Unless you have an unlimited budget, you'll probably need to make some trade-offs when choosing your home's new heating system. If you're trying to save as much money as possible, these decisions can often come down to upfront installation costs vs. long-term operating costs. More efficient systems can often save substantial money over the long run, but they typically cost more to purchase and install.
However, properly weighing these differences can often be challenging. If you're trying to understand whether a more efficient system will ultimately save you money, here are three tips to help you decide if paying more now will pay off over the long run.
1. Consider Local Utility Costs
Utility costs can vary substantially from area to area, making the best heating system highly dependent on where you live. For example, propane and heating oil delivery may be unreasonably expensive in an area with easy access to natural gas. At the same time, these fuels may be the most affordable options in more rural regions.
Taking the time to look at utility costs for heating oil, natural gas, propane, and electric heating in your area is always a good place to start. Make sure you factor in additional installation costs, such as running a new gas line to your home. This information can help you understand whether you're saving money on a cheaper heating system or will pay more in utility costs over the long run.
2. Use a Heating Cost Calculator
Once you know your local utility costs, you can use a heating cost calculator to help you estimate your overall annual heating costs. Comparing various heating options can give you a clearer understanding of your potential long-term costs with different heating fuels or more or less efficient systems. The numbers you use don't need to be exact, but they should be a relatively good representation of your area.
When comparing costs, it's important to consider your "break-even" point for a more efficient system. In other words, how many years of savings will you need to make up for the higher cost? If you can expect to break even well before the expected lifespan of your heating system, the higher upfront cost will likely pay off over the long run.
3. Consult With Your Installer
The most important thing you can do when deciding on a new heating system is to consult with your installer. Your installer will know which systems are most popular in your area, what problems you may face with different systems, and how you can expect your costs to vary over the life of your home's new heater.
While you should still research and make your own comparisons, it's also crucial to consider your installer's recommendations. This information will allow you to make an informed decision on how to balance spending less now with saving more money in the future.
Speak to a heating installation service to find out more.