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Why You (And Your Wallet) Should Care About Your Furnace’s AFUE

Posted 02-11-13 in Heating

Furnace InsideIn the heating and cooling industry there are a lot of terms that can be confusing to homeowners (and it’s one of the reasons we have a glossary on our website.)

But not understanding some of the terms can actually cost you money. So in this blog, we’re tackling one of the most common: AFUE.

What is AFUE?

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It measures a gas furnace’s energy efficiency and is kind of like MPG (miles per gallon) for your car.

If you’ve ever run across AFUE, you’ll notice that it is expressed in percentages (i.e. 80% AFUE).

The percentage is important because it lets you know how much of the fuel you pay for is actually converted into heat.

For example, a furnace with a rating of 80% AFUE converts 80% of the gas it uses into heat. The other 20% escapes up your furnace flue, wasted.

How AFUE affects your wallet

Now let’s put it in dollars and cents.

If you have an older furnace, it could be rated as low as 60% AFUE. That means for every $100 you pay in gas for your furnace, only $60 is actually used. Your other $40 is wasted!

New furnaces must have at least an AFUE of 80% (with some as high as 98.5%.) So if you upgrade your old 60% AFUE furnace to the minimum 80% AFUE furnace, you’ll be using $80 worth of gas for every $100 you spend.

That savings can quickly add up.

But wait… There’s more!

AFUE is a rating of your furnace’s energy efficiency in a controlled environment. But there are other factors that are even more important in reducing your home heating costs.

If you are looking to upgrade your furnace to increase your home’s energy efficiency, make sure you also consider:

  • Professional installation – A poor installation can negate all of the benefits of a more efficient furnace.
  • Duct repairs – Your air ducts transport the heat from your furnace throughout your home. So if they are leaking or improperly designed, it will affect your furnace’s energy efficiency.
  • Size – Bigger is not better and too small is bad too. For optimum energy efficiency and home comfort, make sure a reputable heating company sizes your Atlanta-area home for a new furnace.

The Bottom Line

While a furnace’s AFUE plays a large role in the efficiency of your home, don’t neglect the other parts of your heating system. After all, a system is only efficient as the sum of its parts.

Coolray is the Atlanta area’s most trusted heating company. If you have further questions about your home’s comfort system, just ask one of our friendly, knowledgeable experts.

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