Heating your home usually represents your biggest utility expense. But you can reduce the amount of money you spend on heating each year with a new, more energy-efficient furnace.
In this week's blog post, we'll discuss how to find your unit's AFUE rating, to determine how much fuel it's wasting, and whether you need a new high-efficiency furnace.
What is an AFUE Rating?
This rating – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency – measures how well your furnace is using heat to fuel your home. The closer you get to 100 percent, the better your furnace will function. If your furnace AFUE rating is 80 percent, that means that 80 percent of the gas/oil you feed your furnace goes back into heating your home. The other 20 percent is lost during combustion.
What does that mean for my heating bill?
If your furnace AFUE rating is high – say 98 percent – that's good news for your heating bills. It means that 98 cents of every dollar you spent on keeping your furnace going is in fact going towards heating your home, while you're losing just two cents on waste.
But if you have a furnace that has an AFUE rating of just 70 percent, the math should be obvious. Thirty cents of every heating dollar are going to waste.
How can I tell my furnace's AFUE rating?
Look to the faceplate on your furnace. If it's not there, find model or serial number, which is printed either on the furnace, or its compressor. Take that number to the manufacturer's website to find the AFUE rating.
From there, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website, where you can find a chart that tells you how much you could save with different furnaces.
Again, let's do some math.
We'll say you have a furnace with a 75 percent AFUE rating, which means you lose a quarter of every dollar of your heating bill, or $25 for every $100 you spend.
Now let's say you upgrade. Your new furnace has that 98 percent efficiency we mentioned earlier, which means that you're saving $23 for every $100 of your heating costs.
It's unlikely you have a furnace that has an AFUE rating below 78 percent, unless you have a very old unit heating your home.
In 1992, the Department of Energy created new manufacturing standards for furnaces, requiring them to be at least 78 percent efficient. That number bumped to 80 percent in 2013. These days, most high-quality units hit 98 percent efficiency.
Efficiency is important if you're considering a new furnace, but don't neglect these other factors:
- Ask yourself what it would cost to replace the furnace compared to the cost of constant repairs on an outdated and inefficient system.
- Consider your fuel sources. A gas furnace is typically the most cost-effective way to heat your home during a frigid winter. Oil is more powerful, but requires more storage and will leave you with a bigger bill.
- Finally, you may be eligible for rebates after installing a high-efficiency heating system. Check out our blog post from earlier this year to learn more.
If you’ve decided to install a new furnace in your home, All Seasons Comfort Control can help. For more than 15 years, we’ve helped homeowners in the Bucks and Montgomery County areas heat and cool their homes.