The problem in our northern climate in cities such as Winnipeg is that mid efficient furnaces are no longer an option due to provincial and national regulations with a minimum standard of 90+%. Most manufacturers have now set their minimum at 94% for a base line builders model high efficiency furnace starting somewhere over $3,000.
For a few hundred dollars more, single stage units with DC motors will reach up to 95% efficiency by the electricity savings from the blower motor.
Two stage high efficient Gas Furnace are set to deliver more comfort with reduced temperature swings and quieter operation. Expect to pay around $500.00 more than the single stage model.
Modulating gas furnaces provide the best in comfort control with up to 98% efficiency. Be prepared to pay around $1,000 more than the single stage.
Return on investment can be argued with different results based on usage, heat loss, maintenance and future costs of Manitoba’s natural gas. Although these new models all provide efficiencies well above older mid (80%) and natural draft(70%) furnaces the expected lifespan of any high efficient furnace will be less than most mid efficient and much less than older natural draft furnaces that were built like Sherman tanks!
All furnace manufacturers are competing for the same homeowner and typically offer 4 models to choose from. None of these companies are located in Canada and receive some of their components from Mexican, Asian, and other world suppliers of electronic components. When a new model is released, proper testing times are sometimes not allowed for these imported components and breakdowns become the result and a new “lemon” is on the market. These lemon are actually few and far between with the better manufacturers and not near as common as in previous years.
Local manufacturer support is therefore extremely important. You should always choose a Furnace Installing Contractor that is well connected for local Manufacture dealer support. Also be sure that your Winnipeg Furnace contractor is set up with a proper supply of furnace repair parts for those cold Winnipeg winter days when breakdown time needs to be kept at a minimum.
Finally, when you do decide to upgrade to a high efficient gas furnace, be sure to have included a 10 year parts and labor warranty and arrange to have annual maintenance every year by a qualified furnace mechanic. New gas furnaces prices are higher not because they are better built but because they have more components that need checking on over time. Prevention is the best investment.