80% vs 95% Furnace: Which Is Best For My Portland Home?

In the market for a new furnace? If so, you may be wondering whether it’s better to invest in a high-efficiency (95%) furnace, or go with a less expensive, standard (80%) unit.

Here’s what we recommend to Portland residents: If you want higher net savings and can afford the pricier installation cost, go with a 95% furnace. If you’re on a tight budget, an 80% furnace will still work fine for your heating needs. Either way, before making a final decision, we recommend consulting with a professional first.

In this blog, we’ll explain:

  • The key benefits of a 95% furnace
  • Why you should consult with a professional before making a final decision

Want a professional to help you choose your new furnace? Our comfort specialists can give you honest equipment recommendations based on your family’s heating needs and budget.

Request appointment today

The key benefits of a 95% furnace

Compared to an 80% furnace, a 95% furnace offers:

  1. Higher net savings
  2. Safer combustion

We’ll explain both of these benefits below.

Benefit #1: Higher net savings

Furnace percentages refer to the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of a particular system, which indicates how much energy the furnace uses to heat your home directly. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more energy-efficient the furnace will be.

Said another way, an 80% AFUE furnace uses 80% of the fuel directly to heat your home, while the remaining 20% of the fuel is wasted during the combustion process

On the other hand, a 95% AFUE furnace only wastes 5% of its fuel, which makes it more efficient to operate than an 80% furnace. This means you can potentially save more money over time if you choose a 95% furnace over an 80% unit.

Benefit #2: Safer combustion

Furnaces need to bring air (oxygen) into the combustion chamber in order for the fuel to ignite and create heat.

One major difference between an 80% and 95% furnace is where each system gets the air needed for combustion. An 80% furnace pulls inside air into its open combustion chamber, while a 95% furnace pulls outside air into its sealed combustion chamber.

Pulling in outside air results in safer combustion because it reduces the risk of backdrafts and combustion vapor leaks, which can introduce harmful gases into your home’s airstream.

That said, a sealed combustion system requires a special pathway for outside air to enter the combustion chamber, which raises the overall installation cost of a 95% furnace.

So, the question is this: Will the long-term energy savings of a 95% furnace make up for its higher installation cost for you? This is where you’ll need to consult with a professional...

Why you should consult with a professional before making a final decision

A professional can take into account several factors specific to your home that influence how much money you’ll potentially save with one furnace over another. Knowing this information will help you make an informed decision as to which furnace is best for your family’s needs and budget.

Factors that will determine the energy savings of your new furnace include:

  • Your home’s insulation levels: If your home is poorly insulated, then your furnace will have to work overtime trying to heat your home, which will cancel out the savings provided by a high-efficiency system.
  • The condition of your home’s ductwork: If your ductwork has severe leaks, then you won’t notice the savings of a high-efficiency furnace until the leaks are repaired.
  • The technology of the furnace: When you compare two different furnaces, you’ll also need to consider if they come with advanced technology such as variable-speed blowers or multi-stage burners. For example, an 80% furnace with these advanced features may offer more energy savings than a 95% furnace without them.

After considering these factors, you’ll have a better idea of whether it makes sense financially to invest in a 95% furnace, or if you should choose an 80% system instead.

Want a furnace recommendation from a Portland pro?

Request appointment today

Our comfort specialists can take into account all of the factors listed above to help you choose the right furnace for your home. When you hire Four Seasons, you can count on honest recommendations and fair, upfront prices for all of our furnace installations.

For more information about what to expect when you hire us, visit our furnace installation service page.

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