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How Much Does a Furnace Cost?

How Much Does a Furnace Cost?


This is typically the very first question most potential clients ask us. They ask, “What’s the ballpark price? Please, just give me an idea of how much it will cost!”


Our challenge is that this is a simple question that cannot be answered with a simple, single number!  There are so many different things to consider when selecting a furnace for your home that it really is difficult to give a “ballpark price” and serve the client to the highest level – unless the ballpark we’re talking about here is the size of every major league sports stadium within the continental US. Let’s dive into some of the things that really affect furnace pricing so you will have a better of idea what to expect when you need a new furnace (hint: not if)!


To start, it is nearly impossible to do a proper manual j (heat) calculation over the telephone. This is the industry standard measurement used by professionals to measure the thermal factors and requirements inside your physical home. These calculations include but are not limited to home square footage, windows (including sizes, types, and cardinal directions), insulation types and values, framing, home finishings, number of people in the home on average and where they sleep, and even area climate details. Using online tools like Google Maps or DaftLogic however, we can get a somewhat close idea. The point of these calculations is to tell us how much heat (how many BTU’s) your home will need to maintain a comfortable temperature.


We also need to understand things like your home’s current ductwork details - sizing, how much airflow can it handle, and how much air it is currently leaking (again – nearly always a question of how much and not if). The new furnace needs to be properly and accurately sized to your current ductwork to ensure optimal performance and noise levels during operation. If there is significant air leakage (most homes in Calgary tend to leak a minimum of approximately 20-30%), a lot of the heat your furnace produces will not get to where you want it to go (imagine trying to pressure wash a wall or patio with a soaker hose instead of a garden hose or other high-pressure hose). As well, we also need to understand how your current furnace is vented. New, high-efficiency systems have different venting requirements and may necessitate new piping. Condensate drainage is also important, as new systems create condensation that needs to drain into a floor drain, washing machine drain, or other drain your home should already have in place nearby.


Of course, another criterion to consider when selecting a new furnace is personal preference – what sort of heating comfort do you desire? What do you need? Does your current system deliver your heat in a way that provides optimal comfort? Is it quiet enough for you? Are there other issues going on in your life that a new furnace or supplementary devices will help you with?


Ultimately, after all of these questions are accurately answered and we can determine the proper size system with everything that you want to make the temperature in your home comfortable, we can confidently talk about price. Ballpark pricing is an interesting thing – it is the same for every company.  We all work in the same “ballpark.” The difference(s) between service providers lie in the details of how the work gets done – a company’s size, its overhead expenses, types of insurance carried, what guarantees and warranties are offered, how much and how often service expert training is invested in, how many experts are working for them, whether or not they support clients 24/7 or only Monday through Friday 9-5, etc. There are so many variables that directly affect the level of service that a provider delivers that it really is impossible to give you a realistic price over the phone.  Do you really want to make a major appliance purchase decision on a “ballpark price?” A competent and trustworthy provider will never want to make a guess with your money - our clients and their satisfaction are too important to us to gamble with.


Essentially, the answer to the question, “How much does a furnace cost?” is “it depends.” The significant investment that you are deciding to make is worth a few hours of your time to be open to some education that will put you in a position to fully understand what you are getting and perhaps most importantly why. For all of these reasons and likely a few more, an in-person consultation is the best and frankly, only way to accomplish this without risking mismatched equipment, poor-quality workmanship, surprise charges, or changes to your home’s construction on the day of installation, and ultimately compromises to your home’s indoor comfort.


Most of us would not purchase a vehicle or hire a landscaper without some due diligence and an in-person meeting to discuss specific details – so why would you choose to do so with the equipment that will be providing the heat and comfort to your home?