Heater Efficiency – What’s it Mean?

By: Brian Schutt  |  December 5, 2009

So you’re looking at buying a new furnace (mind that it’s probably about 30 degrees in your house, because your old furnace just died). You didn’t budget the $3 Grand to replace it, you’re looking a the economy and wondering if you’ll still have a paycheck in 2010, and every story on TV is about Tiger Woods love life.

That’s not the time you’re going to do the essential math, to understand what heater efficiency ratings are all about, and determine what’s appropriate for you and your family. So let’s learn together today…

Furnaces are rated by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio, which is the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed.

Like the miles per gallon rating on your automobile, the higher the AFUE rating, the lower your fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured must meet at least 78 percent AFUE. If your furnace is 10 to 15 years old, it very well may fall below the current furnace minimum and waste energy.

This doesn’t mean that you should only look for a furnace with the highest AFUE rating. The efficiency rating is just one factor to consider when looking at a new furnace.

Furnaces use electricity to run fans and motors. The amount of electricity used varies greatly depending on the type of furnace. Be sure to check electricity usage prior to making a purchase decision.

There are several important factors to consider when making a purchase decision. Payback is a big factor. For instance, if you live in a colder climate, you could see payback in a few short years. But in a more moderate climate, it could take longer. In this case you may consider purchasing a mid-efficiency furnace. Remember, after the payback, you will continue to save money on your energy bills.

In the end, you should consider all these factors, plus your lifestyle and family needs, to show you which furnace is best for you.

Brian Schutt

About 

is the co-owner of Homesense Heating | Cooling. Born and raised in Indianapolis, he loves the city and its people, and is committed to bringing a servants mindset into the heating and cooling industry. One of the ways he does that is to translate the technical language of HVAC into the manageable and understandable for homeowners.

Have a question? Tweet him and you'll get an answer promptly.

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