If you’re in the market for a furnace upgrade, understanding what makes a furnace fuel efficient and what that means to you in terms of savings will help you choose the right furnace for your home.
The AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency rating, is the standard measure of a furnace’s efficiency. The Department of Energy set the minimum AFUE rating at 78 percent in 1992, requiring that all systems convert at least 78 percent of fuel into heat. The AFUE rating is posted on every furnace, usually on the yellow EnergyGuide label. Most manufacturers tout their furnaces as high efficiency, but according to the DOE, high efficiency models are those that have an AFUE rating of 90 percent or more, while mid-efficiency are those rated between 80 to 83 percent. The highest AFUE rating is 98.2 percent.
Cost and savings
The higher the AFUE rating, the more expensive the furnace, but the cost of the furnace is generally recouped in energy savings. The factors that determine the amount of savings and how quickly payback is achieved include the price of the new system, the climate of northwest Arkansas, the cost of energy in your area, the efficiency difference between your old furnace and your new one, and whether your new system qualifies for a tax credit. Furnace dealers can calculate your savings for several different models to help you determine which system is most cost-effective for you.
Choosing the right model for your home
Considerations to keep in mind as you shop for a furnace upgrade include the size of your home, what kind of system will be compatible with existing ductwork and the cost of the system versus the savings you will realize. The size of the furnace is the most important factor in choosing an energy-efficient system. A qualified technician will help you determine the right size of furnace using energy-loss calculations based on the size of your home and various features, such as window area and insulation.
For more expert advice on choosing a furnace upgrade, contact the pros at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. We proudly serve homeowners throughout the northwest Arkansas area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnace upgrades and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock