When it comes time to buy a furnace, you may become overwhelmed with the highly technical terms related to heating systems. But don’t worry: Furnace AFUE is arguably the most important term you need to know to buy a furnace and get maximize your return on investment.
Simply put, annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, is a rating that shows homeowners how efficiently the unit is expected to operate. To calculate AFUE, manufacturers use complicated calculations to reach a percentage, but what homeowners need to know about furnace AFUE is simply that it shows how much fuel the system can convert into heat, and how much of that fuel is lost.
Currently, federal government standards for furnace efficiency rest at 78 percent. Therefore, if you were to buy a furnace with a 78 AFUE, it would use 78 percent of the fuel to generate heat, with the other 22 percent lost up the chimney or elsewhere. Beginning in May 2013, federal standards for furnace efficiency will change, and furnace minimums will change to at least 80 percent AFUE.
Consider the value of choosing a higher furnace AFUE. While these systems generally cost more to purchase upfront, they use features that greatly advance efficiency, giving homeowners lower monthly energy bills and significantly improving home comfort.
While homeowners in cold northern regions of the U.S benefit from using high-efficiency furnaces, homeowners who live in a generally mild climate like North Carolina’s can also benefit. High-efficiency furnaces utilize multiple components that run at several speeds, which increase the unit’s lifespan by saving on useful operating hours. When the furnace runs at lower speeds, the unit saves energy too. Look for components like the variable-speed air handler, sealed combustion and condensing technology to maximize return on investment.
For more expert advice when it comes to furnace AFUE and choosing features, contact Blanton’s Heating & A/C. We serve homeowners in the greater Fayetteville area.