Your Furnace: How Efficient Should It Be?

December 27, 2013
Ross and Witmer

Now that the cold winter months are among us, it’s time to think about turning on the heat. For some homeowners, that may require replacing a faulty unit with a new furnace. But you may be wondering exactly how efficient should it be. Contrary to what you may think, it may not be the most cost effective decision to install the highest efficiency furnace in your Gaston area home. In fact, several factors may affect your purchase. Here are some things to consider when you’re trying to determine which efficiency rating is best for your use.

Check the AFUE Rating

First of all, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, rating. This is a rating system that determines how efficiently a furnace converts gas into energy used specifically to heat your home. A higher percentage means that the appliance releases less emissions into the environment. The lowest efficiency rating allowed is AFUE 78, while the most efficient products can reach an AFUE of 97. Keep in mind that a model with a 90 AFUE can cost substantially more than one with an 80 rating.

Choosing an Efficient

In order to help you decide which one is best for your needs, please consider the following:

  • Ask your HVAC contractor to choose a few select models with different efficiency ratings to see which one may be most cost effective for you. Because the higher efficiency models are generally more expensive, you’ll need to know when your purchase will pay off. Your contractor may have a simple computer program that will determine the appropriate numbers.
  • As you’re well aware, the winters in North Carolina and can be relatively cold. In general, your purchase of a higher rated efficiency model may be more economical in your particular climate.
  • When choosing between the different levels of efficiency, consider how well your home retains heat and how much your local utility rates cost. These factors will also determine the time it will take to see a payoff if you install a more efficient model.

If you need more expert advice on furnaces in the Gaston area, please contact the pros at Ross & Witmer.

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