Understanding New Furnace Efficiency Standards – Sobieski Services | DE, NJ, PA, MD

Understanding New Furnace Efficiency Standards

Judge and GavelThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has adopted new furnace efficiency standards that will govern the efficiency ratings of residential heating systems in three separate regions of the United States. These regional standards, which will take effect as of May 1, 2013, apply different standards to heating equipment used in these regions. The new furnace efficiency standards are intended to improve the minimum energy efficiency of furnaces while also offering opportunities for region-specific energy conservation and reductions in seasonal heating costs.

The new furnace efficiency standards divide the United States into three regions–North, Southwest and Southeast–each of which has a substantially different climate. Because of these climate differences, heating costs and energy consumption vary considerably. The reasoning behind establishing regional efficiency standards is that heating needs in a cold northern state cannot reasonably be assumed to be the same as those in a hot southwestern state. Therefore, what constitutes an energy-efficient heating system in a state such as Wisconsin cannot logically be considered the same for one in Nevada.

Delaware and Maryland are part of the Southeastern region, while Pennsylvania and New Jersey fall into the North region.

The new regional standards affect the Annual Fuel Efficiency Rating (AFUE) of furnaces purchased and used in each region. AFUE is a standard measure of furnace efficiency accepted and applied throughout the HVAC industry. A furnace’s AFUE number indicates how much of the energy in the fuel or electricity used by the unit gets converted into usable heat that can be applied to warming your home. For example, an AFUE 85 natural gas furnace can convert 85 percent of the energy in the gas to heat. The other 15 percent is lost through ventilation or leaks.

In Delaware, non-weatherized gas furnaces and gas furnaces used in mobile homes must have a minimum AFUE rating of 80. This applies to furnaces installed on or after May 1, 2013.

Contact us today for more information on the new furnace efficiency standards and how they will affect your choice of heating equipment in the future.

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: SalFalko

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