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How Efficient Should My Furnace Be?


When it comes to the furnace in you Fairfax home, efficiency matters. The more efficient your heating system, the lower your energy bills. To calculate a furnace’s energy cost, you need to consider both the type of gas it burns and the electricity required to operate the unit’s blowers and controls.

Furnace Efficiency Ratings

How effective a furnace is capable of converting gas into heat is measured by its annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. This rating reflects the percentage of the fuel consumed that’s actually used for heating the home. The higher the rating, the more efficient the furnace.

Modern furnaces are especially efficient compared to older units. In the 1970s, most gas furnaces had an AFUE around 65 percent. This meant that only 65 percent of the fuel was used to create heat, while the rest was lost through the process. The lowest efficiency allowed for gas furnaces today is AFUE 78, but most energy efficient models offer an AFUE in the high 90s.

Selecting your New Furnace

When it comes to purchasing a new furnace system, you’ll notice that prices generally rise in tandem with fuel efficiency. However, it’s important to remember that while you’ll likely pay more upfront for a high efficiency gas furnace, these initial costs will be recouped over the equipment’s lifetime in the form of lower utility bills. How quickly you recoup the initial cost and how much you end up saving over the long term depends on local climate factors, how well your home is insulated, and how much your gas and electricity costs are.

To help you select the appropriate efficiency rated system for you, ask your HVAC contractor to select a range of different models and calculate an annual estimated operating cost. This operating cost should factor in local gas and electricity rates and your home’s specific heating characteristics. If you’re concerned about the environment, it’s also important to note that more efficient furnaces will generate fewer emissions.

To learn more about high efficiency furnaces, or to schedule a consultation, contact your local experts at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited Heating & Air today.

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