AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency, determines a furnace’s energy efficiency. In this blog, Cal Air Cooling and Heating, one of the top heating and air conditioning companies in the area, takes a closer look at how this rating system can help you get the most out of your heating system.
What Is AFUE?
AFUE measures a fuel-based heating system’s efficiency at converting fuel to heat. The rating system is simple: the percentage indicates the amount of energy generated in relation to the amount of fuel expended within a year. For example, if your furnace has 90% AFUE, it means that for every dollar you spend on fuel, 10 cents are lost out the chimney or in the form of a waste byproduct.
Buying a new furnace is an opportunity to upgrade to one with a better AFUE. For instance, a traditional cast-iron oil-fired furnace typically has 60% AFUE, while a new, mid-efficiency oil-fired furnace can have up to 89%. This significant difference in AFUE percentages means you’ll be able to start saving more energy, and within a few years you can recoup some of the upgrade costs, which is great news if you have a fixed budget for your heating fuel
Factors That Affect AFUE
The type of fuel used to power the furnace is a major factor in determining its AFUE, according to most air conditioning companies. Wood-fired furnaces are generally inefficient, with less than 50% AFUE, while gas-fired furnaces can be as efficient as 95%. Electric furnaces are considered fuel-based heaters, as they convert heat in the same fashion as the heating elements in toasters and water heaters, and typically have 100% AFUE.
Note that the AFUE ratings, as indicated on the specifications upon purchase, are tested at the factory. Factors in your home can affect the operational AFUE, such as the condition of the existing ductwork or the insulation in the attic and exterior walls. Other components such as windows, entry doors and skylights can potentially leak out heated air. Also, pipes and chimneys with soot build-up can be detrimental to your furnace’s efficiency, and potentially reduce AFUE by up to 20%. A capable HVAC technician can make recommendations on how to improve these conditions.
Make Your Heating More Efficient With Cal Air Cooling and Heating
To learn more about our products, call Cal Air Cooling and Heating today at (702) 550-1435. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We are among the top air conditioning companies in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas.