The True Cost of Owning a Furnace
When we buy anything, there is what you pay for it and then there are the other costs associated with owning it. Over the life of the item, we call this the true cost of ownership.
On a small scale, when you buy a puppy, you may pay a couple of hundred dollars, but the true costs of owning that puppy is much higher; vaccinations and health care, food and treats, a bed, toys, dental care, boarding or pet sitting, and everything else over the life of the dog ends up being a lot more than what you thought you were paying for the dog.
On a larger scale, think about buying a car, many of us start by thinking about how much of a car payment can I afford to pay each month. We don’t usually think about the other costs associated with owning a car, the true cost to own that car. How much will this increase my insurance, will I need to put more expensive gas in it, how much does it cost to replace the tires, maintenance, repairs, am I going to go get one of those monthly car wash memberships; all costs that you should probably factor in if you want to figure out which car you can afford.
You may be asking yourself what, if anything, does that have to do with buying a furnace. It’s the same thing; you have the price to get a new furnace and the cost associated with owning/ operating that furnace. Our goal in writing this article is to give you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision that is best for you and your situation.
CHOOSING A FURNACE:
The 2 main things to consider when choosing the furnace that is right for your home is the size and efficiency. Most of us don’t have the technical knowledge it takes to figure that out. This is why we call an HVAC contractor to come and give us a “bid” to replace our furnace. After he’s taken measurements of your home, how many occupants are living there, how many windows and doors you have, anticipated usage, etc., he should be able to give you a price -- and this is as far as most people go when choosing which furnace they want.
This method will show you how much you’re going to pay for a new furnace but if you like to know which furnace is going to cost you less, over its life, to own -- here are some often overlooked costs to consider:
1 - OPERATING COSTS
One of the biggest expenses of owning a furnace are the operating costs; therefore, this is one of the biggest consideration when estimating the true costs of owning a furnace. Another way of thinking about operating costs is determining the efficiency of your unit.
Efficiency is the measurement that tells you how well your system can convert a unit of energy into heat. Efficiency is measured as a percentage and is a universal measurement and should be consistent across brands. Based on the efficiency of the equipment, gas rates, and how many degree days you have in your area, you should be able to estimate how much it would cost to operate that furnace. Not all technicians are trained on how to make these calculations, so, if you ask for the information from the person you’re getting a quote from and they seem like they don’t know how to calculate it, you may want to get a second opinion.
2 - REPAIRS
Unfortunately, furnaces don’t last forever. When they break it is not usually to a point that they can’t be repaired, so it is important to anticipate there will be repair cost associated with owning your furnace. Thankfully the repairs don’t come until years after the furnace is installed but when calculating the true cost of ownership there is a number we can use. Over the life of the system, you average about $250 a year in repairs. The average lifespan of a furnace is around 10 years so as you see this is a real expense that adds to the cost of owning your furnace.
When choosing a furnace, ask the company selling it to you about their warranties, this can help eliminate some of those repair cost, therefore lowering the true cost of owning the furnace they sell you. A pretty standard thing in the industry is to have a 1 year parts and labor warranty from the company installing it and a limited 10 year parts warranty from the manufacturer. There are companies out there that offer longer warranties that cover labor so keep that in mind.
In the end, your most important ally is information. Beyond the upfront cost of a furnace, what are the true costs? Even if it means paying a little more initially, sometimes that can save you much, much more in the long run in operating costs, maintenance, and warranty issues.
If you are in the market for a new furnace and want to figure out which furnace has the true lowest cost, we can help you get the information you need.
In the end, your most important ally is research. Beyond the upfront cost of a furnace, what are the true costs? Even if it means paying a little more initially, sometimes that can save you much, much more in the long run in operating costs, maintenance, and warranty issues.
Author: Amber Smith-Johnson
Copyright © 2020 by Any Hour Services
Dec 30th 2019