Whether or not you’ve heard of AFUE, it plays a critical role in how your furnace operates. By understanding AFUE, you can learn a lot about your furnace and its capacity to save you money.
AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It measures the energy efficiency of a furnace — how much heat is produced relative to fuel consumed over an entire heating season. To determine the AFUE rating, total heat output is divided by total fuel output. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the energy efficiency.
Essentially, an AFUE rating is a little like MPG for a car. An AFUE rating calculates the percentage of energy that was used to heat your home. A furnace with a high AFUE rating of 90 wastes about 10 percent of its energy.
The cost savings efficiency of a high AFUE furnace
In the 1970s, your average furnace had an AFUE rating of 65 — more than a third of fuel expense was wasted. In 2015, the federal government raised the minimum AFUE rating on furnaces from 78 to 80 percent. Gas and oil-fired boilers have minimum AFUE requirements of 82 percent and 84 percent.
If you purchase a furnace with a high AFUE rating, the unit uses fuel more efficiently. You save a substantial amount of money overtime. It’s also good for the earth. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created ENERGY STAR ratings to help consumers protect the environment and slash their heating expenses.
But you do pay more upfront for a high efficiency furnace. A furnace with an AFUE of 90 will cost about $1,000 more than one with a rating of 80.
Why you should replace an old furnace
AFUE savings are easy to calculate. For every dollar spent on fuel used by an 85-rated furnace, 85 cents goes toward heating your home. It’s easy to calculate how much money you’ll save from a furnace with an AFUE rating of 95 or more.
That’s why we recommend replacing old furnaces. As recently as 1992, the AFUE requirement for furnaces was only 78. If you have an older furnace, you could increase efficiency by as much as 20 percent by upgrading to a more efficient model.
Need a new furnace? HVAC 911 can help!
If you need a new furnace, HVAC 911 can help. We are a referral network of licensed HVAC contractors who can install a new furnace.
Our contractors are highly skilled and licensed HVAC specialists who can remove your old furnace and install a new one. They can also recommend high efficiency models that fit your budget.