When it comes to making a major appliance purchase, Google can be your best friend. With just a few clicks, you can find out more about the item, compare makes and manufacturers, and even shop around.
But some appliances are easier to compare than others. A dishwasher, for example, is designed to wash dishes. You can select one that is quieter, or has more features for washing a wider selection of dishes. No matter what you purchase, it can fit in any home.
A furnace works a little differently. You can’t go to a local big box store, compare features, and bring one home with you to plugin and start working. In fact, if you shop for a furnace by features alone, you could end up with one that can’t do the job it was designed for. That’s because there are a lot of considerations that need to be made to find the right furnace for your home.
AFUE ratings are just one of the many things that need to be evaluated to determine which is right.
AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. It’s a measurement of how efficient the furnace burns. The more efficient it is, the less money you’ll spend during the winter months when your furnace runs regularly.
In theory, homeowners would love to install the most efficient furnace on the market. Why hand over money to the utility company if you don’t have to. But it’s not quite as easy as that.
Manufacturers strive to reach 100 percent efficiency. Depending on how old your model is, it may be somewhere in the 80 percent range. Current boiler heating systems are also rated in the 80 percent range. Of course, manufacturers are continuously striving for better technology, and are currently pushing as high as 97 AFUE.
Why haven’t they reached 100 AFUE? To burn fuel to produce heat isn’t a 100 percent effective process. They can clean it up as much as possible, but at this point, technology has not achieved 100 efficiency.
Should you move up to a 97 AFUE rated furnace? It depends on your current situation.
If you have an older furnace that has a low rating - 80 AFUE, for instance - a bump to a 97 AFUE furnace can dramatically increase your efficiency. You’ll see it in your monthly utility bills. Of course, you’ll have to pay for the furnace, which can be more than a lower rated furnaces. Is the difference worth it to you? Considering furnaces can last fifteen years or more, is increased savings each year worth paying more for your furnace today?
To decide which furnace is right for your home, start with an energy audit. We can take a look at your current furnace, evaluate your home heating needs, and help you decide which furnace is the right to invest in.