace. This is somewhat of an unfounded fear of being honest with a consumer. More and more contractors are beginning to shift their mindset towards a more transparent buying experience. If a contractor is trying to hide how much they pay for a furnace be cautious, ask yourself what else they maybe trying to hide.
What a contractor actually pays for a furnace can vary on many factors listed below:
- Location of the country, whether the contractor buys direct from the manufacture or buys from a 2-step distribution network.
- How many units the contractor sells. The more volume a contractor moves the lower they pay for heat pumps.
- How many years the contractor has been in business. Over time relationships grow between the contractor and distributer. This can lead to better pricing.
- Density of contractors selling the same brand.
- Time of year the equipment was purchased, brands have price increases every single year. Typically these increases are between 4-10% every single year.
Contractor Gas Furnace Price by Brand
The following section will breakdown by brand what a contractor pays for a gas furnace. These numbers are averages, some contractors will pay more or less. Remember this is just a box, this does not include installation.
Trane Gas Furnace Contractor Prices
Rheem Gas Furnace Contractor Prices
American Standard Gas Furnace Contractor Prices
Goodman Gas Furnace Contractor Prices
Gas Furnace Installation Price
The price to install a new gas furnace can vary greatly from company to company, which can leave anyone shopping for a new furnace in a daze. The price to install a new furnace can even vary between efficiency levels and where the portions of the system are located. The following section will breakdown the variables that can cause the price to change.
Gas Furnace Location
Typically furnaces are replaced along with a new matching air conditioner. The location or access to the air conditioner can influence the ultimate ending price. Here are some examples of furnace locations and how they can affect the price.
- Attic: Additional Cost ($600-$1500): It goes without saying that an attic can be a tough installation area for installers to work in. The installation price will raise based upon the fact that the company will incur more labor hours on the job. Some companies may even send three installers to help with carrying the new unit into an attic. Most attic installations should also include extra materials such as an emergency drain pan, automatic float switch, ductwork modifications to fit the new gas furnace, and even more insulation.
- Rooftop: Additional Cost ($500-$2500): Rooftop air conditioner installs can come with not only the added cost of a crane, but most jurisdictions require permits. Some of these permits can cost the contractor $800-$1500 depending if traffic control is needed. Typically a contractor must rent a crane to lift the condenser up onto a roof. Warning, do not use a contractor that offers to hoist or carry a condenser up via a ladder or rope. This process can damage the coil and cause the oil to run out of the compressor and severely shorten the lifespan of the unit.
- Crawlspaces: Additional Cost ($300-$2000) Believe it or not some crawlspaces can be more difficult to install a new gas furnace than an attic. Along with a emergency drain pan and automatic drain switches which are required, most crawlspace units are hung from supports and this takes more time. Often times the floor of crawlspaces are rocks or dirt and can really wear an installer down and this makes the job take longer.
Gas Furnace Efficiency and Features
Choosing a high end gas furnace is not only a more expensive product for the contractor, but retrofitting an old outdated system and setting up the controls/features takes longer than a standard or base model. Below are some of features that higher efficiency units require that can raise the cost of a furnace installation.
- Control Wiring: Additional Cost ($150-$500) Communicating or Digital furnace systems send data thru control wiring and most manufactures require one continuous wire. Older homes can have splices of wiring which can lead to communication signal errors which can be a real issue to track down. We suggest that ALL new communicating systems have new controls wires installed.
- Surge Protection: Additional Cost ($175-$400) Just like your computer and television in your home are at risk to power surges, the circuit boards inside high tech furnace and air conditioners need to be protected. Voltage regulation is very important for variable frequency drive compressors.
- Large Screen Smart Thermostats: Additional Cost ($350-$700) Digital communicating furnace and air conditioner systems operate with large screen smart thermostats. These thermostats are the brain of the new furnace system. All are WiFi enabled and allow for weather adjustments and even can communicate to you or your dealer if there is a problem with the system. Most report monthly electric consumption and savings attained.
Have more Gas Furnace questions?
The team at MyHVACPrice would be happy to answer any questions you have! Drop us an email, we will get back to you shortly.