New furnace is about to get more expensive

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 4, 2012 - 10:42 AM

Federal rule requires higher-efficiency models after May 1. A new rule goes into effect next year requiring new residential furnaces in Northern states to be at least 90 percent efficient.

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esandeenOct. 3, 1211:24 PM

A 90 AFUE boiler will get you a $100 rebate from Xcel. 96 AFUE is worth $250. Helps with the cost a bit. Gas isn't very expensive right now, but I doubt it'll last forever, and a boiler is a long-term investment...

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moparfoolOct. 4, 12 5:55 AM

I looked at a higher efficiency furnace when I needed a new one twelve years ago. The extra cost and higher installation charges didn't add up for me. Plus a more complicated furnace fails more often and thus has higher maintenance costs. Centerpoint Energy has me at $39 a month budget plan this year ($468 per year), so the cost of a higher efficiency furnace makes no sense for me. But if natural gas prices rise significantly, it would make sense.

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playahataOct. 4, 12 6:25 AM

I'd be curious of where this $400 a year in savings comes from. I've done the math, I use about $400 in natural gas for the purpose of heating my house each year (~1900 sq ft, with a 30 year old furnace that I'm not sure on the efficiency of). You'd either have to have a very poorly insulated house or a mansion to realize that kind of savings.

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jcinmnOct. 4, 12 7:22 AM

moparfool "I looked at a higher efficiency furnace when I needed a new one twelve years ago. The extra cost and higher installation charges didn't add up for me. Plus a more complicated furnace fails more often and thus has higher maintenance costs. Centerpoint Energy has me at $39 a month budget plan this year ($468 per year), so the cost of a higher efficiency furnace makes no sense for me. But if natural gas prices rise significantly, it would make sense" We've had our 90+% efficient furnace for 24 years now and have spent $250 for replacement (both time is was the control board) . We do not have a $39 service plan. In the 24 years that we've had a higher efficiency furnace we've saved $8982 over your plan, not including the heating bill which lowered dramatically with the higher efficiency furnace.

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jcinmnOct. 4, 12 7:30 AM

playahata "I'd be curious of where this $400 a year in savings comes from. I've done the math, I use about $400 in natural gas for the purpose of heating my house each year (~1900 sq ft, with a 30 year old furnace that I'm not sure on the efficiency of). You'd either have to have a very poorly insulated house or a mansion to realize that kind of savings" It depends on a lot of things but a 1900 sq ft home is not the rule these days. As people age a lot of them cannot tolerate a 68 degree temperature. I've seen thermostat settings as high as 72 degrees in some homes. even my dentist's office is set at 72 degrees. With no setback thermostat I can see where a 80% - 92% switch can save that much in a year.

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supersleeperOct. 4, 12 7:30 AM

We have an older house with an older furnance. I have been told that it would be a waste of money to buy a 90% efficient furnance because our house is old and not efficient and would cancel out any extra efficiency of the furnance...does anyone know if that's true? I'm certainly no expert. I will say that even if a high efficiency furnance saved us 50% on heating costs it would barely save us $250 a year....it just doesn't seem worth it.

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stjohnsonOct. 4, 12 7:40 AM

I priced them out this past summer and my problem is the venting on the high effeciency needs to go sideways instead of straight up. With a finished basement, the only way to do it is to tear out the sheetrocked ceiling or vent it out the front of the house a few feet from the front steps. I really don't want steam all winter billowing up the front of the house.

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taftjOct. 4, 12 7:41 AM

sounds like a good idea, but what about families who are struggling to make ends meet, now their furnace goes out, and on top of that, the government is now making them purchase the expensive model when they don't have much (or any) extra money to begin with...I don't like it...

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byebyegirlOct. 4, 12 7:45 AM

I think moparfool meant his/her heating bill/monthy budget was only $39 a month through Centerpoint. Probably not quoting a "service/repair plan" just his/her heating bill. Most people don't budget for a furnace failure, and are caught off guard when it happens. It can be hard to rationalize the cost difference when you are forced to make a quick decision during the middle of January. We had to replace our furnace and yes the new model is more computerized/complicated and thus my husband can no longer "fix" if needed. I can compare it to having to go to a dealership to get the "code" when something is wrong with your car. So even with a new furnace we still have a repair plan with Xcel.

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bosshogOct. 4, 12 7:55 AM

supersleeper - that makes no sense what you were told. Even if you have an older house it IS worth it. A %90 efficient furnace means only 10% of the gas used for heating is wasted. An 80% efficient furnace means %20 is wasted. So if you need more heat because your house isn't well insulated then a higher efficiency furnace would make a big difference in lowering your heating bill since.

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