MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Under new guidelines, any home furnace purchased after May 1 must have an efficiency rating of 90 percent or higher. It’s a move to help cut energy costs, but some homeowners may find that making the upgrade won’t give them the savings they’re hoping for.
When a true Minnesota winter hits, most of us don’t hesitate to crank up the heat and we use more of it than many parts of the country
That’s part of why Minnesotans and people in 29 other states will be required to buy the highest efficiency furnaces, 90 percent and up, starting next spring. The U.S. Energy Department says it’ll save us money in the long run.
However, according to Aaron Daubanton with Bonfe’s Plumbing and Heating, high efficiency furnaces use different venting than the traditional 80 percent models. Instead of rooftop chimneys, they require PVC piping through an exterior wall. That can be expensive if you have a finished basement with a furnace toward the middle of the space.
Daubanton says on the low end, an 80 percent efficiency furnace can run you about $2,200 to $2,500 dollars, but a high efficiency model with the venting could be almost double to triple that figure.
Townhome owners could be hit hardest by installation cost. Because many don’t have basements, sheetrock and ceiling work is almost a certainty.
Some people are acting now to replace their furnace with an 80 percent efficiency unit before the deadline.
The best way for you to save money if you need to replace your furnace is to have a professional look at your space and discuss your options.