How to Understand Furnace Efficiency Ratings

Better Efficiency Means More Savings

Furnace efficiency ratings differentiate between the good, the better and the worst of furnaces. Better efficiency means more savings, especially over a long term basis. If you are considering replacing your furnace, it is helpful to understand what the ratings mean. Keep in mind, h, different fuels carry different efficiency ratings. This is known as your Annual Fuel Utilization Rating or AFUE.

These ratings tell you how much money you will save or spend on your energy bills. Gas furnaces are common in homes, with the best efficiency ratings reaching as high as 98%. The low end for gas is down around 82%. Coincidentally, 82% is the average efficiency rating for an oil furnace. Sometimes there can be 30 to 50% savings on fuel bills when dealing with a gas furnace. Oil furnaces could see a boost of 10 to 20%. Oil has not made as much progress as gas because it is not considered to be as much of a clean burning fuel.

An older gravity furnace, commonly found in urban areas, is not always equipped with a blower. These often generate 60-70% efficiency at best. By replacing it with a newer model, which can get up to around 92 % efficiency, the savings will be quite noticeable on your energy bill. Propane is pretty much the same as natural gas. It can range from 92 to 97% efficiency. An upgrade on your propane furnace usually sees a savings of around 20 to 25% efficiency.

An electric furnace uses a toaster coil so there is not much to improve on except for the blower motor. Failing chimneys can also call for the need of a new furnace. Homeowners can eliminate their chimney altogether with a high-efficiency furnace.

There are many different ways to heat your home

There are even more ways to heat your home. If you are looking into having your furnace replaced, you may want to think about the options you have available. Heat pumps are common and rated in something called HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). A rating of 9 or 10 is usually very good. However, newer model heat pumps have achieved ratings as high as 12 or 13. Heat pumps have seen a lot of improvements over the years.

Homeowners can see anywhere from 30 to 70% savings when upgrading from an old heat pump to a new one. Air conditioning is rated in SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). These SEER ratings can go as high as 20 or 22. Annual savings range at about 7% per SEER. That means if you upgraded from a 10 to 20 SEER unit, your savings would increase by 70%.

Make sure you are comparing apples to apples

Contractor prices can be differentiated by which brand of furnace they are recommending. One particular furnace may cost $500 more, although it may have a higher efficiency rating. If that is the case, it may be more advantageous to make that deal as it will save money on future energy bills.

YES! Do focus on the quality of the equipment/manufacturer

Sub-par equipment will not be beneficial for the long term, despite lower prices now. Make sure you are getting estimates on the same brand and model of equipment. Consumer Reports has a complete rundown of the best and worst brands of furnaces to choose from. When Fred comes to your home to provide you with an estimate, he brings a copy of that guide with him, so you can be sure you are getting the best furnace at the best price.

That’s just part of the personal guarantee he gives each of his customers. Furnace installation and repair in York is made easy with the help of the Fred Holder and the professionals at Cool Masters. Contact FredĀ for a free quote.

How to Understand Furnace Efficiency Ratings was last modified: March 30th, 2015 by Fred Holder