High Efficiency Furnaces: Pros & Cons

high efficiency furnace

Choosing the right heating system or HVAC system is of vital importance to the comfort of your home and the overall cost of your utility bills. A high efficiency furnace is an excellent option for homeowners looking to maximize their system's efficiency while still maintaining an ideal comfort level.

While the cost of a high efficiency furnace may seem high at first, the overall savings on your energy bills will make up for the difference in the initial investment. When this occurs will depend on how often you run your furnace, but the savings will usually catch up to the additional investment cost within the first few years. On top of saving money, you will also be reducing the energy use in your home and reducing the overall environmental footprint of your home.

Ready to make the switch to a high efficiency furnace? Or do you need to know more about the costs of high efficiency gas furnaces or high efficiency electric furnaces? The experienced professionals at Superior Home Supplies are here to help. Contact one of the sales staff today to find the right high efficiency furnace for your home, or read on to learn more about how they differ from traditional furnaces.

What is the difference between a high efficiency furnace and a regular furnace?

When weighing high efficiency furnace costs, it is important that you understand what makes a high efficiency furnace differ from a traditional one. The primary difference between the two types of systems is the efficiency rating, which describes how much energy from the natural gas the furnace will turn into heat.

Traditional furnaces typically have an annual fuel utilization efficiency rating of 80%, meaning that 80% of the energy it takes in from the gas it burns will be converted to heat, with 20% being wasted. With Energy Star high efficiency furnaces, 90 to 97% of the energy from the gas will be converted to fuel, translating into lower heating bills and more significant energy savings.

Are high efficiency furnaces gas or electric?

When you hear of high efficiency furnaces, they typically refer to a gas-operated furnace with a high efficiency rating. If you were looking for a high efficiency electric furnace heating system, a heat pump would be the better option. A heat pump will prove to be more energy efficient than a high efficience electric furnace. There are high efficiency electric furnaces, but they do not typically come with the same cost savings. This is because the cost of electricity is higher than the cost of natural gas. 

Gas furnaces and energy use

High efficiency gas furnaces will use only a small amount of electricity to ignite the gas and operate the system. On average, a gas furnace will use less than 600 watts of electricity per month, mostly used to power the blower, which keeps the heated air circulating through the home. When it comes to energy use, they will ultimately use less natural gas as well. Since they can convert more of the burned gas into energy for heating, they will need to use less gas to keep your home at the desired temperature.

Electric furnaces and energy use

Electric furnaces are considered cleaner to operate than those that use natural gas, but they do not share the same cost savings as high efficiency gas furnaces since the cost of electricity is higher than the cost of gas. Electric furnaces use an average of 10,000 to 50,000 watts of electricity per month to properly warm your home or 26 kilowatt-hours of electricity each day. In most areas, the electricity cost for the furnace alone will run between $40 to $75 per month or $480 to $900 per year.

How does a high efficiency furnace work?

The energy cost of a high efficiency furnace is directly related to how the system works. These systems have a secondary heat exchanger. The secondary heat exchanger processes the waste from the first one, recycling a significant amount of energy so that more energy is turned into heat.

A lot of the functionality and parts of high efficiency furnaces and traditional furnaces are similar, such as the option of a variable-speed blower or a fixed-speed blower. Yet they differ in the amount of BTUs they need to successfully heat a space. With high efficiency gas furnace models, you will need fewer BTUs to heat the same amount of space.

Another difference between the two is combustion. With a traditional furnace, the warm air from inside your home will be drawn into the furnace for combustion. The cold outside air then leaks into the house to compensate for the loss.

A high efficiency furnace has sealed combustion. There is an intake pipe that will take in the air directly from the outside air for combustion. This helps to improve energy efficiency and reduces exhaust gasses being pulled back down the chimney.

cost of high efficiency furnace

Is a high efficiency furnace right for me?

When it comes time to upgrade your HVAC system, you may wonder if a high efficiency furnace system is a right option for your home. To make the decision, considering the benefits of installing a high efficiency furnace and the age of your current system is essential.

If your current system is only a few years old, you may want to consider waiting until it is at least ten years old before considering upgrading to a high efficiency model. Even if your current system is not as efficient, it might still be under warranty or operating efficiently enough that the savings from upgrading may not be worth the initial installation cost.

