Goodman GCES96 Review
AFUE:Up to 96 percent
ENERGY STAR ®:No
Blower Type:Multi-speed ECM
Price:$4,400 to $5,000
BTU Output:38,440 to 115,320
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LIMITED INVENTORY: Please note, this model has been marked as having limited inventory by the manufacturer, although it may still be available for purchase through distributors and contractors for some time.
Goodman’s GCES96 is a high-efficiency, single-stage furnace that’s cost-effective to buy and operate. It’s not the most sophisticated furnace on the market, but it’s economical, backed by an excellent warranty, and made with quality components that are designed to last.
This Goodman gas furnace review of the GCES96 is meant to help you decide if this furnace is a worthwhile investment for you. We’ll talk about the price, specifications, features, warranty, and more to give you a good idea of whether you'll get good value for the money with this furnace.
To conclude, we’ll compare the GCES96 to three other Goodman models so you can see what other features are available at different price points.
The Goodman GCES96 in a Nutshell
Average Price (with installation): $4,400 to $5,000
- Equipped with a secondary heat exchanger that reduces heat loss and fuel waste
- Uses a fuel-saving silicon nitride ignitor that’s more reliable and durable than a pilot light
- Affordable and cost-saving
- Protected by a great warranty
- ECM blower motor is more efficient, quieter, and more sophisticated than standard alternatives
- Multi-speed blower can change airflow for improved comfort and efficiency
- Quiet operation
- Low nitrogen oxide emissions
The Bottom Line
With an AFUE of 96 percent, the GCES96 does qualify as a high-efficiency furnace, but it doesn’t have ENERGY STAR® certification, and probably won’t be eligible for too many rebates.
Similarly, when compared to an older and less efficient heating system, this model will save you on heating bills over the months and years, provided this furnace is suitable for your home. And Goodman gas furnace prices are lower than most, so it will be relatively affordable.
Canadian winters tend to be long and cold in most parts of the country, and that means a single-stage furnace won’t always be sufficient to keep your house warm, especially if you live in a larger home.
If that’s the case, then you may want to consider a two-stage or modulating furnace instead, but a professional HVAC contractor can help you assess the needs of your home.
In Depth Review
Goodman GCES96 Product Specifications
- AFUE: 96 percent
- Burner type: Single-stage
- Blower type: Multi-speed ECM
- ENERGY STAR certified: No
- Heating capacity: 38,440 to 115,320 BTUs
The heat exchanger is the heart of any furnace, so it’s an important component to consider when buying a furnace.
The GCES96 has a primary heat exchanger made from aluminized steel, which has better heat transfer and improved corrosion-resistance. It also has a tubular design that makes it more resistant to heat and pressure, so it’s a very durable heat exchanger.
Then, the GCES96 also has a secondary heat exchanger, whose job it is to trap and recycle energy from exhaust gasses that would otherwise be lost.
The result is a highly efficient furnace that wastes less fuel and should last longer than non-condensing furnaces with standard heat exchangers.
Other Key Features
- Self-diagnostic control board and LED fault code display facilitate troubleshooting and repairs
- Ready for connection with humidifier or electronic air cleaner
- No water leaks and less than 2 percent air leakage
- Engineered for fast and easy installation
- Heavy-duty cabinet is thermally insulated and protected by a durable finish
- Insulated blower and heat exchanger compartment reduces operational noise
The GCES96 is backed by one of the best warranties in the industry. Not only does it have a 10-year parts warranty and lifetime heat exchanger warranty, but it also has a 10-year unit replacement warranty.
More manufacturers are starting to offer unit replacement warranties, but Goodman is definitely one of the leaders in this regard, especially considering they're an economy brand. There are plenty of premium brands who charge a lot more for their furnaces who still don’t offer unit replacements.
So what is a unit replacement warranty? In a nutshell, it means that Goodman will replace the entire furnace if the heat exchanger fails within the first 10 years.
To be eligible for the full warranty terms and to prevent voiding your warranty, here's what you have to do:
- Have the furnace installed by a licensed HVAC professional
- Register the GCES96 online with Goodman within 60 days of installation
- Take care of the regular maintenance mentioned in the owner’s manual
Comparable Models by Goodman
Model Comparison by Price: GCES96 versus GM9C96
The GM9C96 also has a 96 percent AFUE, so it will fall into the same general price category as the GCES96 but will be more expensive.
The reason for the higher price is that the GM9C96 has a two-stage burner, so it’s going to perform better if you live in a larger home or colder part of the country. Although it has the same efficiency, the two-stage burner will produce more consistent heat.
The GM9C96 can operate in the low stage for longer periods to keep your whole home the temperature you set on the thermostat. But if a cold snap happens, the burner also has a high heat output to ensure it keeps up with the increased heating demand.
Furnaces like this are usually quieter and better at maintaining the right temperature and eliminating hot/cold spots.
Model Comparison by Features: GCES96 versus GMVM97
For several hundred dollars more than you'd pay for the GCES96, you could invest instead in the GMVM97. This is a much more sophisticated furnace. It has a modulating burner, variable-speed blower motor, ENERGY STAR certification, 98 percent AFUE, and Goodman’s exclusive features.
Modulating furnaces with variable-speed blowers are the most advanced on the market. They can incrementally adjust the heating output and airflow to keep temperature and humidity at precise levels. They're also quieter, better at eliminating hot and cold spots, more efficient and cost-effective to operate, and better at keeping large homes warm in cold weather.
The GMVM97 also has ComfortBridge technology, a communicating feature that links internal furnace components with the thermostat to provide precision heating more efficiently. Finally, it comes with the CoolCloud HVAC app for contractors, which can make installation and repairs faster and easier.
Model Comparison by Tier: GCES96 versus GMVS96-U
The GMVS96-U is a similar furnace to the GCES96 in many ways, including the single-stage operation and 96 percent AFUE. But the GMVS96-U does have a more powerful variable-speed blower motor that makes incremental airflow adjustments for better temperature consistency.
The GMES96-U also has a component that the GCES96 doesn’t: a premix burner. This premixes fuel and oxygen to maximize combustion. As such, the GMVS96-U qualifies as an ultra-low nitrogen oxide emissions model, so it’s a more environmentally friendly choice.
This additional technology also improves the performance and efficiency of the unit, so the GMVS96-U is actually ENERGY STAR certified, making it more likely to be eligible for certain rebates.