Furnaces have become increasingly more expensive to operate. As operating costs increase it is important to think about upgrading your furnace to one that is more efficient.
If you’re looking at installing a new furnace in your home, now is a great time to do it. You can get a tax credit from the government for buying a high-efficiency furnace, but you may need to know a little bit about how furnaces are rated so that you can make the best possible choice for your home.
The most obvious rating for furnaces is the one assigned by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. This rating basically looks at the percentage of heat produced for every dollar’s worth of fuel that your furnace consumers. Today, all furnaces have to be at least 78% efficient, which means that 78% of the fuel that is consumed by your furnace actually goes to heat your home.
Obviously, then, the higher the AFUE rating of the furnace you choose, the more money the furnace will save you. If you buy an 80% efficient furnace, you’ll lose 20% of your fuel costs into empty space, and if you buy a 90% efficient furnace, you’ll only waste 10% of your energy costs. Chances are likely that a furnace that’s more than a decade old will be losing you more than 20% of your energy costs, so a new high-efficiency furnace can save you a lot of money. (continue below)
While a furnace’s rating is really important, it isn’t the only important thing that you should consider when selecting a furnace. For instance, furnaces consume not only oil or natural gas but also electricity, which runs their fans and motors. Different furnaces will consume different amounts of electricity, so buying a furnace that is not only efficient with your gas or oil but also with your electricity can save you money on your energy bills.
One of the most electrically efficient types of furnaces is one with a variable speed motor. These motors help precisely control the flow of the air in your home by turning off and on or moving at different speed during different times. These types of motors can save you lots of money on your electric bill.
Another way to save energy is to find a furnace that has two-stage heating, which means that it puts out high heat on very cold days and lower heat on milder days. Most of the time, the furnace will run at the lower heat output, which means that it will use less energy on these days.
Combining the actual AFUE ratings of the furnaces you’re choosing with the knowledge of its electrical efficiency and the type of heating that it offers can help you make the best choice on an energy-efficient furnace. You can basically save yourself even more money by doing the research on the type of furnace you’re buying rather than simply buying a furnace that happens to have a high energy-efficiency rating. Even some Energy Star rated furnaces could cause your electrical bills to rise – or at least not to fall when you replace your furnace – so be sure that you look at all the aspects of your furnace before you buy a new one.