As winter approaches, homeowners across the United States are starting to think about staying warm for the coming season. One of the main concerns for many of them is the cost of running their home heating systems, namely their furnaces. With so many different types of furnaces on the market, finding the cheapest option can be overwhelming. Fortunately, armed with the right knowledge, it is easy to make an informed decision. In this article, we will break down the different types of furnaces available, and investigate which models are the most affordable to run.

1. Introduction: Understanding the Cost of Running a Furnace

Heating your home during the cold winter months can be expensive, especially if you live in an area with harsh winter weather conditions. Your furnace is one of the most significant consumers of energy in your home, which means that the cost of operating it can add up quickly. To choose the cheapest furnace to run, it’s important to consider various factors that will affect your energy bills.

There are several factors that determine the cost of running a furnace in your home. Firstly, the type of fuel that your furnace uses will affect your energy bills. Secondly, the size of your home and the size of your furnace will also determine how much energy it will consume. Finally, the efficiency of your furnace is a crucial factor that can significantly impact your energy bills.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to choose the cheapest furnace to run by exploring different types of furnaces, the importance of efficiency, alternative heating options, and tips for reducing your furnace running costs.

2. Types of Furnaces: Which One is the Cheapest to Run?

Before you can determine which furnace is the cheapest to run, it’s important to understand the different types of furnaces available on the market.

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are typically the most affordable option upfront, but they can be costly to run. Electric furnaces work by heating up the air using electric coils, which is then blown throughout your home. While electric furnaces have a low upfront cost, they have a high cost of operation due to the high cost of electricity.

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are more expensive upfront, but they have a lower cost of operation compared to electric furnaces. Gas furnaces work by burning natural gas to heat up a heat exchanger, which then heats up the air. Gas furnaces are more efficient than electric furnaces, with some models boasting an efficiency rating of up to 98%. This means that 98% of the energy consumed by the furnace is used to heat up your home, with only 2% being lost due to inefficiencies.

Oil Furnaces

Oil furnaces are typically the most expensive option upfront, and they have a moderately high cost of operation. Oil furnaces work by burning oil to heat up a heat exchanger, which then heats up the air. Oil furnaces are typically less efficient than gas furnaces, with most models boasting an efficiency rating of around 80-90%. This means that some energy is lost due to inefficiencies, resulting in a slightly higher cost of operation compared to gas furnaces.

While gas furnaces are typically the cheapest to run, it’s important to consider the cost of installation as well. If you don’t already have a gas line installed in your home, the cost of installation can be quite high. In this case, it may be more affordable to choose an electric furnace, despite the higher cost of operation.

3. Efficiency Matters: How to Choose a High-Efficiency Furnace

When it comes to saving money on your heating bills, choosing a high-efficiency furnace is essential. These furnaces are designed to convert more of the fuel they use into heat, allowing you to keep your home warm without wasting precious energy.

So, how can you choose a high-efficiency furnace for your home? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Look for the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating: This rating tells you how much of the fuel used by your furnace is actually turned into heat. The higher the rating, the more efficient the furnace.

2. Consider a modulating furnace: These furnaces can vary the amount of heat they produce based on the temperature needs of your home, which can save a significant amount of energy compared to traditional single-stage or two-stage furnaces.

3. Size matters: Choosing the right size furnace for your home is crucial for efficiency. If your furnace is too large, it will waste energy by constantly turning on and off. If it is too small, it will struggle to keep your home warm.

4. Don’t forget about the fan: The fan that blows the heated air through your home can also contribute to energy waste. Look for a furnace with a high-efficiency fan that uses less electricity than traditional models.

By considering these factors when choosing a furnace, you can ensure that you are getting the most efficient and cost-effective heating solution for your home.

4. Alternative Heating Options: Cheaper Than Traditional Furnaces?

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to traditional furnaces, there are a few options to consider. These alternative heating options are not only energy-efficient but also cost-effective, making them popular among homeowners.

  1. Heat Pumps: These work by transferring heat from one space to another. They consume less energy as they don’t generate heat but move it around. Heat pumps are an effective option for those living in moderate climates.
  2. Wood Stoves: Wood stoves are an excellent option for people who live in rural areas but come with health concerns. Burning wood releases harmful pollutants into the air. Before going for a wood stove, consult with an expert for safety measures.
  3. Electric Space Heaters: Although they consume a significant amount of electricity, electric space heaters are efficient for small spaces. They are also portable, space-friendly, and affordable, making them an attractive option for many people.

Alternative heating options can help you reduce your monthly energy bills. They are also efficient and environmentally-friendly, making them a smart choice for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint. However, before choosing an alternative option, determine which is the best fit for your home.

With the help of these alternative heating options, you can save hundreds of dollars each year, making them a reliable option for a cost-effective heating solution.

