How to Replace Your Gas Heater Cost-Effectively

From on December 15, 2011 in Air Conditioning & Heating


If you, like much of the country, have been hit lately with gusty winds, sleet, and stormy winter weather, then the efficiency of your gas furnace might be on your mind. When running well, it’s easy to forget the importance of upkeep and replacement of your gas furnace or heat pump.

As always, we’re here to help you in the process of replacing your gas heater. And to help you do so in the most affordable and simplified way possible.

Get Pricing on Heating Installations

Replacing your heater may seem like a pain, but it can actually be a simple process, especially with a professional. You can search CalFinder’s database of local heating contractors who can help determine what you need and when—and even provide you with a free estimate for the project.

For pricing on a heating installation in your area, click here.

You might first be wondering if you even need to replace your gas heater. The main signs of old and low-efficiency heating systems include:

  • A continuous pilot light
  • Natural draft that creates a flow of those combustion gases
  • A heavy heat exchanger
  • Only 68-75% of annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE)

The efficiency goal is to have a sealed combustion, up to 97% of AFUE, and to condense flue gases in a second heat exchanger for greater efficiency. Getting to these goals with a proper (and perhaps replaced) gas heater can save you money in fuel costs over the 15- to 20-year life of your heater. This is especially important in cold climates, where the heater definitely does a lot of work.

Is Your Heating Bill On the Rise?

You don’t need a professional, however, to know that your heating bill is continually rising, which means that it is definitely time for an upgrade or replacement. If you’re still unsure, you can ask your utility to perform an energy audit on your home. A heating contractor can size your furnace and take care of the whole job for you. Make sure that you install an ENERGY STAR replacement, which will save you money, energy, and might evne get you a furnace installation rebate.

Before replacement, make sure that you take steps to boost efficiency in your home. The simplest solution for replacement is to replace your heater with a modern high-efficiency model. You can expect to cut your fuel bill and your furnace’s pollution output in half. That’s major. You can lower that heating bill, as well as reduce the carbon dioxide emissions annually by 1.5 tons.

If you’re not looking to go with an entirely different system, and your current gas furnace has been well enough maintained, then you can consider retrofitting your furnace. Doing so can increase its efficiency without having to entirely replace the whole system.

The cost of retrofitting should be heavily considered if you’re planning to upgrade or replace your furnace entirely within a few years. Retrofitting options that can increase the overall efficiency include installing programmable thermostats, upgrading ductwork to increase the heat leakage throughout the house, and adding zone control for hot water systems.

Photo via Houzz