These days, there’s a push to ensure everything is “green”—that is, environmentally friendly. But for many people, cost savings are just as critical. Sometimes, these two needs go hand in hand, with green household items also equating to lower operating costs. In other cases, however, you’ll need to shell out more money in order to protect the environment. Most of the time, though, the situation is a bit more complicated. You might need to pay more up front, but the cost savings over time will be well worth it.

How does this apply when it comes to home heating? High-efficiency furnaces are more popular than ever before, but are they worth it, financially speaking? Below, we’ll break down some of the variables that affect high-efficiency furnace cost as well as how it compares to that of a traditional furnace.

What Is a High-Efficiency Furnace?

In a furnace, efficiency refers to its ability to convert fuel into useable heat energy. Due to the laws of physics, there will always be some waste when a furnace burns fuel. However, how much waste there is depends upon the efficiency of the furnace itself. Traditional furnaces can waste as much as 30 percent of the energy they generate, which translates to a lot of extra cost for the homeowners.

High-efficiency furnaces, on the other hand, can be as high as 95 percent efficient. That means that a lot more of the fuel you use is converted to useable energy, saving you a great deal of money in the process.

How Do They Work?

A conventional furnace works by generating heat by burning any one of various types of fuel. Coal, natural gas, and oil are the most common, but some home heaters utilize wood or other combustibles. This heat energy heats the air, which is then circulated throughout the home through a series of ducts. This is often where a lot of the heat energy is lost.

High-efficiency furnaces help to cut down on waste by passing the heated air through a secondary condenser. This absorbs a lot of the heat that would normally dissipate into the environment as waste. This heat that has been absorbed by the second condenser can then be recirculated back into the home.

As you might imagine, incorporating a second condenser is the major contributing factor to high-efficiency furnace cost. More components and more advanced technology not only increase the cost of the unit but also the cost of installation and maintenance.

How They Can Save You Money

The up-front cost of a high-efficiency furnace will usually be a good deal more than a conventional one, but there are several ways it can also lead to cost savings that are well worth considering.

First and foremost, it will very significantly cut down on fuel costs. Because the furnace utilizes the fuel more effectively, you’ll need to buy significantly less of it to achieve the same effects.

There’s also the potential increase in value the high-efficiency furnace will provide for the home itself. When shopping for a home, buyers are willing to pay more when it’s already outfitted with the latest technology and when they know they’ll save money as a result of energy-efficient equipment.

Finally, having a newer system in place may also mean less maintenance is necessary, although you’ll still want to have an HVAC professional periodically inspect and tune up your furnace to ensure it’s working at peak capacity.

How To Maximize Your Furnace’s Efficiency For Years To Come

When you’re calculating your high-efficiency furnace cost, you might notice that it’s not quite as effective as it was advertised. If this is the case, it may be that you haven’t taken the necessary steps to ensure the efficiency of the furnace is maximized. First, as we’ve mentioned, you’ll need to ensure that regular maintenance is performed by a licensed professional who is experienced with high-efficiency furnaces. Companies like Entek are your best bet since their technicians have worked with these types of systems a great deal.

Your HVAC professional will make sure all the components of your furnace are in good working order. A malfunctioning thermostat, for example, can cause the equipment to work harder than it needs to, ultimately costing you money. They’ll also make sure that none of the vents in your home are clogged. Clogged ducts also drive the costs up, as they reduce the efficiency of the HVAC system.

It’s not just the HVAC system itself that affects the efficiency of your furnace. The insulation of your home is also a major contributing factor. A poorly insulated attic or leaky windows can allow warm air to leak out and dramatically reduce the efficiency of your furnace. You’ll want to make sure your home is well insulated to maximize your high-efficiency furnace cost savings.

Getting Started With High-Efficiency Furnaces

If you think that a high-efficiency furnace is right for you, contact an HVAC professional who is experienced with them and ask about installing one in your home. Your HVAC technician will perform an inspection of the home and advise you on how effective such a furnace will be in your home. It’s critical that the right system for your space is used, or you won’t be able to achieve maximum cost savings on your energy bill. If a furnace is too large for the building, for example, it will end up wasting energy. On the other hand, if it is too small, it will have to work extra hard to generate heat, also driving up the cost.

Don’t forget to do your research when looking for a contractor to install an HVAC unit for you. Check references, read reviews, and talk to other customers. With high-efficiency furnaces, it’s necessary to go with a contractor who is highly skilled in this area. If they aren’t, you may not be able to maximize your cost savings.