5. Tips for Reducing Your Furnace Running Costs

Reducing your furnace running costs can be an effective way to save money on your energy bills. In this section, we’ll be sharing some simple tips that can help you achieve this goal. By practicing these tips regularly, you can reduce your furnace running costs without compromising on your home’s comfort level.

1. Change Your Air Filters Regularly

One of the simplest ways to reduce your furnace running costs is to change your air filters regularly. Dirty filters can restrict airflow, forcing your furnace to work harder and consume more energy. By replacing your filters every 2-3 months, you can keep your furnace running efficiently and save money in the process.

2. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Using a programmable thermostat can help you reduce your furnace running costs by adjusting the temperature automatically when you’re not home. By setting your thermostat to lower the temperature by a few degrees during the day when you’re away from home, you can save up to 5-10% on your energy bills.

3. Seal Air Leaks

Sealing air leaks in your home can help you reduce your furnace running costs by minimizing heat loss. Seal gaps and openings around windows, doors, and other areas where air might be leaking in or out. By doing this, you can keep warm air inside your home and reduce your furnace’s workload.

Keep in mind that the amount of money you save will depend on the size and number of air leaks in your home.

4. Have Your Furnace Serviced Annually

Having your furnace serviced annually can help you keep it running efficiently and reduce your furnace running costs. A professional HVAC technician can inspect and clean your furnace to ensure it’s operating at its best. By doing so, you can extend the lifespan of your furnace and save money on energy bills.

5. Consider Insulating Your Home

Insulating your home can help you reduce your furnace running costs by minimizing heat loss through walls, roofs, and floors. Adding insulation to your home can help keep warm air inside your home and reduce your furnace’s workload. This can translate into significant energy savings over time.

Keep in mind that not all insulation is created equal, so make sure you choose the right type of insulation for your home and climate.

By implementing these tips, you can reduce your furnace running costs and save money on your energy bills. If you’re looking to reduce your energy bills further, consider alternative heating options that may be cheaper than traditional furnaces.

6. Conclusion: The Affordable Heating Solution for Your Home

When it comes to heating your home, the cost of running a furnace can quickly add up. However, by choosing the right type of furnace, considering its efficiency, and taking advantage of alternative heating options, you can reduce your heating costs significantly.

Whether you opt for a gas, electric, or oil furnace, it’s important to choose a high-efficiency model to ensure that you’re not wasting energy and money. Many modern furnaces have efficiency ratings of 90% or higher, meaning that they convert almost all of the fuel they consume into heat for your home. By comparison, older furnaces may have efficiency ratings as low as 70%, wasting 30% of the fuel they consume.

Another way to save money on heating costs is to explore alternative options like a heat pump, electric radiant heating, or a wood stove. While these options may have higher installation costs, they can often be cheaper to run in the long term, especially if you have access to low-cost or renewable energy sources.

Finally, by implementing simple strategies like adjusting your thermostat settings, improving your home’s insulation, and using space heaters to supplement your furnace, you can further reduce your heating costs and keep your home comfortable all winter long.

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what is the cheapest furnace to run. However, by considering the factors mentioned above and choosing the heating solution that works best for your home and budget, you can significantly reduce your heating costs and enjoy a warm, comfortable home all winter long.

People Also Ask:

What type of furnace is the most efficient?

According to, a high-efficiency natural gas furnace is the most efficient type of furnace. They have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 90% or higher, which means they convert 90% or more of the fuel into heat.

Is it better to run the furnace constantly or turn it off at night?

It’s generally better to turn the furnace off or down at night to save on energy costs. However, if you have a high-efficiency furnace, it may be more efficient to keep it on a constant low setting rather than turning it on and off frequently.

Can a heat pump be a cheaper alternative to a furnace?

Yes, a heat pump can be a cheaper alternative to a furnace, especially in areas with mild climates. Heat pumps extract heat from the air or ground using electricity, which is often more efficient and cost-effective than using fossil fuels.

What can I do to make my furnace more energy-efficient?

To make your furnace more energy-efficient, you can have it serviced annually to ensure it’s running efficiently, replace your air filters regularly, install a programmable thermostat to control the temperature, and seal any air leaks or drafts in your home.

How do I determine the cost of running my furnace?

To determine the cost of running your furnace, you can multiply the unit’s input BTU (British Thermal Units) rating by the cost of gas per therm in your area, then divide by the furnace’s fuel efficiency percentage. This will give you an estimate of the cost per hour to run your furnace.


When it comes to finding the cheapest furnace to run, a high-efficiency natural gas furnace is typically the most cost-effective option. However, if you live in a mild climate, a heat pump may be a cheaper alternative. Additionally, regularly servicing your furnace, replacing air filters, and sealing air leaks can all help to make your furnace more energy-efficient and reduce your heating costs.