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What’s a Good AFUE Rating and Why Is It Important?

You may have never heard of the term AFUE before, but it plays an important role in how well your furnace operates. In our most recent blog, the technicians at Star Heating & Cooling explain what an AFUE rating is and how it impacts your furnace. With a better understanding of AFUE ratings, you’ll know more about your furnace and how it operates!

What Is an AFUE Rating?

AFUE is an acronym for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, a measure used to express the energy efficiency of a furnace that uses natural gas, propane, or heating oil. In simple terms, the AFUE rating measures how well your furnace converts fuel to energy for heating over an entire season. To determine the AFUE rating for a particular furnace model, the total heat output is divided by the total fuel input.

If your furnace has a good AFUE rating of 90, it means that it is able to convert 100 BTUs of natural gas into 90 BTUs of actual energy. An older furnace with an AFUE of only 80 means that of the 100 BTUs of natural gas that is input, about 20% goes to waste.

What Does an AFUE Rating Mean for Me?

If you pay close attention to the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating of furnace models you are considering buying, you will understand how cost effective the unit will be to operate. In an 80 AFUE furnace, 20 percent of fuel consumed is wasted. Think of this as 80 cents of every dollar you spend on your gas bill actually is used to heat your home’s air, while the remaining 20 cents is basically thrown away. 

When searching for high-efficiency models with AFUE in mind, more of your energy dollars are actually spent for your family’s benefit. The higher the AFUE, the more of your money makes heat. It costs less to operate a high-efficiency furnace throughout the cold season because energy waste is drastically limited in these units.

However, there is one caveat – you must also consider the cost of the fuel source used to heat the home and operate the new furnace to determine accurate heating costs. Today, natural gas is typically the cheapest fuel option for heating. 

Shopping for a New Furnace

Back in the 1970s, a typical gas furnace had an AFUE of only 65. Today, the minimum AFUE allowed by law is 78, though in the near future it surely will be much higher. The highest AFUE furnace we offer at this time is the Infinity 98 Gas Furnace With Greenspeed Intelligence with an efficiency that is up to 98.5%.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created ENERGY STAR ratings as a guideline to consumers who want to keep utility costs low while they help protect the environment.  When you purchase a gas furnace with a higher AFUE number, it means the unit uses fuel more efficiently and allows less waste. Naturally, the higher the AFUE, the higher the price. There is usually a difference of about $1,000 between a furnace with an AFUE of 80 versus one with 90 or more.

AFUE Ratings for Central Indiana Homes

Here in the Midwest, gas furnaces with higher Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency values make sense to consider. The Central Indiana cold season can run from late October through early April. In this colder climate, switching to a heating system with a high AFUE rating than your old model produces a noticeable reduction in energy consumption and utility costs. 

Need Help Selecting a New Furnace?

Rely on the sales team and technicians of Star Heating & Cooling to help you find the best furnace for your home, your energy usage, and your budget. We share our knowledge and expertise to help you determine how an AFUE rating should impact your purchase. If you live in Marion or Hamilton counties in Indiana, please contact us for a free estimate at 317-753-0279. Trust the technicians at Star Heating & Cooling for all of your home’s heating and cooling needs.