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Don's AC Service, Inc Blog

Confused by Furnace Efficiency Ratings? Here’s What They Really Mean

No matter what type of furnace you buy, it comes with an AFUE rating. AFUE is an acronym for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It’s a rating tool that measures how much energy a furnace uses for heating your home. We like to make the comparison to a miles per gallon (MPG) estimate on cars. An AFUE rating isn’t exact, but it does give you a reasonable idea of what efficiency to expect. 

AFUE ratings align with percentages, and we’ll explain more about how. A furnace with a higher AFUE rating needs less energy to heat your home. If it’s time for you to schedule an appointment for heater installation in Weatherford, TX our team is here to help.

Our team of heating experts can review your different furnace options from brand to the type of energy used and everything in between. Keep reading to learn more about what an AFUE rating means when selecting a new furnace and why you want to choose a highly efficient unit whenever possible. 

Understand AFUE Ratings

The nationally accepted minimum AFUE rating is 80. This means that any heater installed in the US has a minimum AFUE rating of 80 or it cannot legally be installed in a home. We already mentioned that the 80 corresponds to a percentage. It means that 80% of all energy that gets consumed by your furnace translates directly into heat for your home. 

With an AFUE rating of 80, 20% of the energy your heater uses will be lost during the process of creating heat—whether that’s igniting the pilot light during the combustion process or heating up electric heating elements. A heater with an AFUE rating of 90 only loses 10% of its energy to create heat. 

Benefits of Higher Energy Efficiency

Unfortunately more efficient furnaces often come with a higher price tag. You may be wondering if the extra cost is really worth the added efficiency. The main benefit of installing a furnace with a higher AFUE rating is that you stand to save money on your monthly energy bills over the life of the furnace. 

A furnace with a lower AFUE rating—for example an AFUE rating of 80 compared to 90—will use 10% more energy. This translates into 10% higher energy costs on your monthly energy bills. Saving hundreds of dollars each year on heating your home adds up to thousands of dollars when you consider that your heater could easily last for 30 years. 

But there’s another less tangible benefit to consider. A heater that is more efficient isn’t having to work as hard to heat your home. This means a reduction in strain and less wear and tear over the years. When your heater doesn’t have to work as hard it has the potential to last longer. 

The extra cost of installing a more efficient heater is more of an investment. Sure, you have to spend more up front but you also stand to save even more over the life of the heater. Plus you’re likely to enjoy elevated comfort with a heater that works at a higher level. Bottom line: an efficient heater is worth the investment and then some. 

Contact Don’s AC Service, Inc today to schedule an appointment for your in-home heating assessment!

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