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Potter Heating Cooling & Plumbing Blog

AFUE Ratings for Furnaces: What Do They Mean?

When it’s time for you to upgrade your furnace and you’re shopping around, you’ll notice that each furnace has a rating called AFUE. This acronym is short for annual fuel utilization efficiency and helps you identify how energy efficient a furnace is.

You can keep reading to learn more about AFUE ratings, what they mean, and how to select a high-efficiency furnace. And give our team a call to schedule your appointment for furnace installation in Rochester. We’re here to help with all of your needs, from selecting the right model to installation and even maintenance and service for the life of your unit. 

How Is AFUE Measured?

AFUE ratings are measured by comparing the amount of energy a furnace consumes to the amount of heat it is able to produce using that same amount of energy. No furnace is 100% energy efficient. This means that some energy will get lost during the heating process. The higher the AFUE rating of a furnace, the more heat it is able to produce based on the energy it consumes.

Why Does AFUE Exist?

A few ratings were created to say that consumers can make an educated decision about purchasing a residential furnace. Otherwise, you’d be left comparing the efficiency claims by each furnace brand and type without any evidence to back it up. AFUE was designed as a way to standardize ratings so you can make a comparison across all brands, models, and types of furnaces. This helps you make the best decision for your home and family.

Understanding Efficiency

AFUE ratings are on a percentage scale. In the United States, the minimum allowed AFUE rating for any furnace being installed is currently 80. This means that a furnace must be able to turn 80% of the energy used directly into heat for a home. Of course, this leaves 20% of the energy being produced wasted during the creation of heat. The higher the AFUE rating is, the less energy it has to consume to produce heat.

Furnaces are considered high efficiency with an AFUE rating of 90. This leaves only 10% of energy being lost. You can get furnaces with AFUE ratings up to 97% or 98%. Is it important to keep in mind that high-efficiency furnaces often cost more upfront for installation. However, the savings can add up very quickly when you consider how much you’re saving on monthly energy costs.

If you have an older furnace, it may have a much lower AFUE rating. Efficiency standards have changed over the years and modern furnaces are much more energy efficient. If you’re looking to save money on your monthly energy costs, we encourage you to upgrade your older furnace to a newer high-efficiency model. 

This is especially important if your furnace is at least 15 years old. 10 to 15 years is the average expected lifespan for any furnace. The older that your furnace gets, the more outdated it is compared to newer models.

Contact Potter Heating Cooling & Plumbing today to schedule your heating services. Our team is here to help with all of your heating and air conditioning needs.

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