There are many things you can do to lower your energy bills in winter:
- Turning your thermostat down and wearing a sweater
- Installing weather stripping to prevent drafts
- Opening your curtains to let sunlight heat your home
But perhaps the most important thing you do to keep your heating costs down is to make sure you have an energy-efficient heating system.
The more efficient your furnace is, the less money you’ll spend heating your home. Here are three things you can look at to determine the efficiency of your heating system.
1. Your energy bill
Unlike, say, your car payment, your heating bill is going to fluctuate a bit from month to month. But if you see sharp spikes in your heating cost from one year to the next, it could be a sign that your heater might not be as efficient as you’d like.
Think about any external factors that could be leading to a higher bill: lack of maintenance by an HVAC repair company, shifting weather patterns – maybe last year saw an unseasonably warm winter – or the need for home improvements such as insulation. Monitoring these changes can help you make better choices about heating your home.
2. Your furnace’s AFUE rating
AFUE stands for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.” This is a measurement of how well your furnace uses fuel to heat your home. The higher the rating, the more efficient your heating unit.
Let’s say you have a furnace with a 75 percent AFUE rating, which means you’re losing a quarter of every dollar of your heating bill, or $25 for every $100 you spend.
You go next door to your neighbor’s house and learn they’ve just installed a furnace has that 98 percent efficiency. That means instead of losing $25 dollars for every $100 in heating costs, they’re only losing a couple of bucks.
Of course, it’s unlikely you have a furnace that has an AFUE rating that’s under 78 percent, unless you have a very old unit heating your home.
In 1992, the U.S. Department of Energy established new manufacturing standards for furnaces, requiring them to be at least 78 percent efficient. That number rose in 80 percent in 2013, and most modern high-quality units hit 98 percent efficiency.
You can find your heater’s AFUE rating in your user manual or by checking the sticker inside the furnace cabinet. If neither of those options work, contact the manufacturer or search the furnace’s make and model online.
3. Your furnace’s age
Your furnace might have the highest AFUE rating on the market. But how old is it? The average heater has a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. Furnace efficiency can also decline by about five percent each year without proper maintenance.
And even if you’ve had regular visits from your local HVAC repair company, the components in your heating system will eventually start to degrade due to age and use.
Has the time come to replace your heating system? Turn to All Seasons Comfort Control for a new, energy efficient furnace. Our heating and air conditioning repair experts can make sure we install a system that keeps you warm and comfortable without forcing you to spend too much on your monthly bill.
And if you’re happy with your furnace but worried about its efficiency, we can help with that as well. Our HVAC repair team can examine your system and make sure it’s functioning properly. Contact us today to get started.