Upgrading Your Furnace? Compare The AFUE Ratings, But Run The Numbers Too


AFUE ratings specify the annual fuel-utilization efficiency of furnaces. The rating, expressed as a percentage, indicates how much of the fuel consumed is actually converted to heat; higher numbers represent higher efficiency. Furnaces with higher AFUE ratings also tend to be more expensive, but these are not the only numbers to consider when upgrading your furnace.

To maximize your investment, factor in all of the following numbers when considering new heating equipment for your home:

  • Purchase price — The initial investment can have a big impact on your wallet, but better efficiency means lower monthly utility bills. Striking the right balance between cost and efficiency can help you save both immediately and in the long term.
  • Monthly costs — The cost of operating a furnace is reflected in both your gas bill and your electrical bill. Work with your contractor to compare the AFUE ratings and electricity consumption of different models to help you estimate monthly costs for your new equipment.
  • Heating load — Your contractor can calculate the heating load of your home by using factors such as square footage, layout, insulation levels, energy lost through air leaks and duct size. Use this number to properly size a furnace in order to maximize energy efficiency.
  • Local metrics – Local utility costs and climate conditions should play a role in your decision. In colder areas, like Massachusetts, higher-efficiency models may be worth the extra initial expense.

The best way to decide which new furnace model is right for you is to compare several different models. Look at the AFUE ratings, estimated monthly costs, and other numbers specific to your home and region. Ask your contractor to provide several suggestions so that you can compare costs and features to make an informed decision.

Serving the Metrowest Boston area, Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can help you select a new furnace based on both your heating needs and your budget. Our trained technicians can provide customized calculations so you can make a smart and confident decision about your investment. Contact us any time to learn more about selecting the best heating system for your home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Solutions Guide.

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