What Is The Cost Of A New Furnace In Calgary?
Over 80 percent of homes in Alberta use forced-air furnaces as their primary heating system.
So, selecting the right furnace for a home is a common dilemma for Calgary homeowners — especially with so many options available now.
As always, cost is one of the main factors to consider. The average cost of a furnace in Calgary varies from $4,500 to $8,500 including installation. That may sound like a wide range but furnaces vary greatly in size, efficiency, warranties and more.
The significant investment required makes upgrading a furnace one of the “big ticket” items to consider for your home — and a decision not to be rushed. Your furnace is likely to be a huge part of your home for the next 15-20 years so you owe it to your family’s finances to choose wisely!
We’ve broken down furnace prices in Calgary to include various options. We’ve also detailed all the main factors that impact cost and answered some of the most frequently asked questions:
Table of Contents
How much does a furnace cost in Calgary?
If you’re replacing an old furnace in the Calgary area, what can you expect to pay on average? The table below breaks down the costs of the main types of furnaces:
The prices above include installation but may vary depending on the warranty.
As you can see, furnace prices in Calgary vary greatly: from $4,500 for the most basic furnace up to around $8,500 for a top-end, highest-efficiency furnace.
All furnaces sold in Canada must meet certain efficiency requirements (more about this below) but even high-efficiency furnaces do vary.
Because of the potential energy savings month-on-month, many Calgary homeowners bite the bullet with the upfront costs and now opt for the best high-efficiency furnaces, which are generally priced between $7,200 and $8,500.
Furnace pricing must be tailored to the requirements of each home. If you’d like to skip the rest of this article and simply get a tailored quote for a new furnace in your Calgary home, contact us here or call 402-236-4366.
Why do furnace prices fluctuate by thousands of dollars?
The dramatic fluctuation in furnace prices can be alarming when you’re shopping around for the best furnace deals. How can you trust the price you’re quoted? Are you getting a sub-standard furnace that will cost you more in energy bills every month?
Many factors can influence what the final furnace replacement cost adds up to because there are so many variables: not only the efficiency of the unit and the warranty but also the size and type of furnace (different mechanics), the brand and the company looking after the installation.
Let’s look at each of the factors that influence the cost of a furnace in Calgary in more detail so that you can feel more confident about making the right selection…
Which factors impact furnace cost?
The size and efficiency of your furnace are the two most influential factors when it comes to the cost of a furnace in Calgary — but they’re not the only factors we need to consider.
Furnace sizes range from small 30,000 – 40,000 BTU units to huge, 200,000 BTU units. There is no one-size-fits-all option.
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. Originally defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit, BTU is now the accepted measurement for the power of heating (and cooling) equipment in North America and the UK. It essentially measures how much gas is required for the furnace to work properly.
The main factor that affects the required BTU rating of your furnace is the size of your home (i.e., its square footage). The larger the area, the greater power is required to heat it, all other factors being equal. This is common sense.
But the BTU required is also affected by the building type, construction, age and insulation efficiency in your home. If heat is escaping through poor insulation or construction, you may need to address that before installing a new furnace that’s larger than you’d otherwise need. Older homes generally need more heating capacity than similarly sized but better-insulated modern homes.
Similarly, the design and layout of your home (how the surface area is distributed between floors) is a factor. Some very large homes need more than one furnace or must be set up with heat distribution zones.
A furnace that’s too big for the needs of your home could result in “short cycling” and uneven temperature distribution throughout your home, which is not good for your family’s comfort levels. It will also likely shorten the life span of the main components of your unit.
A furnace that’s too small will need to run more frequently for longer to keep your home warm. Not only can this raise energy bills but asking your furnace to work too hard will also shorten its life and could lead to failure and expensive heating repairs — or even premature replacement.
Most Calgary homes are sized between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet and require a furnace of between 45,000 and 135,000 BTU. The following is a good general guideline for the size requirements for furnaces in Calgary homes:
The BTU rating of the unit is a major influencer of the furnace price. To assess what you need requires an experienced eye that balances the size of your home with other factors that affect the cost of furnaces in Calgary (most importantly, the efficiency of the unit).
At Alberta Mountain Air, we’ve been recommending heating solutions for the Calgary area since 2004. Our experienced technicians can help assess what your home requires. Call us now for a heating assessment and estimate for your home.
Equally as important as size to the cost of a furnace is the type/efficiency of the unit.
Older furnaces tend to be inefficient compared to the modern furnaces sold in Canada. That’s because, since the Energy Efficiency Act was passed in 2019, every furnace sold here must have a minimum efficiency level of 95 percent.
