Though most furnaces will last longer than a decade, you’ll probably need to purchase a new furnace at some point. You might need the unit for a new construction home or an old home with a more than 20-year-old furnace. Either way, the national average cost for a new furnace is $4,247.
Most homeowners should expect to spend between $2,383 and $6,110 for professional installation of a typical furnace, including materials and labor. The size of your furnace, the power source it uses, the region you live in, and other factors will determine the cost of your particular project.
Note: You’ll definitely want to hire a professional HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) installer for this project. Because of the highly technical knowledge needed for installing a furnace and the safety risks that come with getting it wrong, DIY won’t be an option this time even for the handiest of homeowners.
How much does a new furnace cost?
- National average cost: $4,247
- Typical price range: $2,383 – $6,110
- Extreme low end: $1,400
- Extreme high end: $40,000
A new furnace can fall anywhere on a wide price range. Several specific variables go into figuring out where on that range your furnace will fall. Most projects will cost between $2,383 and $6,110, so planning your budget within those parameters is a safe bet.
Beware that if your home needs a lot of new ductwork, you have equipment for geothermal power installed, or your project involves other complications, you could pay upward of $40,000 for materials and labor.
On the other hand, you might end up with a total cost as low as $1,400 if you have a small home that doesn’t require too much power output to heat. We’ll go over several cost factors in detail to help you estimate whether your furnace project budget will be closer to the typical range, the high end, or the low end.
- How much does a new furnace cost?
- Cost Estimator by Home Size
- Other Cost Factors
- Extra Services
- New Furnace Cost by Location
- FAQ About New Furnaces
Cost Estimator by Home Size
One thing you’ll need to know when choosing your furnace is how many BTUs (British Thermal Units) it will take to heat your home. In technical terms, a BTU is a unit that measures how much energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. When it comes to furnaces, BTUs simply indicate the unit’s heat output capacity.
The size of your home will determine the heat output, or number of BTUs, required of your furnace. Aside from size, specific components of your home such as number of windows, type of insulation, and local temperatures can affect how many BTUs your furnace needs.
As a result, any estimate based on home size alone is a ballpark number. You likely won’t know exactly how many BTUs your furnace needs until an HVAC professional checks out your home.
That being said, you can still use your home’s square footage to form an educated guess of your project budget. Most homes need a furnace with 30 to 50 BTUs per square foot of livable space (the areas of your home that need heat). With materials and professional labor, you can expect a furnace to cost about $0.03 to $0.05 per BTU, or an average of $0.04 per BTU.
We used the rates of 30 to 50 BTUs per square foot and $0.04 per BTU to calculate the approximate total cost of a furnace for common home sizes. If you don’t feel like doing that math yourself, refer to this chart instead.
|SQUARE FOOTAGE OF HOME||APPROXIMATELY HOW MANY BTUs NEEDED||APPROXIMATE TOTAL COST|
*includes materials and labor
|1,000||30,000 – 50,000||$1,200 – $2,000|
|1,500||45,000 – 75,000||$1,800 – $3,000|
|2,000||60,000 – 100,000||$2,400 – $4,000|
|2,500||75,000 – 125,000||$3,000 – $5,000|
|3,000||90,000 – 150,000||$3,600 – $6,000|
|3,500||105,000 – 175,000||$4,200 – $7,000|
|4,000||120,000 – 200,000||$4,800 – $8,000|
|4,500||135,000 – 225,000||$5,400 – $9,000|
|5,000||150,000 – 250,000||$6,000 – $10,000|
Other Cost Factors
Individual furnaces differ in a lot more ways than their BTU capacity, and each of those differences can affect the price of the unit. Furnaces that run on more complicated power sources, have higher efficiency levels, or come from a more premium brand will cost more.
You also can expect to pay more for a specialty furnace, like those that run on geothermal or solar power or have a variable speed feature. You may need to obtain permits, which would increase your overall costs, and you may be eligible for rebates or tax credits based on the type of furnace you install, which means you would get some of your money back.
Now, we’ll cover some significant cost considerations and explain how each could affect your new furnace project.
Most home furnaces run on gas, oil, or electricity. Here are the general facts you need to know about each type of furnace, along with their approximate cost, including materials and professional labor fees.
- Most common type of furnace in the U.S.
