What Does the AFUE Mean for My New Heater?

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AFUE is an acronym for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and it measures how efficiently your furnace can utilize its fuel. Essentially, the more efficient your furnace is, the more heat you will get per unit of fuel. When it comes to getting a new heater, it’s essential to learn how to properly read AFUE ratings.

Understanding AFUE Ratings

Heating and cooling systems today are required to meet minimum efficiency ratings, as defined by the government. The minimum standard for furnaces is at 78% AFUE. Let’s say you had a furnace with this AFUE rating installed in your home. That means your unit would use 78% of the total energy it consumes to generate heat, with the other 22% being lost of the flue, which is a lot of wasted energy. Therefore, high-efficiency furnaces begin at 90% AFUE. One of the most important things to understand is that a higher AFUE rating does not necessarily mean your heater will be cheaper to operate. This is because different fuel sources elicit varied AFUE ratings. For example, electricity is the most efficient type of fuel, with an AFUE of 100% for a central furnace system. However, electricity is more expensive than gas when it comes to your monthly utility bills.

What Are the Benefits?

That being said, high-efficiency heating systems offer many benefits. Furnaces with a high AFUE typically last longer than those without, provided that it is well-maintained and sized correctly. Appropriately sized high-efficiency heaters don’t cycle on and off as frequently—a process called short cycling—which can be hard on the system’s components. Additionally, high-efficiency furnaces are generally equipped with safety features such as sealed combustion and direct-air intake vents. To learn more about AFUE ratings and to select a furnace in Ham Lake, MN, call Air Mechanical today!

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