AFUE Ratings: Why They Matter When Shopping for a Furnace
When you run your furnace, do you ever wonder if it’s operating efficiently? The only way to know your next furnace will perform at the efficiency level you expect is to compare AFUE ratings before you make your purchase.
What is AFUE?
AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires new furnaces to display their AFUE ratings loud and clear on the EnergyGuide label. This bright yellow label is present on all new furnaces so consumers can make an educated decision based on energy efficiency.
AFUE ratings measure how efficiently furnaces convert fuel into heat for your home. For example, 90 AFUE means 90 percent of the fuel’s energy is converted into heat for your home; the remaining 10 percent escapes out the venting system with combustion fumes. As you might guess, the closer the AFUE rating is to 100, the more efficient the furnace is.
Is it Worth Investing in a High-Efficiency Furnace?
Higher efficiency brings a higher initial price tag. However, in the Mid-Atlantic region where chilly winters reign, it could definitely be in your best interest to invest in a more efficient furnace. Colder winters usually mean hiked up energy bills, but with a high-efficiency furnace heating your home, the energy savings you enjoy help offset the higher initial price.
What About Tax Credits?
If you decide a high-efficiency furnace is right for your home, now is the time to buy. Until the end of 2013, you can enjoy $150 in federal energy tax credits if you choose a 95 percent AFUE or higher furnace. Keep in mind that only combustion furnaces running on oil, natural gas or propane qualify. Electric furnaces may be able achieve nearly 100 AFUE, but because it’s so inefficient to produce electricity at power plants, these types of furnaces don’t qualify for the tax credits.
For more on how to choose a furnace based on AFUE ratings, please contact the professionals at Sobieski Services, Inc. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: KAM workshops