Why a High-Efficiency Furnace is Right For You
In the United States, many people use forced-air systems to heat their homes. Typically located in
your basement, crawl space, or the attic a furnace isn’t something that is given much thought on a
day-to-day basis. However, knowing more about this piece of equipment can dramatically increase
the comfort of your home while also reducing the cost to operate it.
How does a furnace work?
A forced-air furnace works by running through a heating cycle in which gas ignites the burner, the flame heats up the heat exchanger and air is moved across the heat exchanger then distributed through your duct work in order to supply heat for your home.
Each gas heating system on the market is rated for its energy efficiency using a percentage, this number is called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. It represents the amount of fuel that is converted to heat versus the amount that is lost when the furnace is running. For example, if you purchase a forced-air furnace with an 80% efficiency rating, 20% of the fuel used to operate the furnace escapes and is wasted.
AFUE can also change over time. Variables like age or a lack of routine maintenance can decrease the efficiency of a furnace dramatically, with some older models having an efficiency rating as bad as 60% and below.
Choosing the right furnace
The price of a high-efficiency furnace can be more expensive than one with a lower efficiency rating, but the cost of operating it is often much less. Over time a reduction in gas bills can help balance out the initial cost.
Another incentive to upgrade to a higher efficiency can be receiving a rebate for doing so. In New York, most fuel providers run yearly programs designed to put money back into the customer’s pocket for choosing furnace models with a better AFUE.