How Ya Feelin’ – Hot, Hot, Hot

Furnace shopping, it would almost be fun if…. no, actually it’s not fun. But necessary, especially when your’s is on the fritz and older than you. With our home energy audit, we also qualified for a doubled up rebate, knocking $1,000 off the price of the unit. Which is nice, because come to find out, furnaces are actually kind of pricey! Initially, we were quoted for a single phase furnace at 95% efficiency. On paper, it sounded good to me, especially since the price was only $2,675 – prior to the rebate, making the entire investment a bit more affordable than I was initially braced for, which is always a pleasant surprise.

For a conventional single-phase furnace, the furnace is on at all times – an all or nothing type of deal. It’s a bit more basic, and less expensive, and the hubby wanted some upgraded features that this one did not have so this option got the boot. Which was actually rather tragic, as it was without a doubt the most economical option. Here is a photo of the Lennox ML195, which is the 95% efficient furnace option through Lennox. Let’s all wave goodbye to this one, with a tear on my eye… For reference, we were quoted $2,675 for a 66kBtu unit. After the rebate, that baby comes down all the way to $1,675. Can ya see why I’m crying now!

Lennox ML195
Lennox ML195

Once we notched up our expectations for the unit a bit, we saw a pretty substantial increase in price, which is always kind of a whomp, whomp moment. Given how large the investment is however, we really want to make sure we select just the right option to ensure we will be super happy with our investment in the long term. In our last house, we were kind fly by night salesmen, being in and out of that joint in just over 2-years. We plan to keep this house as a base camp for a bit longer, so we find ourselves really thinking a bit more intently on these big dollar purchases.

The next unit up for Lennox {which was the only brand we were looking at, largely due to the supplier for the rebate being affiliated with the brand – not ideal, but they seem like a good brand overall} was the EL296V, which is a dual-stage unit, with 96% efficiency. Here is a rundown on the specs on this unit, and the quote we received.

  • Variable speed motor, reduces energy usage by up to 2/3 versus conventional motors
  • 96% Efficiency, Energy Star Certified
  • Dual-fuel capability
  • Quote: $3,999 {110kbtu}

As mentioned, the prices started notching up with enhanced features. And in all honesty, not gonna lie, I had some serious sticker shock with this one. It didn’t help that they waited a few days later to present this one as an option, and I had already kind of latched on to the initial, less expensive one.

Lennox Furnace options
Lennox EL296V

After asking the HVAC dudes lots of questions, we started to edge a bit closer to this one, the Lennox EL195E. Although it is a single stage, which Jay was initially not gelling with, it’s a special type that has an enhanced fan, which brings it to 33% more efficient than the baseline option, and helps mimic the performance you see with a dual-stage unit. This one offered:

  • Single-stage, with power save technology
  • 95% Efficiency, Energy Star Certified
  • Duel-fuel capability
  • Quote: $3,150 {66kbtu}

And really, when we {I} started to crunch the numbers a bit more, I increasingly had a difficult time eating the extra cost of the dual-phase furnace. When I saw the cost breakdown though of the long-term savings over 3-years, I really started to scratch my head on the best option for us, and ultimately, we’ve decided on the Lennox EL195E.

And here is my reasoning…

  • We were looking at a $849 difference in pricing
  • Estimated cost savings over 3-years for the EL296V, below
Lennox EL296V cost savings
Cost savings for EL296V Furnace unit
  • Estimated cost savings over 3-years for EL195E
Lennox EL195E Cost Savings
Cost Savings EL195E

For me, seeing that there was only a $53 savings between the two units over three years, I just couldn’t justify the $849 increase in pricing. Per month, that equals out to $1.47 in savings for the more expensive unit, which would equate to 48 years to pay off! Plus, we really skimp on our heat anyway, so we’ve found that the estimates on cost savings have been a bit inflated based on our actual monthly consumption rates, so I’m not even certain if we would see the full $53.

So…. although we were pegging for the ultra efficient unit, ultimately, based on our current consumption patterns – we opted to pocket the $849 and go with the slightly scaled back option. I mean, our furnace is 26 years old and rated at just over 65% efficient (!), so I am pretty sure anything will be a pretty solid improvement! 😉 Can’t WAIT to see what our utility bills start to look like by next winter!

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