Previously, the minimum standard in Canada was just 78 percent (pre-2010) and 90 percent (between 2010 and 2019).
The latest regulations essentially mean that 95 percent of the energy used by a furnace must do what it is designed for: producing heat. Or, to put it another way, for every $1 spent on energy, a minimum of 95 cents is used to produce heat, with only five cents spent on wasted energy.
This efficiency is achieved with an advanced design that ensures minimal heat is lost before the conditioned air is delivered. Advanced duct insulation can also raise efficiency.
Generally speaking, the higher upfront costs of high-efficiency furnaces are more than offset by the monthly savings on energy bills. An average high-efficiency furnace can save 10.34 KJ of energy per year according to the Clean Energy Improvement Program of Alberta. This translates to hundreds of dollars of savings on energy bills every year and many thousands during its lifetime.
The measure of a furnace’s efficiency is the AFUE rating (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). So, furnaces must have an AFUE rating of 95 percent or greater in Canada. In fact, most of the best high-efficiency furnaces sold have an AFUE of 96 percent or higher (up to 99 percent efficiency).
Before we take a closer look at the three basic types of furnaces available in Calgary, we should remind ourselves that gas furnaces need electricity to power the components that generate the heat that warms your house. So, when we consider energy efficiency, it’s not just about gas usage — but also electricity usage.
Some furnaces of equal AFUE can vary heating output and airflow to further reduce both gas and electricity use.
Single-stage furnaces are the least expensive furnace option in Calgary. Many homes with open floor plans and townhomes choose them.
These furnaces have a fixed-speed electronically commutated motor (ECM motor) that blows air at one speed and heating output. The furnace shuts off when the required temperature (specified on the thermostat) has been reached.
A new single-stage furnace will consume 20-40 percent less gas than an old furnace, greatly improving efficiency and lowering heating costs.
The cost of a single-stage furnace in Calgary typically ranges from around $4,500 up to $5,500 (fully installed).
Two-stage furnaces are a step up from single-stage models in terms of efficiency though they usually have the same AFUE rating (96 percent).
These furnaces can operate at multiple speeds to save energy, matching heating output to demand. The only controlling mechanism for single-stage furnaces is the thermostat, i.e., when the desired temperature is reached, the system shuts off. Two-stage furnaces, however, can run at low speed if the weather is mild or your home is already warm and at high speed if the weather (and your home) is cold.
The main benefit of the two-stage furnace is that its smart adaptability to heating requirements saves electricity as well as gas usage. Also, because they start and stop less frequently than single-stage furnaces, they result in less wear and tear of parts and they operate more quietly.
Many two-story homes use two-stage furnaces because they can heat multiple levels consistently.
By most estimates, a new two-stage furnace with an ECM blower uses 30 percent less gas and 33 percent less electricity than a new single-stage furnace.
You may also have the option of a variable blower for your two-stage furnace. This can save additional electricity costs by running continuously at very low speeds.
The price of a two-stage furnace in Calgary typically ranges from around $5,500 up to $7,200 (fully installed).
The third type of high-efficiency furnace available in Calgary is a modulating furnace, which is the undisputed “king of efficiency” when it comes to furnaces.
Modulating furnaces operate at 99 percent AFUE and are suitable for all types of homes. They run quietly and efficiently for extended periods, using around 10 percent less gas than a two-stage furnace and, therefore, providing further savings on energy bills.
A variable-speed blower and modulating gas valve help modulating furnaces to adjust heating output from 30 percent to 100 percent. A smart thermostat also works to monitor and maintain a consistent temperature in the home.
The price of a modulating furnace in Calgary typically ranges from around $6,500 up to $8,500 (fully installed).
Furnaces from the most reliable and established brands, such as Lennox and Trane, offer excellent warranties for every furnace produced. They are built to a high standard and the manufacturers back this with “proof” of their longevity.
For instance, the Lennox warranty typically includes the following:
- 5-10 years on covered components
- 5-10 years on compressor
- 20 years or Limited Lifetime on heat exchanger (depending upon model)
Warranties vary according to particular product collections as well as manufacturers. With the investment required in a new furnace stretching to many thousands of dollars, the length of warranty can be a major “peace of mind” factor in a homeowner’s decision.
It’s also another factor when you consider the cost of a furnace in Calgary. If, for instance, you select a product with an inferior track record and shorter warranty, you could be paying for expensive repairs or replacement parts in a few years, adding significantly to the cost of ownership.
You will likely come across the same brands again and again when researching furnace prices in Calgary.