- Usually use natural gas as fuel but can convert to use propane instead
- Heat homes faster and to a higher temperature than electric furnaces
- Cheapest type of furnace to run (though not the cheapest to install)
- Run the risk of dangerous gas leaks
- Require hookup to a gas line
- Generally the best furnace option for areas with harsh winters
- Typical installation cost: $2,883 to $7,367
- Easiest and cheapest type of furnace to install
- Expensive to run, drive up monthly utility bills
- Take longer to heat a home than gas furnaces
- Low-maintenance compared to gas or oil furnaces
- Usually run quieter than other types of furnaces
- A viable option only in areas with mild to moderate winters
- Typical installation cost: $1,853 to $4,433
- Rarely used or installed now
- Have to store fuel onsite (i.e. in your home)
- More environmentally friendly than gas furnaces
- More expensive to install and run than other types of furnaces
- Typical installation cost: $4,717 to $7,283
|POWER SOURCE OF FURNACE||TYPICAL PRICE RANGE|
*includes materials and labor
|Electric||$1,853 – $4,433|
|Gas||$2,883 – $7,367|
|Oil||$4,717 – $7,283|
Regardless of power source, all furnaces have an efficiency rating called the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. A particular model’s AFUE rating will be a number between 1 and 100. That number tells what percentage of the furnace’s total energy usage it actually converts to heat output.
For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 90% uses 90% of the energy it burns to heat your home, while the other 10% of the energy escapes as waste through the chimney, ducts, pipes, or other outlets. Put simply, the higher a furnace’s AFUE rating, the more energy efficient that furnace is.
As you might expect, you’ll generally pay more for a more efficient furnace. If you’re comparing two units with the same power source and BTU capacity but one costs significantly more than the other, it’s likely that the more expensive model has a higher AFUE rating and therefore wastes less energy.
All new furnaces now have to have an AFUE higher than 78%. So, the lowest efficiency units you’ll find currently on the market have a rating of about 80% to 89%. Modern models with AFUE ratings of 90% – 95% are what you could call mid-efficiency. High efficiency models with nationwide ENERGY STAR certification have ratings of 96% or greater.
|EFFICIENCY LEVEL||AFUE RATING||RELATIVE COST|
|Lowest efficiency (old units)||Less than 78%||Not available for new installations|
|Low efficiency (modern units)||80% – 89%||$|
|Mid-efficiency||90% – 95%||$$|
|High efficiency||96% and greater||$$$|
As is the case with any product, furnaces from certain brands will inherently cost more than others. Units from more expensive brands might have exclusive features, higher quality construction, or greater name recognition and credibility. You will have to look into the specific brands you’re interested in to find out exactly what they have to offer.
Some of the most popular and reputable makers of furnaces include Trane, American Standard, Bryant, Carrier, Lennox, Rheem, Heil, Goodman, Maytag, Armstrong, and York.
We used sample furnaces from each brand to calculate the average price you can expect to pay for a model from each maker. Keep in mind, these are average prices from various sources on the internet, and you could end up with a model that’s much cheaper or more expensive than the estimates given here.
These numbers will give you a good idea of which brands are typically more affordable. We’ve ranked the most widely recognized furnace brands from least expensive to most expensive.
*includes materials and labor
Electric furnaces can rely on eco-friendly power sources such as a geothermal system or solar panels. These systems can have very high upfront costs, especially if you have to install the whole geothermal or solar power system itself.
If you have the money, these environmentally conscious energy sources are worth it — “green” furnaces will save you money on fuel costs while helping to save the environment. You might also be eligible for certain rebates or tax credits if you opt for eco-friendly heating. (More on this later.)
|“GREEN” POWER SOURCE||TYPICAL PRICE RANGE FOR INSTALLATION|
|Geothermal power||$2,000 – $35,000|
|Solar power||$10,600 – $30,000|
Variable speed furnaces
Many furnaces have a simple single-stage blower, which means the only settings are “on” and “off” — no in between. Some have a two-stage blower instead, which means there is a low power setting (usually about 70% power) and a high power setting (100% power), and you can switch between them as needed to increase efficiency.
Note: The “blower” is the component of your furnace that blows the heated air throughout your home. It consists of a motor and a fan that work together.
Furnaces with a variable speed feature are far more versatile than the two types mentioned above. “Variable speed” means exactly what it sounds like. These furnaces have hundreds of personalized speed settings. You have the power to adjust the speed of the blower as you see fit, giving you more control over the heating of your home and the energy efficiency of your furnace.
A variable speed furnace will use less energy than a single-stage or two-stage model (if you use it correctly), so it could end up saving you money in the long run. But the upfront cost of a variable speed unit will be much higher.
Tax credits / rebates
In some states, you may qualify for special tax credits from the government or rebates from your utility company if you choose an eco-friendly furnace. Consult your state’s laws and your utility company’s policies to find out if your area is eligible.
If you want these credits or rebates, you will have to choose an ENERGY STAR-certified furnace. In the southern U.S. where winters don’t get too cold, that includes models with an AFUE rating of at least 90%. The standard is higher for northern states, where a furnace needs a 95% or higher rating to qualify.
Using a “green” energy source like geothermal or solar also may qualify for credits, rebates, or other incentives. Again, it depends on where you live and your utility company.
