If you are currently shopping for a furnace for your home, you need to know about how the efficiency of modern furnaces is rated. Efficiency is not the only factor in picking out a furnace—you also need to consider the availability of fuel, the heater’s effectiveness and size—but it is an important factor. An efficient heater can save you large amounts off your heating bills every year.
In this post, we’ll give you information about the principle efficiency rating used for furnaces, AFUE. This knowledge will help you narrow down your choices. However, this is only the beginning of understanding which heater will work for your home. To make the best choice possible, consult with experts like those at Cool Air Mechanical. We have years of experience with installation and furnace repair in Atlanta, GA.
AFUE: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency
The initials AFUE stand for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” This is the universal rating used to measure the efficiency of furnaces. It is expressed as a percentage, which represents how completely the furnace converts fuel into heat, as measured over a year. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the furnace. A furnace with an AFUE rating of 90% produces 90 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of heat for every 100 units of fuel it burns. This means it wastes only 10% of the fuel available.
For a useful benchmark, the AFUE rating of conventional firewood is 45%-55%. Boilers and furnaces from around 50 years ago had ratings usually in the 60s. Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy requires that all furnaces sold in the country must have a minimum AFUE of 78%—and most score much higher than that. A high-efficiency gas-powered furnace can have an AFUE of close to 96%, making it one of the most fuel-efficient systems on the market. Most furnaces will fall in the upper 80s range.
Although a high-efficiency furnace will save you money on your heating bills, they also tend to cost more initially to purchase. Also keep in mind that AFUE does not take into account heat lost from your house, only the heat lost during the furnace’s conversion of fuel to heat. You can have the highest efficiency furnace ever manufactured but see little difference on your bills if your home does not effectively trap the heat.
When you’re ready for the installation of a new furnace in your home, consult with an HVAC technician to go over your options. Perhaps a lower-efficiency furnace will suit your budget and heating needs better than a model with an AFUE of 96%. The technician will help you balance the various criteria and guide you toward the heating option that will suit you best.
Whenever you need Atlanta, GA furnace repair or installation, contact Cool Air Mechanical.