AFUE Rating: Your Secret Weapon to Understanding Furnace Energy Efficiency

AFUE Rating: Your Secret Weapon to Understanding Furnace Energy Efficiency

Inside of FurnaceIf you’re looking to buy a new furnace, you’ve probably heard a few websites or salesmen mention the importance of the AFUE rating.

You might have nodded your head and pretended like you knew what it was. If you did, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

For those of you who live in the Fountain Hills area, you might not know much about furnaces because, let’s face it, you’ve rarely needed to.

However, since it’s getting colder and you need a furnace, you might as well get one that is energy efficient if you’re trying to lower your energy bills across the board.

Your secret weapon to understanding furnace energy efficiency lies in understanding the AFUE rating.

What the heck is an AFUE rating?

AFUE is an acronym for “annual fuel utilization efficiency”, and it’s pretty important.

It tells you the percentage of energy your furnace is actually converting into heat for your home. So, if your furnace’s AFUE is 70%, then 70% of the gas it’s burning is warming your home.

The other 30% escapes as exhaust. This wastes your hard earned money and increases your carbon footprint (don’t make Al Gore come after you.)

Converting the AFUE rating into cold hard cash

“Well, that’s nice,” you might be thinking, “but how can I use that to tell how much money I’m actually losing?”

Good question!

To put things in perspective, we can easily change the percentage into a dollar amount to see how much money your furnace is tossing into the air.

Imagine you have a dollar, and you gave that dollar to your furnace to heat your home. Let’s assume your furnace has an AFUE rating of 80%. This means out of that dollar you gave it, only 80 cents of the dollar actually went towards heating your home. The other 20 cents of energy was lost escaping as exhaust during the gas combustion process. This means you have to spend more money to get the heat levels you want in your home.

Make sense?

To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question!

Ok, so upgrading your furnace to one with a better AFUE rating seems like a good idea, right?

The answer is absolutely, positively maybe.

It depends on how low of a rating your current furnace is, and what kind of budget you have for getting a new furnace.

This savings calculator (excel file) from Energy Star that shows you how much money you can save upgrading to an Energy Star rated furnace (which has a high AFUE rating) from a conventional furnace.

Here’s a list of some of the best furnaces offered by Energy Star. You’ll see the AFUE rating on the right.

Find your current furnace’s AFUE rating on it’s faceplate and compare it with some of the furnaces in the previous link. If you have an older furnace with an AFUE of 70%, then upgrading to an AFUE of 90% could save you $22.22 for every $100 you normally spend!

To see other savings comparisons based on AFUE ratings, scroll down on this furnace and boilers article by Energy.gov to find the chart labeled “Annual Estimated Savings for Every $100 of Fuel Costs by Increasing Your Heating Equipment Efficiency.”

If you want professional help picking out the furnace that meets your needs and budget, contact Fountain Hills Air today and we can help you get started.