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What do Furnace Energy Efficiency Ratings Mean?

Since home heating costs make up a significant part of the budget for the average Woodbridge, VA homeowner, it makes sense to weigh your options carefully. If your heating system operates efficiently and only needs an annual tune-up, you shouldn’t have to think about replacing it for several years. You may want to consider installing a new, more energy efficient heating unit if your current system requires frequent repairs and your utility bills continue to increase.

Cost Considerations When Purchasing a New Heating System

For most homeowners, upfront cost is one of the biggest considerations when it comes to purchasing a new heating unit. At Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we help our customers save money with coupon specials. We also let you know about tax credits or manufacturer rebates that may apply to your situation. While you obviously want your purchase price to be as low as possible, you also need to consider your return on investment. It is more cost-effective for you over time to install a new heating system than to continue paying for frequent or extensive repair work.

Understanding Efficiency Ratings

Every new gas furnace in the United States is assigned an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating before it is made available to the public. The AFUE rating, which is typically listed as a whole percentage, refers to the amount of fuel a heating system uses to keep your home or business warm. As an example, a heater with an AFUE rating of 85 percent uses that percentage of its fuel and wastes 15 percent of it. The amount that is not used is vented through your chimney and outside of your home.

The most efficient heaters on the market today have AFUE ratings of 98 percent. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently requires a minimum energy efficiency rating of 78 percent for all heating systems except for those used in a mobile home. Those are only required to be 75 percent efficient. Between 2013 and 2015, the minimum AFUE enforced by the EPA will increase to 80 to 83 percent depending on the specific type of equipment.

How to Determine a High Efficiency Heating System

The Department of Energy (DOE) states that there are several things you can look for to help determine the efficiency of your current heating system. The first is its AFUE rating. Low efficiency units have a rating of 56 to 70 percent and may be more than 20 years old. A heating system operating at medium efficiency has an AFUE rating of 80 to 83 percent. The most highly efficient systems are rated between 90 and 98 percent efficient. These heating systems have a sealed combustion and the condensing flue gases are contained in a second heat exchanger to improve overall energy efficiency.

Please contact our team of professionals at Brennan’s Heating and Air Conditioning with all your HVAC questions.  We are proud to serve our friends and neighbors in Woodbridge, Va and the surrounding communities.

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