For most homeowners, there is a feeling of dread the day a major appliance conks out and needs to be replaced. And if you live in a city like Calgary, known for our winters, the thought of having your furnace go out in the middle of a cold winter night, can keep you up at night.
As furnaces tend to last a long time (furnaces should last 20 years with proper maintenance, with some furnace lasting over 40 years), some of us have never had to replace a furnace before and therefore may have no idea what they cost to replace. So, what does a new furnace cost?
The average cost of a reputable new high-efficiency furnace in Calgary is $4,000 to $8,000 (installed).
Okay, that’s quite a range. The good news is we offer free no-visit furnace installation quotes, so you can find out the exact price of a new furnace for your home.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the various factors that affect the cost of a new furnace.
3 Factors impacting the cost
1. The size of your home
The larger your home, the larger the furnace will need to be. Generally the larger the heat output of the furnace, the more it will cost. Furnace manufacturers will offer a given model of the furnace in many different sizes ranging from as small as 45,000 btuh – up to 135,000 btuh. Generally, a 135,000 btuh furnace will be about 25% more than the cost of the same furnace model sized at 45,000 btuh.
It is very important that the furnace installed is properly sized for a home, just as a furnace which is too small for the job will need to work harder and longer to keep your home warm (putting it under increased strain, requiring and require more repairs) a furnace which is oversized can short cycle leading to uneven temperature distributions and shortened life span of the furnace. Having a professional installer to provide you with a quote, you can be sure they will properly size a furnace that is correct for your home.
2. Type of furnace
Today, all furnaces are built to “high efficiency” standards. Premium name-brand furnaces (like Lennox) are built to a higher standard, have a reputation for excellence, and are backed by warranty. They are quieter and last longer.
Generally speaking, there are three categories of furnaces:
i. Single-stage furnaces blow air at full capacity when they are running. Once the temperature reaches the temperature set point they shut off. Cost of single-stage furnace, fixed-speed ECM blower motor: $4,000 – $5,500 (installed).
ii. Models with two-stage heating will run at a lower speed and heat output when the weather is mild, and at higher speed and output when it starts getting colder. The furnace ideally matches heating output with heating demand. Advantages include: more consistent distribution of warm air, quieter operation, less stopping and starting (for less wear and tear) and increased energy savings. Cost of two-stage furnace, variable-speed blower: $5,000 – $6,900 (installed).
iii. Modulating furnaces are designed to consistently keep your home at a steady temperature at all times. The heating output of the furnace can match the heating demand of the home, ranging from 30% heating output to 100% heating output and anywhere in between. This means that the furnace quietly runs for longer stretches, and circulates warm air consistently through your home. The end result is a more even temperature distribution among different areas of the home and a more comfortable environment. While the warm air runs more or less continually, these furnaces are actually more efficient than single- or two-stage furnaces, using less energy overall. Cost of modulating furnace, variable-speed blower: $6,200 – $8,000.
3. Difficulty of installation
Each furnace installation is different. Some are hard to access. Others may need the addition of a condensate pump if a floor drain is not present near the furnace or in some cases custom sheet metal fabrication is needed to hook up to existing ductwork. Venting of the new furnaces using the plastic vent pipes can also impact the complexity of the install. Some older homes may have building code deficiencies that need to be brought up to code at the time of installation. Having some or all of these factors can affect the cost of a furnace installation.
A furnace installation with a combination of code deficiencies, complicated venting, furnace relocation requirement, etc. can add between $100 – $500 to the cost of the installation.
In the vast majority of cases, a trained, certified, and experienced installer can remove and install a new furnace in a single day, addressing any home-specific items they may run into. It is important to engage a reputable furnace installation company that will identify the specific requirements of your furnace replacement at the time the furnace is quoted so on the day of installation the installer is prepared and has everything needed to complete the work.
4. Additional features and options
Given Calgary’s dry climate, many homeowners choose to have a humidifier installed on the furnace. This adds moisture to the air. Humidifiers are recommended for those with hardwood or laminate flooring, because the moisture can prevent cracking and extend the floor’s life. It can also help keep your skin and hair feeling smoother. Proper humidity also is more comfortable and leads to the feeling of a cozier home.
Homeowners who are concerned with improving air quality may opt for an air purification system or a UV light system to kill bacteria and microbes. These systems can be installed at the same time as a furnace, at an additional cost.
Don’t forget the cost to install your furnace!
Buying a new furnace isn’t like buying a freezer, where you simply take it out of the box and plug it in. As a gas appliance, it must be installed by a qualified professional.
Typically, when a professional furnace service and maintenance company provides a quote for a new furnace, it will be for turn-key installation by a certified journeyman installer. The company will contact the municipality to pay for and pull the required permit and will be responsible for ensuring all work is done properly and passes inspection.
It is important to recognize that the longevity and reliability of a new furnace are partially related to the brand of furnace you choose, but the most important factor impacting your furnace longevity and reliability is the quality of the furnace installation and the experience, care, and skill of the installer completing the installation. A poorly installed furnace may not last 10 years while a properly installed furnace will last more than 20 years. Be careful to select a company with a great reputation for quality work with lots of experience in furnace installation.
