Furnace Savings – The Big Picture

By Peter Wagner*

When buying and installing a new furnace, customers need to look beyond the installation price to find true value.

As a leading HVAC company in the Kitchener Waterloo area for over 130 years, we have seen how people’s purchasing priorities have changed. As is with most items in this digital age, we have seen an increased focus on installation price. After some discussion with most customers, we find that what they are really looking for is lowest total cost. Their initial thought is “well the installation is the biggest part of the total cost, so why not just focus on that?” Let me walk you through a couple of examples why that is not true.

Proper installation and maintenance can help your furnace last years longer and cost less over the course of its life.

Consider these two different scenarios:

In the first one, the customer chooses a very inexpensive unit, performs no preventive maintenance (or furnace tune-ups) and changes the furnace filters the minimum number of times. This scenario represents a shocking number of furnace buyers. In the second example, the customer chooses a furnace brand that is known for its reliability, has periodic furnace tune-ups performed at appropriate intervals and changes the MERV 11 filter twice a year.

In the first example, the furnace will cost this customer approximately $16,900 over the furnace’s 10-year lifespan. The largest cost is the gas consumed ($12700 or $1270 annually). Because the furnace has not undergone any preventive maintenance, its efficiency deteriorates over time. Add to that about $1000 (3 different repairs of increasing severity) worth of emergency furnace repairs that have been performed because the unit has been allowed to deteriorate. Due to the lack of overall maintenance, the furnace will need to be replaced after 10 years. The average cost of this unit per year works out to around $1690.


In the second scenario, the homeowner has bought a reliable name brand and had the furnace tuned-up every two year. They have also replaced the High efficiency MERV 11 filter twice a year. Because the furnace has been maintained properly, the gas bill remains at $1000 per year. Although the furnace required an emergency repair, it was only once, and cost $150. But here’s the bonus, because it had been taken care of, the furnace only had to be replaced after 15 years. Thanks to a bit of routine maintenance, the price per year drops by $223 per year!


What I have not shared with you in these examples, is the cost of the furnace installation. In the first case, the homeowner paid $3000, but in the second the installation price was $3500. Did the first homeowner end up saving money? No. By buying an unreliable brand and choosing not to have preventive maintenance done, it ended up costing them $2230 more over the life of the furnace.




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