A rating on your comfort equipment (also known as your heating and cooling system) is similar to the miles per gallon rating on your car. The higher the rating number, the more efficient the system and the lower your fuel consumption will be.
If you have an older system, a new system is worth the investment. The greater the gain in efficiency from a new furnace means the greater the energy savings to you. Besides big savings on your utility bills, a new system will also eliminate the need for expensive repairs and escalating maintenance costs associated with an aging system.
Below are some important facts you should know about efficiency ratings.
- If your home comfort system was installed before the year 2000, you might consider changing to a new, high-efficiency system. Heating and cooling systems have advanced significantly in design and efficiency in the last 11 years. Older equipment wastes energy and costs you significantly more to heat and cool your home.
- When you go shopping for a gas furnace make sure you take a look at AFUE ratings. AFUE (Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency) is the standard measurement of efficiency for gas and oil-fired furnaces. Given in percentages, this number tells you how much of your fuel is used to heat your home and how much fuel is wasted. If your furnace has a rating of 80%, the furnace converts 80% of the fuel that you supply to heat and 20% is lost out of the chimney. The most efficient furnaces in the industry have AFUE ratings of up to 96.7%.
- The minimum AFUE set by the Department of Energy (DOE) is 78% and for Energy Star (joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy), 90%. You can go to the Energy Star website to find out more about energy efficient products that help you conserve energy and save on your utility bills, http://www.energystar.gov.
- AFUE will affect the amount you pay for the fuel whether it is natural or LP gas. The rising prices of fuel gives people added incentives to pay higher initial cost and installation cost for the high AFUE equipment. A higher AFUE furnace will pay for itself faster than a lower efficient furnace over the long term because it uses less fuel to produce the same amount of heat.
- In the chart below you can see what kind of savings you can gain by upgrading to a higher efficient furnace.
Upgrading to a new heating and cooling system with a higher AFUE rating will start saving you money and energy costs from day one. And remember, with fuel costs increasing, you’ll be saving even more!