Having accurate gas furnace prices is vital as you consider which model to purchase for your home. This gas furnace buying guide outlines the factors that go into determining prices. You can use it to decide which features are important to you – which ones you’re willing to pay for – and which ones you can do without. It will help you narrow down the furnaces you consider.
Gas Furnace Efficiency
Efficiency is a measure of how effectively the furnace transfers the heat that is created by burning natural gas or propane. An 80% efficient furnace delivers 80% of the heat produced into the ductwork for distribution to the rooms in your home. These are the least efficient furnaces currently manufactured; furnaces 97% efficient and higher are the most efficient.
If you’ve shopped for gas furnaces, perhaps you’ve wondered why there is no gas furnace between 80% and 90% efficiency, but the spectrum from 90% to 97% is pretty full. Here’s why: A furnace that is between 81% and 89% efficient will create exhaust gases with a high concentration of sulfuric acid and hydrofluoric acid which will destroy the heat exchanger and flue. For this reason, they aren’t made.
On average, the more efficient a furnace is, the more it will cost. High-efficiency gas furnaces contain a second heat exchanger to transfer more of the heat created, and this adds to their price.
Performance of the Gas Valve and Blower
There are 3 types of gas valves currently being used, single-stage, 2-stage and modulating. The least expensive furnaces use a single-stage valve. This means that the gas valve is open 100% whenever the furnace is on, burning at peak capacity. The problem with this can be that parts of the house warm too quickly. The area around the thermostat heats up to the desired temperature while the rooms furthest from the furnace are still cool. Temperature imbalances within the home are the result.
A 2-stage gas valve runs on low capacity most of the time, or about 70%. High-capacity is only used when a significant boost in heat is desired. These gas valves create more even heating. A modulating gas valve will operate between 40% and 100%, in 1% increments, depending on the exact need for heat. They are the most expensive types but produce the gentlest, most comfortable heat throughout a home.
The blower is related. Single-speed blowers move air at high speed all the time, possibly resulting in air coming out of the vents early in the cycle that hasn’t been adequately heated. Multi-speed blowers start on low speed, giving the furnace air a chance to heat up. Then they ramp up to high speed for the majority of the cycle, slowing down again after the burner stops firing to push out the remainder of the warm air created.
Variable-speed blowers offer the greatest comfort, and models with them are the most expensive. They are typically used with 2-stage and modulating gas valves and regulate the speed of air movement to match the performance of the blower.
Quality and Reliability of the Components
You pay more for top brands in part because they have a better service record. They are built with higher quality parts and are therefore more durable and reliable. Some critiques believe that the reputation for quality that Trane, Carrier, Lennox and a few other brands enjoy is based on higher advertising budgets. While there is probably some truth in that, these brands also have some of the best service records in the industry along with Maytag, Heil, American Standard and Amana. You do pay a bit of a premium for the brand name, but in most cases, it’s backed up by superior quality.
One of the clues to the quality and reliability of the components is the length of the warranty. The better the furnace, the longer the warranty. Top tier and mid-level furnaces usually offer a lifetime limited warranty on the heat exchanger along with a 10-12 year parts warranty. The best Amana and Goodman gas furnaces are covered by a warranty that provides for replacement of the entire furnace if the heat exchanger fails in the first 10 years.
Less expensive gas furnaces usually have a 15-20 year heat exchanger warranty and a 5-year parts warranty.
In most industries, major manufacturers make different series of products that appeal to different consumers. There are high-end cars, clothes and appliances as well as mid-priced products and value-oriented models. The same is true in the HVAC world and HVAC prices reflect the differences.
For example, in descending order of quality, Bryant makes the Evolution, Preferred and Legacy lines. For Rheem, it’s the Prestige, Classic and Value lines and for Trane, the XL, XR and XB Series.
The top of the line series are typically higher in efficiency, but many include an 80% model. They always offer higher performance including 2-stage or modulating gas valves, communicating technology and a variable-speed blower.
Mid-priced series will have some single-stage and some 2-stage models with efficiency ratings up to 95%. Most are 80% models or those in the low-90s.
Value-oriented lines are almost always single-stage models with a single-speed or a multi-speed blower motor.
Prices Where You Live
It’s relatively cheap to live in Oklahoma City or Indianapolis; it’s expensive to live in New York, LA or Chicago. The gas furnace prices we list on our site reflect an average. Depending on the cost of living in your area, costs in your area may vary by as much as 20%.
Gas Furnace Prices
We haven’t mentioned it, but gas furnaces are made in a range of sizes, or capacities, from about 45,000 BTU to about 150,000 BTU. It goes without saying that in any series, the larger the furnace is, the more it will cost.
Here’s an overview of gas furnaces at 3 popular sizes using the good/better/best model of pricing.
Low-priced Gas Furnaces: 60,000 BTU, $1,100-$1,500; 90,000 BTU, $1,200-$1,800; 120,000 BTU, $1,500-$2,100.
Mid-priced Gas Furnaces: 60,000 BTU, $1,400-$1,700; 90,000 BTU, $1,600-$2,100; 120 BTU, $1,800-$2,500.
High-priced Gas Furnace: 60,000 BTU, $1,800-$2,500; 90,000 BTU, $2,200-$3,000; 120,000 BTU, $2,700-$4,000.
The best way find the lowest furnace prices is to get multiple estimates. Our gas furnace price posts will give you an idea of what to expect and help you decide which models have the features, efficiency, performance and price you’re looking for.