There are many options to consider when choosing the right furnace for your home and needs. However, if there is one thing that matters across the board, it’s efficiency. A furnace’s efficiency is measured by its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE, rating. The Federal Trade Commission requires new furnaces to display their AFUE ratings so homeowners can compare the efficiency of various models.
So, what exactly is AFUE? To put it simply, AFUE is the ratio of annual heat output of the furnace compared to the annual fuel energy consumed by the furnace. Let’s say a furnace has an AFUE rating of 95%. This means that 95% of the fuel being used becomes heat for the home. This is important. When your furnace performs efficiently, it saves money. You would not want to pay 100% of your heating bill and only get to enjoy 50% of the heat.
Today, high-efficiency furnaces operate at 90–98.5% efficiency. Should you choose to install a high-efficiency furnace, you should know that the initial cost can be pricy, but the benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks. Spending money on a high-quality furnace will save you money in the long run. Older furnaces might not even be rated, but if a furnace has a continuous pilot light that requires you to light it when it goes out, it’s safe to say it is only operating at about 50–70%. So, if you have an older furnace, you might be spending your money on wasted fuel.