The home air comfort/HVAC industry is highly competitive and most of the major names you will see provide not only furnaces but a range of home air heating and cooling systems.
With furnaces, the most established brands in the Calgary area are:
These brands vary but most offer high-quality, high-efficiency furnaces with a good lifespan and a generous warranty for a competitive price. Some offer special discounts from time to time and if the timing’s right for you, this can save you hundreds of dollars, if not thousands.
Complexity of installation
Another factor that will affect the cost of a furnace in your Calgary home is the complexity of installation. This is largely determined by the unique design and features of your home.
Installation complexity should not be underestimated as a factor in the price of furnaces in Calgary. If your home fails to meet certain code requirements of Alberta homes, has complex venting and/or the new furnace must be placed in a different location to the new one, this can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of replacing a furnace.
Ideally, you understand the total costs before you have your furnace installed. No one likes surprises.
The types of complexities that can arise during the furnace installation process typically include the following:
- Electrical complications: new, high-efficiency furnaces require updated thermostats with different wiring than most older thermostats. A new wire may need to be routed from the thermostat location to the furnace.
- Furnace location: new furnaces are generally much more compact than old furnaces and may be better off in a different location in the home. Even with the compact nature of new furnaces, small stairwells, crawl spaces or certain basement configurations can complicate the installation.
- Customized or extra ductwork: sometimes, customized or additional ductwork is required for a new furnace to connect to (or replace) the existing ductwork.
- Building code compliance (venting): at least one metre of clearance is required between a house foundation and the property line on the side where the furnace vents. This can present problems for high-efficiency furnace installations, with venting sometimes requiring routing to another side of the house.
- Other permit and building code requirements: you need a permit for your new furnace and the cost of acquiring this from the City of Calgary should be included in the overall furnace price in your quote. Safe furnace installation and permit approval may require additional work, especially in older homes that still use asbestos that must be removed.
- Older hot water tanks: some hot water tanks in older homes create complications when new high-efficiency furnaces are installed because of their venting setups. If the old hot-water tank is not removed at the same time, extra chimney work may be required.
- Drainage requirements: when new, high-efficiency furnaces run, they produce condensates. You may need to install a hard-pipe drain line from the furnace to the nearest floor drain or, if there is no floor drain, you’ll need a pump to remove the condensate to another existing drain.
At Alberta Mountain Air, we’ll check and verify all the details during the quoting process for new equipment. If necessary, we will conduct a home visit to assess the installation process before providing the quote. The price you see for your furnace (including installation) will be the price you pay.
HVAC installation company
The HVAC company you choose affects the cost of a furnace in Calgary. As business services, installations are offered to increase profits — and each HVAC company has its overheads and costs to bear, which will affect the price they charge for installations.
Make sure you’re getting value for money by selecting an established installation company with a track record of glowing customer reviews.
Another factor to bear in mind is that all new furnace installations are regulated by the City of Calgary. The professionals who install your furnace are responsible for ensuring that all work passes inspection and approval.
According to the regulations, furnace installation can only be performed by a certified Journeyman Gas Fitter, Plumber, or Sheet Metal Worker (or an Apprentice under their supervision).
Don’t try to cut corners with your home furnace installation. Not only can you fall foul of the laws but a sub-standard installation may affect furnace safety, longevity and reliability.
A high-efficiency furnace installed by a licensed professional should last up to 20 years (or more in some cases) but if the longevity is reduced by poor installation work, you could lose many years of its life.
Ideally, the installation work will be guaranteed on top of the manufacturer’s warranty, so you are covered if any system failures occur due to the installation work.
Modern furnaces come with a variety of optional add-ons and extra equipment that you might consider at the time of installation.
The price of furnace add-ons in Calgary is almost always lower if you tick that box at the time of a new installation rather than adding it later.
For instance, the dry climate in Calgary means that many homes choose to install a humidifier with their new furnace. Some homeowners even take the opportunity when installing a new furnace to upgrade their whole-home air conditioning system, upgrade their hot water tank or add a tankless water heater.
This can potentially save on installation costs as it may require only one visit — and you might be able to arrange a special “package” deal with the HVAC company.
Other add-ons or options with furnaces include the following ideas for improving indoor air quality:
- UV lights: these help to keep your system clean by killing bacteria, mold and mildew, preventing it from circulating in the air of your home.
- PureAir systems: these can filter out allergens such as pollen and household dust and help maintain optimal airflow in your home.
- HEPA filters: your furnace’s blower motor may not be engineered to work with these deep filters so check with an HVAC professional first.
Older hot water tank and furnace systems may also need to modify or upgrade their exhaust system when a new furnace is installed.
How do you know when you need a new furnace?
Sometimes, it’s obvious that you need a new furnace: you’re spending a lot of money on regular repairs because it keeps breaking down or it’s 25-30 years old and making odd noises., such as popping, rattling, excessive humming or clicking.
However, other signs you need a new furnace are not so clear:
- Monthly energy bills are increasing without a good explanation: the unit costs are the same and your standard energy requirements have remained the same but bills are rising.
- Your home is not heated evenly: if certain areas of your home are colder than others, something could be wrong with your furnace.
- Poor air quality: toward the end of a furnace’s life, the air quality in your home can deteriorate, with more dust and unwanted particles circulating.
Most furnaces older than 15 years will need some attention from time to time but if the cost of heating maintenance and repairs gets excessive, it might be best to bite the bullet and buy a new one.
Furnace buying tips so you don’t pay over the odds…
If you’ve decided to buy a new furnace and want to ensure you get the best possible price, a few tips will go a long way to ensuring you get the best deal…
Do your research
With countless online resources at your fingertips, there’s no excuse not to research the makes, models, suppliers and installation companies for furnaces.
Customer testimonials and reviews tell you a lot about whether HVAC companies live up to their bold claims. Do customer comments really receive the excellence you expect? Do most customers give 4- or 5-star reviews?
Hunt for bargains in the summer
Generally, with furnaces, low costs are an indication of low-quality products, short warranties or poor installation processes. However, at certain times of the year, like spring and summer, you may be able to snag a special bargain on a model that HVAC companies are looking to clear.
Check the warranties of recommended products
Research the warranties on the recommended products as these may vary considerably. You want the peace of mind that your high-efficiency furnace will last 15-20 years after such a significant investment.
Ask if anyone visits your home
Will the HVAC company you’re talking to assess your heating requirements in detail before providing the quote? — with a full home assessment? — or just fire off a standard templated quote that may not apply to your property?
Furnace services must be tailored to the unique needs of your home or they are unlikely to be reliable.
Get several quotations
Why accept the first quote you receive? It’s common practice to get three quotes from suppliers, which will help you compare different brands, models and services and their costs.
Quotes from most established furnace companies in Calgary should be trustworthy but make sure that the total guaranteed pricing is confirmed in writing and you compare like with like before accepting a deal and committing to an installation. Hidden costs can be very frustrating for homeowners.
Each quote should include:
- The result of the home assessment (if applicable)
- The brand and precise furnace model recommended
- The ducting and thermostat(s) required
- Carbon-monoxide detector pricing
- Installation services
- Disposal fees, taxes and permit costs
- Warranty details
- The total price
- Financing terms (if applicable)
- The cost of removing the old unit (if applicable)
If a walk-through of your home has been conducted before quoting, all potential issues should be covered in the quote. However, you might want to check what happens if the HVAC professional encounters an unforeseen issue during installation, as does happen from time to time.
Who will remove my old unit?
With replacement furnace installations, the old furnace must be removed and recycled according to the regulations. This may involve a marginal extra flat rate cost.
Quotations for replacement furnaces should include this in the overall furnace price but it’s best to check this with your HVAC company to make sure there are no surprises.
At Alberta Mountain Air, new furnace installations in Calgary include the costs of removing the old unit.
Should I look for a financing plan to buy my new furnace?
A financing plan can help you manage the significant upfront costs of a new furnace installation by spreading the costs out over monthly payments. Most financing plans include at least three payments and some offer this at no interest.
At Alberta Mountain Air, we can offer furnace financing plans with Financeit with no payments and no interest for six months.
Heating advice from established Calgary home air partners…
When you wake to -30 temperatures this coming winter and contemplate having to drag yourself out of bed and scrape the ice off the car windscreen, you’ll quietly thank yourself that you chose the right furnace.
Armed with the above information, you should also be able to get your new high-efficiency furnace at the right price. Weigh up the main factors like efficiency, size, warranty and brand — and make sure you get your home assessed by established professionals before committing and arranging installation.
Selecting the right partner to advise you on your new furnace (as well as managing the installation) will help you get the most out of your new furnace and maintain the ideal home air environment for your family, while also reaping the benefits of lower energy bills.
Call Alberta Mountain Air at 403-236-4366 if you’re in Calgary and looking to replace your furnace. Alternatively, contact us online to schedule a call or email communication. All our Lennox furnaces come with industry-leading warranties and are installed by experienced, licensed technicians.
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