You might be required to pay for one or more building permits to install a new furnace. What kind of permit you need and its cost will depend on city, county, and municipality ordinances.
In general, a new furnace permit could cost from $400 to $1,500. The permitting process usually will include the cost of an HVAC inspection of your system. Your HVAC pro should be able to help you navigate the permit process. They may even handle the whole thing for you and simply add the permit fee to your bill.
So far, we have covered only factors that affect the cost of a new furnace, but sometimes, along with installing a furnace, you’ll have to pay for some related services to complete the project. Don’t let these additional costs sneak up on you and send you way over your furnace budget.
Furnace removal cost
If your new furnace will replace an old one (which is likely the case unless your home is new construction), you will have to get rid of the old unit. You may be able to find local recyclers that will take your old furnace off your hands for free.
To hire a professional dumping service or pay your HVAC contractor to remove and dispose of the furnace for you, you could spend from $55 to $328 depending on the distance to the dumpsite and any related fees.
Cost to install ductwork
When you get a new furnace, you may need new ductwork. Here’s why: If you install a furnace with incompatible ductwork, the system won’t function properly. Ask your HVAC pro if your specific project requires new ductwork.
Factors like the number of stories or type of insulation your home has can affect how much you pay for new ductwork. Most homeowners pay from $2,000 to $5,000 for new ductwork.
Cost to install air conditioner
When your furnace needs replacing, the other half of your HVAC system — the air conditioner — might be due for an upgrade, too. Expect to add an extra $3,338 to $7,425 to your overall project cost for a new A/C installation.
You often can save on labor costs by having the furnace and air conditioner replaced at the same time as opposed to replacing each one separately. You also may be able to synchronize the warranties and maintenance schedules for both halves of the HVAC system.
No matter what kind of furnace you choose to install or how nice the model is, it will eventually need repairs or maintenance of some kind. This is a good time to remember that electric furnaces are the lowest maintenance option of the three most popular power sources. Often, you will be able to repair minor issues in an electric furnace on your own.
If you have to call an HVAC contractor to work on your furnace, the specific repair or maintenance you need will determine the cost. A typical service call, which could range from fixing a wiring issue to deep cleaning, costs between $80 and $300.
A good rule to follow for furnace repairs (or any repairs, really) is that if the repair will cost one-third or more the cost of a replacement, go ahead and replace.
New Furnace Cost by Location
Climate has a huge influence on what type of furnace you can use, what features it needs, and how much it will cost to install and run. By extension, location is a major player in deciding your specific new furnace cost.
Homeowners in the South will have more options, since their winters don’t get too intense and their furnace won’t have to do much heavy-duty heating. Electric furnaces or furnaces with lower AFUE ratings usually can meet a southern home’s needs just fine.
Up North, where temperatures drop below freezing for weeks at a time and homeowners endure regular snowstorms, you will need a powerful gas furnace, which will cost more to install (especially if your home isn’t close to a natural gas line).
Labor costs will vary by location, too. Where the cost of living is higher, contractor’s labor rates will be higher, too. That means a furnace installation in a big city will almost always cost a lot more than in a small town. If you live in a metropolitan area, don’t be surprised if your HVAC contractor’s estimate is higher than the national averages we’ve covered here.
FAQ About New Furnaces
Common indicators that you’re due for a furnace replacement include:
— Your furnace has needed two or more repairs in two years
— Energy bills are skyrocketing
— Uneven heating or failure to reach set temperature
— Short cycling (when the unit turns on and off strangely often)
— Banging, rattling, or other unusual noises coming from the unit
— Smell of burning plastic or metal
— Smell of gas (signals a gas leak — turn off the furnace, leave the house with your family and pets, and call a professional immediately)
How long your furnace lasts will depend on the furnace type. In general, this is how long you can expect each furnace type to last if you take good care of it:
— Gas furnace lifespan: 20 to 30 years
— Electric furnace lifespan: 15 to 25 years
— Oil furnace lifespan: 15 to 25 years
A furnace heats air from a central location, then uses a blower to move the hot air through ducts throughout your home.
A boiler heats water that then travels through your home, heating a radiator in each room as it goes. A new boiler costs between $3,500 and $8,500.
A heat pump transfers heat from the ground, air, or water outside your home to the inside of your home.
If you need a new furnace, you will need to hire a professional HVAC installer — there’s no way around it. By attempting to install your own furnace, you run the risk of wasting a lot of money and putting your family in danger.
You will usually pay a contractor between $2,383 and $6,110 for the furnace itself, any additional materials needed for installation, and labor. The national average new furnace cost is around $4,247.
To calculate your specific new furnace budget, think about the size of your home, the power source you want your furnace to run on, how efficient the unit needs to be, how much you will need your furnace in winter (North vs. South), and the other cost factors we’ve covered here.
Main Photo Credit: John Loo / Flickr / CC BY 2.0