Winters can be quite cold in Southwest Ohio, so when it’s time to replace your old furnace, it’s especially important to find a model with a high AFUE. The furnace AFUE rating, or annual fuel utilization efficiency, is a measurement, in percentage, of how much fuel is converted into heat energy during the combustion process.
Some older furnaces have an AFUE rating as low as 65 percent. That means that for every $100 spent on fuel (whether natural gas, propane or heating oil), $65 is converted into heat and $35 is simply wasted during the process. Fortunately, today’s furnaces are much more efficient. By law, a new furnace must have a minimum AFUE of 78 percent, and the best models feature a furnace AFUE as high as 97 percent.
Cost vs. AFUE Rating
A furnace with an AFUE rating over 90 percent usually costs significantly more than a model with an 80 percent efficiency rating. While that extra initial cost should eventually be made up in lower utility bills, for more moderate climates, it may not make sense to spend the extra money upfront. In colder regions, like Ohio, however, it’s well worth the initial cost because the savings over the longer, colder heating season will recoup the initial cost faster. In addition to using less fuel, a high-efficiency furnace can also use less electricity because the fan may not need to run as often or as fast due to increased efficiency, especially if a variable-speed fan is used.
Choosing a Furnace
The best way to choose between models with different furnace AFUE ratings is to have your contractor estimate the installation cost and the savings over time, according to current utility prices. In addition, other factors in your home should be considered, such as the insulation quality, airtightness and the condition of the ducts.
Our HVAC professionals at Detmer and Sons, Inc. can help you to choose the best furnace for your home, balancing the initial cost and the furnace AFUE rating. Contact us today for an appointment in the Dayton or Springfield areas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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