You have heard the hype about how high-efficiency furnaces save money, but are they worth the cost? Though high-efficiency furnaces cost more upfront, the savings in the long run cannot be argued. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), older, low- to mid-efficiency furnaces are inadequate to save on your monthly heating costs because they:
- Create a natural draft that increases the flow of combustion gasses
- Have a continually running pilot light
- Utilize a large heat exchanger, compared to newer, smaller units
- Have an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating of 56 to 83 percent
Why does AFUE matter?
AFUE essentially lets you know how much fuel your furnace uses to heat your home in comparison to the amount it loses, either up the chimney or through natural dissipation. If your old, low-efficiency furnace has an AFUE of 56 percent, that means that 56 percent of the fuel used actually converts to heat, while 44 percent is emitted as waste. That’s almost half your fuel, and it’s a good reason to upgrade to a newer, high-efficiency furnace, most of which have a 90 percent AFUE or higher. A 90 percent AFUE means only 10 percent of your gas is actually wasted. Some models offer up to 98.5 percent.
How high-efficiency systems save you money
Combustion in high-efficiency units is sealed, which helps reduce the amount of gas that escapes during the heating process. Since high-efficiency units offer 90 to 98.5 percent AFUE, your home only wastes 1.5 to 10 percent of the gas used. High-efficiency units are designed specifically to use less energy, and also offer a secondary heat exchanger, so that your unit does not work as hard to produce heat for your home.
If you are ready to upgrade to a high-efficiency unit, look for the Energy Star label. You can estimate your annual savings based on AFUE by checking out the EPA’s Annual Estimated Savings table.
Ready to maximize your home’s efficiency and save on monthly heating costs? Contact the heating and cooling experts at Powers Heating & Air.We proudly serve residential and commercial customers in the Peachtree City area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree, GA and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about high-efficiency furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock