How much does a furnace cost?
On average, you can expect to pay between $2,600 and $6,400 to install or replace an existing furnace. This cost includes equipment and labor from an HVAC professional. When your furnace breaks, it’s best to be prepared upfront for the costs of repair or replacement.
How do furnaces work?
Most home furnaces use gas or electricity, but some homes run on oil or coal, especially in the Northeast. A standard furnace uses a flame or metal heat exchanger with a fan that distributes the heated air throughout your house through a system of ductwork. This is often referred to as a “forced-air” system. An alternative to this system is a heat pump; these are mostly in hotter, humid areas of the country that don't see particularly cold winters.
All furnaces should be serviced regularly, and all will eventually have to be replaced. However, having a basic knowledge of common problems will help you troubleshoot and better understand the issue you’re facing. If it’s a minor issue you may be able to fix it yourself, but it’s usually best to get a repair estimate from a licensed HVAC company.
Common symptoms of a bad furnace include:
- Your furnace isn’t turning on: If you have a gas furnace (or in some cases an older electric furnace), the pilot light may have gone out. This is typically something you can fix yourself by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Locate your furnace's pilot light assembly and reset switch, turn the switch off to allow any gas to dissipate, and then turn it back on by holding a lighter or a match to it until you see the pilot light burning steadily.
- Your furnace is old: All furnaces will have to be replaced at some point. Newer models can last 20 to 30 years, but older, less efficient models should be inspected once they reach around 15 years. After 15 years you should prepare for the possibility of a major repair or replacement.
- Your energy bills are increasing: If you notice a spike in your gas or electricity bill, it could mean that your furnace needs to be repaired or replaced due to a leak or malfunctioning component.
- There’s unexplained illness in your home: In some cases a broken furnace can cause carbon monoxide leaks in your home. Possible symptoms of a leak are headaches, burning eyes and nausea. If you’re experiencing any of these and suspect a carbon monoxide leak from your furnace, call your local HVAC contractor immediately.
How much does a new furnace cost?
Buying and installing a new furnace usually costs from $2,600 to $6,400.
Buying a new furnace and installing it generally costs anywhere from $2,600 to $6,400, with an average cost of about $4,500 with installation. Factors affecting the cost of a new furnace include the following:
- Type: Gas furnaces are more expensive than electric models. You can expect to spend a starting price of $2,600 for an electric furnace, while a gas furnace starts at around $3,800.
- Energy efficiency: The higher the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating, the more efficient the furnace is, and the more it costs. Furnaces with an AFUE rating of 80% to 85% are considered to have standard efficiency. Middle-range efficiency models will have 90% to 95% AFUE ratings, and high-efficiency models are 96% and higher.
- Power: For homes with a livable space of over 2,400 square feet, you’ll need a larger (and more expensive) furnace. Furnace power is measured in British thermal units. For a home of 2,000 square feet in a colder climate, you want around 100,000 BTU.
- Installation needs: Installation and labor costs vary by the company and home. For example, if you’re switching from an electric to gas furnace, you may have to pay for new gas lines to be installed or for additional permitting. Or, if you’re relocating your furnace you’ll likely need to pay for new sections of ductwork and drywall repair and replacement. Labor costs usually range from $500 to $2,000.
One way to cut down the cost of repairing or replacing a broken-down furnace is having a home warranty. This type of service contract covers the cost to repair or replace specific appliances and systems in the house. As long as your plan covers a furnace, you file a claim and pay a service call fee from $60 to $125 (depending on the terms of your contract), and the warranty company sends a licensed local technician to your home and make the repair or replacement. You owe nothing further out of pocket. A home warranty generally lasts for a year and costs $300 to $600.
How much does it cost to repair a furnace?
If your furnace is under 15 years old and has been regularly maintained, it can likely be repaired for a much lower cost than replacing it. Start by having a licensed HVAC company assess the problem and offer a quote so you can weigh your options for repair and replacement. Average hourly rates for a licensed technician run between $50 to $100, with the amount of labor depending on what’s wrong with your system and what parts are needed.
Average furnace repair costs are between $130 and $480, though you’ll see higher prices with a gas furnace than an electric one. If your furnace is over 15 years old and the repair will cost you more than $1,000 dollars, you should consider replacing it. Another good rule of thumb is if your repair charges add up to more than 50% of what a new system would cost, you should opt to replace it completely.
Here are some common furnace repair costs:
- Flame sensor: $75 to $250
- New or repaired ductwork: $8 to $12 per linear foot
- Igniter: $150 to $300
- Gas valve: $200 to $1,000
- Blower motor: $400 to $1,500
How much does it cost to replace a furnace?
On average, you can expect to pay between $2,600 to $6,400 in total to replace a furnace, though costs for a gas furnace can be up to $10,000. Labor costs make up 20% to 30% of the total cost, while equipment, permits and removal of your old furnace make up 15% to 25% of the total cost.
Be sure to get quotes from multiple companies when you’re looking to replace your furnace. Examine all costs associated with the quote, including parts, labor, permits, removal of the old furnace and any additional fees.
Factors involved in furnace costs
There are many factors that go into determining the price of a furnace, and it’s important to understand them so you’re in the best position to evaluate your options.
- Energy efficiency: Energy efficiency is measured by the AFUE rating, and the higher the rating, the more expensive the unit is. Aim to get one that has at least 80% efficiency, as this is the industry standard.
- Power: The larger your house, the more power you’ll need. Most homes will need 30 to 50 BTU per square foot, but if you live in an area with harsh, cold winters you might need more. Keep in mind your ultimate energy output is a function of both the AFUE rating and the power.
- Brand: As with any appliance, you’ll see a range of prices from one brand to another. More expensive gas models come from Trane, Rheem, American Standard and Carrier, while less expensive models can be found from Goodman and Amana.
- Installation: Installation costs can potentially add thousands of dollars to your overall price tag. However, if you’re simply swapping out one model of the same size and type for another, your installation costs will be minimal. On the other hand, if you’re upgrading to a larger unit or transitioning from electric to gas, you’re likely looking at higher labor charges for services like ductwork installation and running new gas lines to your home.
- Tax credit: At the time of publishing, there is a $150 federal tax credit available for homeowners who install Energy Star-certified gas furnaces.
Types of furnaces
Although gas furnaces are the most prevalent model in the U.S., you may also be considering an electric, oil or propane furnace.
- Natural gas: Gas furnaces are very popular and tend to be the most economical, since natural gas is a cheaper form of energy. They can burn either natural gas or propane and work from a central heating unit to blow hot air through your home’s ductwork.
- Electric: Electric models are often much cheaper to buy and install than gas models, but they cost significantly more to run. These tend to be more popular in the Southeast, where winters are milder and furnaces don’t get as much use as in colder parts of the country. Electric furnaces often last longer than gas models.
- Oil: Oil furnaces are much more common in the Northeast than elsewhere, where access to natural gas is more limited.
Replacing a furnace is expensive, with an average cost of about $4,500. Repair costs are usually under $500. Performing regular maintenance on your furnace, like replacing the filter and having it professionally inspected, can lengthen its life. However, if you know your furnace is over 15 years old, you should start looking at your options for replacement so you’re not surprised when this major expense comes due.
- Article sources
- ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page.
- Climate Central, “The Fuel You Use For Heating Depends on Where You Live.” Accessed Sept. 28, 2021.
- Energy Star, “Equipment Tax Credits for Primary Residences.” Accessed Sept. 28, 2021.
You’re signed up
We’ll start sending you the news you need delivered straight to you. We value your privacy. Unsubscribe easily.