But, if your current system is more than ten years old, needs constant repairs, or you notice your energy bills continue to rise, you may want to consider investing in a high efficiency upgrade. The initial cost of installing your system will likely be high, but after a few years, the savings on your utility bills may offset the extra cost.

Not only will high efficiency furnaces save you money by lowering your energy bills, but since they tend to last longer than traditional gas furnaces, you won’t have to replace them as soon.

Another reason to consider a high efficiency model is air quality. These types of furnaces can help clean the air in your home better, leading to improved health, comfort, and a cleaner environment.

Before deciding, consider the amount of time your heater runs during the year. If you rely on your furnace for three or more months a year, then a higher efficiency unit will save you money. If you don’t use your furnace often during the year, the energy savings may not be worth the investment cost.

Is a high efficiency gas furnace expensive to fix?

When considering furnace costs, it is essential to factor in the price of repairs to see if the upgrade is worth the upfront expense. On average, a high efficiency furnace will cost more to repair than a traditional furnace as the parts are more complex. Yet, the total cost of annual repairs on a newer, high-efficiency furnace will likely be less than the annual cost of repairs on an older, less efficient model that may need repairs more often. Some of the most common problems you may encounter with a high efficiency units include the following:

Issues with high efficiency furnace venting

A high efficiency furnace, or condensing furnace, will use a heated exchanger technology that will extract heat during a combustion process and exhaust gasses through a PVC pipe or vent. If you are experiencing a weak flame with your furnace, it could be related to issues with an obstructed intake air vent. A weak flame can also be caused by poor or improper recirculation with the exhaust gas.

Issues with a clogged condensate drain

Another issue affecting a high efficiency furnace is a condensate line that is clogged by debris or frozen. When this occurs, the pressure switch will sense the accumulation of condensate in the drain pan and prevent the furnace from operating.

Issues with the pressure switch

High efficiency furnace costs for repairs can also be affected by a faulty pressure switch. The pressure switch is designed to keep the inducer fan running and shut the ignition down if there is not enough airflow for proper combustion. The pressure switch can sometimes become stuck open, which can cause ignition problems with the furnace.

Issues with a clogged flue vent

Another issue that can occur with a high efficiency unit is the pressure switch tripping due to an obstruction inside the flue gas vent pipe. Often, these obstructions can be nests, leaves, or other debris. You can lower your risk of your flue vent becoming clogged by ensuring it is in the proper position and has an adequate slope. If the slope is inadequate, the airflow can also be restricted by condensate water, tripping the pressure switch as well.

cost of high efficiency furnace

How much does a high efficiency furnace cost?

The cost of a high efficiency gas furnace will vary depending on the AFUE rating, the size, and the specific features. On average, a high efficiency furnace costs installed will run 30 to 40% more than a standard furnace. The average price that homeowners will pay runs between $1,300 and $5,000. It is important when considering the cost of a high efficiency unit to understand the energy savings, which is between $100 and $200 per year for most households.

One of the most significant portions of a high efficiency furnace cost is the installation. In most cases, additional venting will be required, making the project more difficult to complete DIY. If you are unsure how the venting system on a high efficiency model works or are not familiar with HVAC installation, it may be best to call in a professional for installation.


  • High efficiency furnace models operate at AFUE ratings of 90% or higher, meaning they will utilize at least 90% of the energy from the fuel they burn for heating your home.
  • The initial costs of high efficiency furnaces can be high, but this cost is often offset by utility bill savings throughout the year.
  • While high efficiency furnaces can be more costly to repair, they typically last longer, which can make them more cost-effective than traditional furnaces.
  • High efficiency furnaces are ideal for homeowners who rely on their furnaces for at least a quarter of the year and are looking to reduce their energy bills.

Find your new furnace at Superior Home Supplies

Are you looking for a high efficiency furnace for your new home or remodel? Or perhaps you are considering upgrading your old furnace to a newer, more efficient model to save money and improve the air quality in your home. Superior Home Supplies is here to help. Contact us at 855-578-7374 today to find out how a high efficiency furnace can be the perfect addition to your home.

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