Getting an estimate
Getting a new furnace is rarely a stress-free experience. You’re either replacing one that is showing its age and costing a lot of money to run – or your furnace gave-out without warning. Both situations are stressful. Luckily, a little information can go a long way in increasing your peace of mind and preparedness for home updates and improvements.
That’s why we want to share with you all the information you need to know when getting a new furnace estimate.
What does the furnace installation quote include?
No one likes surprises in cost for big-ticket items like this, so when you agree to a quote be sure to ask and make sure that the quote you’re receiving is all-in. This will include the cost of the furnace, plus all installation services required.
Important factors to cover during the quoting process
The quoting process is about more than cost alone, it ensures that you get the right service, product, and vendor to take care of your furnace needs. Finding the right partner can set you up for years of easy home maintenance and furnace reliability. To make sure you’ve found that partner and cover those installation needs, here are the things you need to cover during the quoting process:
Your house might have some quirks or difficulties that may add complexity to your installation, or limit your choice or replacement furnaces. If identified in advance, any such concerns will be factored into the estimate.
Basements with small stairwells and limited access can be one concern. In rare cases, furnaces are located in narrow crawl spaces, which adds to the installation time.
Another challenge in some older homes is that the furnace and ductwork may be lined with asbestos. Once commonly used for insulation, asbestos is known to cause cancer and is hazardous when moved or disturbed. For this reason, special steps must be taken to ensure its safe removal and disposal.
Venting-related issues can also affect the work required. Today, most furnaces are vented out the side of the house. However, the building code requires a minimum of 1 m between the house foundation and the property line on the side of the home where the furnace vents. If proper setbacks or clearance to fresh air intakes, windows, or meters don’t exist, the vent may need to be rerouted out the back or front of the house or in extreme cases through the chimney chase.
If a traditional, older-model “Natural Draft” hot water tank (with a draft hood) is retained when a new high-efficiency furnace is installed, a chimney liner will need to be installed in the existing flu stack. In some cases, flu stacks have offsets and/or screws, which can make installation of the chimney liner difficult or impossible and may add time and expense to a new furnace installation. In rare cases, the only option is to install a Power Vented Hot Water Tank in place of the existing Natural Draft Tank.
In some cases the thermostat wire may not have enough leads to control the furnace, which may require a new thermostat wire to be pulled from the thermostat location to the furnace.
Over the phone or online estimates are generally pretty accurate in the majority of homes. Based on the information above, if you suspect a problem, you may wish to have an installer come to your home to provide an inspection and in-person estimate. These are usually provided free of charge.
If you’re getting a new furnace, you want it to be right for you and your family. An experienced company will properly size a new high-efficiency furnace to your needs: making sure it’s sufficient to heat your entire home based on the building construction, existing insulation, and square footage. Also, consider any potential features you might be interested in – such as humidifiers, UV lights, and thermostats. It is generally more cost-effective to negotiate these items to be included with the installation of your furnace rather than having them added after the fact The right partner should be able to help you choose the right options for your needs.
Did you know: Advanpro will provide quotes for 3 furnace options that best meet your requirements, so you can pick the one that suits your needs and budget best
The “hidden” costs
Once you’ve received a quote from an installer, that’s it for costs, right? Well, maybe not. That’s why it’s important to ask and get full clarity. Are there any disposal charges? Do they need to do a walk-through of your home first to guarantee your quote? Are all taxes and permitting fees included? What happens if the installer runs into an unforeseen issue when the work is being done, will this be at additional cost to you, or is the price quoted by the installer the GUARANTEED price? Asking these questions will help you get a crystal clear understanding of what the full price tag will be when the installation is done.
An investment in your comfort
As Calgarians, we rely on our furnaces to keep our homes warm… practically year-round (yes, that includes June and August). On those frost winter days, you’ll thank yourself for choosing the right one. A new furnace, properly install furnace will last you for a long time, so it’s a good idea to invest in a unit that checks all the boxes for warmth, performance, energy efficiency, reliability and quiet operation.
A final tip
Don’t feel the need to settle for a furnace with fewer features or a less recognized brand to save money. Most reputable Furnace Installation Companies offer financing packages that allow you to spread the cost over several years to keep your payments manageable. These financing plans generally offer at least 3 months of no interest no payments and are open, meaning they can be paid off partially or in full at any time during the loan term at no cost to you.
Be wary of fly-by-night furnace installers. If the price is too good to be true, it usually is. It is important to consider if lesser-known, one-off installation companies will be there to warranty their work down the road if the furnace fails, if they are pulling permits, have proper insurance or have WCB coverage. If the answer is no to any of these, this is a red flag. Doing research on your service provider and reading a couple of reviews online about a given company can save you huge headaches down the road.
Looking for a reliable partner? Advanpro can help.
We don’t mean to toot our own horns but with close to 15 years in business, 50,000+ happy customers (many of them repeat customers), and award-winning service, we would love to help you with any of your furnace needs. Give us a call today for a free quote!
To read the Homeowner’s Furnace Guide, click here.