News & Advice


Energy-Efficient just means that its not low efficiency. But don’t let that fool you into believing that its High-Efficiency either. There IS a difference.

Most Energy-Efficient furnaces are 80% units with better and more efficient motors, and do a better job of burning excess gas, and run more efficiently than the lower-end models. However, High-Efficiency 95%> models are far better and far more efficient in their design and in the utilities that are required to perform the same task. The High-Efficiency models have smarter technology to utilize resources better, save you money, and is better for the environment inside and outside of your home.

A 80% Energy-Efficient furnace normally convert roughly 80% of the energy from gas into heat, and 20% escapes the home. Where a 96% High-efficiency furnaces converts 96% of the energy from gas into heat, and only 4% escapes the home, and will use less gas. They both perform even better when paired with a Smart Thermostat.

So, they’re environmentally-friendly?

Yes, but that’s only 1 benefit. High-Efficiency means lower utility bills, and not just nickels and dimes either. The savings can be reduced by 25% per month or hundreds of dollars a year. Many High-Efficiency models also have advanced motors that use far less electricity and are extremely quiet.

But, don’t High-Efficiency furnaces cost a lot more?

Well, yes and no. The initial price of the furnace costs more, but there may be some tax credits, instant rebates from local utilities, or other local incentives that can lower the price substantially — sometimes from $50 all the way up to $700 (where applicable).

So getting a High-Efficiency unit seems like the obvious choice. So why doesn’t everybody purchase the High-Efficiency models?

Well, sometimes the cost is more prohibitive, or sometimes it’s the wrong time in your home ownership plan.

High-efficiency furnaces have two PVC vent pipes, whereas older, less-efficient furnaces only have one metal exhaust pipe. The two pipe system is safer and more efficient, but running the pipe involves more labor and materials cost, and poking 3” holes in the side of the house (for exhaust and fresh air).

If you’re not planning on being in your current home for very long, the expense may not make as much sense for you, unless you factor the expense into the sale of the home. A high-efficiency system will be more justified over a longer period of time in the home.

Additionally, high-efficiency models condense, meaning they have a built-in system to remove moisture that forms inside the heat exchanger. This system extends the life of the equipment, however it also necessitates a drain line be installed. Neither of these details are ever serious issues, but they do increase the cost of installation slightly.

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Armstrong Air Furnace

TRUE: High-efficiency 95%+ furnaces are an investment. They cost more up front, but pay for themselves over time by saving you money every month.

Not everybody is looking for an investment, especially if they’re on a tight budget. But for a quick, simple, and more affordable solution, ask about a standard-efficiency 80%furnace with a ECM or Vaiable-Speed motor. Its a great alternative if budget is an issue.

ECM motor = 1-2 years ROI
2-Stage System = 4-5 years ROI
96% Variable System = 10-12 years ROI

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For more information or installation, call Harmonic @ 630-999-9008 to set your appointment today.