AFUE ratings are one of the best — and easiest – tools to use when choosing a new furnace. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of a furnace clearly outlines how efficiently the system will perform. And although performance also depends greatly on how well your home is insulated and weatherized, a higher-rated AFUE system will result in lower lifetime costs. Learn what you need to know about AFUE ratings when choosing a furnace.
AFUE ratings basics
AFUE is the measure of efficiency for combustible equipment. Used not only to rate furnace efficiency, you can also look for AFUE ratings on water heaters and boilers. As opposed to a unit’s true thermal efficiency operating at its peak, or steady state, AFUE rates the efficiency of a system over a season, which gives homeowners a good idea of the general operating costs. Basically, AFUE will tell you how much of the fuel consumed goes toward generating usable heat. So, a furnace that rates 80 percent AFUE will use 80 percent of the fuel consumed to generate heat for the home, while the other 20 percent is lost—usually up the chimney. AFUE ratings, however, don’t account for any heat that might be lost while circulating in your home’s ductwork.
The federal government has outlined minimum efficiency standards for heating equipment. Gas furnace minimums are currently at 78 AFUE; however, new standards will take effect on May 1, 2013, raising minimum standards for Colorado and other Northern regions to 90 percent AFUE. Manufacturers are prohibited from creating equipment that doesn’t meet performance guidelines, and in general, choosing higher AFUE-rated equipment means lower operating costs and lifetime costs for homeowners. That’s because high-efficiency systems generally utilize special features that run at lower speeds at greater mechanical efficiency, thereby consuming less fuel and using up their service life more slowly. In addition, reducing your home’s heating load can greatly lower operating costs. Work with your contractor to take energy-saving actions such as upgrading insulation, sealing air leaks and upgrading your thermostat to lower the load before installing equipment.
For more expert advice, contact Climate Control Company today. We’re happy to help our neighbors in Western Colorado learn about AFUE. Please give us call to schedule a free home consultation.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Aspen, Vail and the surrounding Western slope communities in Colorado about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about buying a new furnace and other HVAC topics, please visit our website.
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AFUE ratings are one of the best — and easiest – tools to use when choosing a new furnace. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of a furnace clearly outlines how efficiently the system will perform. And although performance also depends greatly on how well your home is insulated and weatherized, a higher-rated AFUE system will result in lower lifetime costs. Learn what you need to know about AFUE ratings when choosing a furnace. (more…)
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