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Furnace Efficiency Ratings and What They Mean

The efficiency of your HVAC system is important for a number of reasons. The more efficient a furnace is, the less energy it uses to heat your home. With less energy used, whether that means gas, oil, or electricity, you save money on every energy bill. You can also feel better about your carbon footprint and contributing less to environmental problems. So how do you know how efficient a furnace is? It all comes down to the efficiency rating.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rating

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating, or AFUE, rates a furnace by how much heat it provides in comparison to how much energy it uses. As an example, an AFUE rating of 75 percent tells you that the furnace loses 25 percent of the energy coming in and only 75 percent of that energy goes into producing heat. The higher the rating, the less energy is wasted and the more efficient a furnace is.

How to Find Your Furnace’s AFUE Rating

Most furnaces have a bright yellow sticker on them, labeled energy guide. This is where you will see your AFUE rating. This is required to be on all new furnaces. If you have an older furnace, installed before the rule went into effect, you may have to estimate the efficiency. If your furnace has a continuous pilot light, you have a style of furnace that typically rates between 56 and 70 percent. Those with an electronic ignition are more likely to rate around 80 percent.

What is the Minimum Requirement for AFUE

New furnaces have to meet a certain minimum efficiency rating of 78 percent for most homes. For mobile homes, which are harder to heat efficiently, 75 percent is the minimum. Efficiency requirements are set by the Department of Energy and they are subject to change. Different types of furnaces may eventually have different set minimum requirements for AFUE.

AFUE Doesn’t Tell You about Your Whole HVAC System

Keep in mind that the AFUE rating is just for your furnace. Another place where you can lose efficiency is in your ducts, which move hot air around your home. If ducts are not insulated well you can lose a lot of heat this way, especially in colder parts of the home like the attic.

Efficiency ratings are important, and not just because the government requires them. If you want to be environmentally responsible and save money, you need to consider the AFUE rating of your furnace. When you’re ready to upgrade to a new, more efficient furnace, contact us at Hader so our professionals can help you choose the right unit and get it installed.

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