All heaters come with an AFUE rating, which is short for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It’s a way to measure how much energy a heater requires for heating your home. Many people compare it to a miles per gallon estimate on cars. There is some wiggle room within the rating for energy use, but it gives you a general idea of how efficient a heater is.
The higher the AFUE rating, the less energy required to heat your home. If it’s time for you to schedule an appointment for furnace replacement in Red Lion, PA our team can help. We can review the different types of heaters you can choose from as well as review the benefits of choosing a system with a higher AFUE rating. Keep reading to learn more about AFUE ratings for furnaces, what they mean, and why a high-efficiency furnace is a smart choice for your home.
Identifying a Good AFUE Rating
The minimum AFUE rating for any heater is 80. This means that 80% of all energy consumed by a heater has to directly translate into heat for your home. All furnaces lose some energy as part of the heating process, but higher efficiency means less energy lost. Mid-range efficiency is usually considered to fall in the range of an AFUE rating that falls between 90 and 93. Anything higher than 93 is highly efficient.
Benefits of a Higher AFUE Rating
The primary benefit of investing in a furnace with a high AFUE is that using less energy translates into lower energy costs each month for keeping your family warm. A furnace with a lower AFUE rating will lose more energy and end up working harder to produce results. This costs you more and adds strain to the unit which stands to shorten the furnace’s lifespan.
You might think that the savings aren’t significant enough to matter, but they are. You could save hundreds of dollars on your annual heating costs which adds up to thousands of dollars over the life of the unit. When you take into consideration the lower levels of wear and the potential for a longer lifespan, the benefits of a high AFUE rating really are obvious.
Government Mandated Standards
At one time an efficient furnace was considered to be a luxury. But every family deserves to stay warm without spending a lot of money to do it. Plus, less efficient furnaces are also worse for our environment, adding an additional incentive for the government to get involved.
It was in 1975 when the US Department of Energy outlined the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating to help homeowners determine the efficiency of furnaces consistently across all brands and types. It was nearly 20 years later in 1992 when AFUE became a standard for all heaters manufactured in the US.
And the industry is constantly looking for ways to elevate this standard. In the 90s they also introduced climate zones in the US so that consumers could select a furnace with more or less power based on their unique region’s heating needs. Homes up north may require a higher AFUE rating compared to southern states that don’t face harsh winters.
AFUE Ratings and Costs
It is important to note that higher-rated furnaces often cost more. Efficiency components can be more expensive to incorporate into a heating design. However, the higher installation costs always balance out over the life of the furnace. While you may be spending a couple thousand more dollars upfront, you’re also saving thousands on energy costs as well as lessening your impact on the environment.
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