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Energy Efficiency and Furnaces: The Basics

inside-a-natural-gas-furnaceAs winter winds down, homeowners often evaluate the performance of their home heating systems. Is it time to retire that old furnace that can’t seem to keep up? If it is, what type of furnace should replace it?

There are many questions people have about furnaces when they’re shopping for a new installation. Many of them are about energy efficiency: “How is efficiency measured? What does AFUE mean? Is a high-efficiency furnace automatically a money-saver?”

We’re going to get into the basics of furnace efficiency to provide you with some answers.

AFUE = Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

We know, that doesn’t explain much. AFUE is a measure of how much of its fuel source a furnace converts into actual heating and how much of it goes to waste as exhaust. AFUE is expressed as a percentage, and the higher the percentage the more efficient the furnace: a furnace with an AFUE of 80% turns 100 units of fuel into 80 units of heat, while 20 units go to waste. Most current furnaces have AFUE higher than 80%. To earn the ENERGY STAR label from the U.S. Department of Energy, a furnace must have AFUE of 95% or higher.

The Electric Furnace Issue

AFUE for the electric furnace can be a bit confusing to consumers, since it’s usually 100%. That makes it sound like an electric furnace is a much better option than gas furnaces because they’re less expensive to run. However, high efficiency doesn’t mean automatically that a heating system is a money saver. The cost of the energy source is important. Electricity is more expensive than natural gas, so electric furnaces tend to run up higher energy bills. We recommend using a natural gas furnace if your home has access to a gas line.

Choosing the right furnace efficiency for you

Please don’t run out and pick a furnace on your own using AFUE rating as your only guide. A 97% AFUE furnace may sound fantastic, but if it’s not the right power level for your home (what’s called its heating load) it will end up wasting money and failing to give you the comfort you want. Also, the higher the efficiency, the more expensive the furnace and the longer the payback period from any energy savings. Always work with HVAC professionals when choosing a furnace. You must have HVAC technicians to install the furnace, so have them involved from the beginning. The pros will make sure the furnace is sized correctly for your home so it will deliver on the promise of its AFUE rating. They’ll also help you make the choice that matches your current budget.

Furnace installation experts

If you’re looking for more information about a furnace installation in Cherry Hill, NJ, all you have to do is call us for an appointment. We’ll help you make the best decision when it comes to a new furnace, balancing out factors like efficiency and heating power. You can trust that we’ll have your furnace installed right so you can enjoy years of comfort and energy savings from it.

Gibson Heating & Cooling is family-owned and operated. We know how to earn trust by treating families right!

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