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If it is time to replace your home’s furnace or boiler, one of the most important things you need to know about is what AFUE means. It is short for a ratio known as Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, which is a measurement of how efficient a furnace is expected to perform. You will see this term listed on the yellow Energy Guide label that is affixed to every new heater for sale in the United States, along with a comparison of how the furnace ranks against others in its class for energy efficiency.

What These Heater Ratings Show

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio provides a representation of how much heat is produced from the heater in comparison to the amount of fuel used throughout the course of a year. If a furnace or boiler has an AFUE of 90 percent, this would mean that 90 percent of the fuel that is used by the heater is used to produce heat. The other 10 percent of the fuel is not fully consumed and usually winds up going up the chimney if the heater burns fuel. Electric furnaces do not use a chimney, so their ratings usually range between 95 and 100 percent.

The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the heater will be provided the other components of your heating system is in good condition. The expected efficiency performance of a furnace or boiler can be affected by deficiencies in your home’s ductwork. This is why it is important to have an evaluation of your existing system performed before replacing your heater.

The More Efficient, the More Money You Save

When choosing a new heater, you should always try to go with a model that has the highest heater ratings that you can afford. Your upfront costs will be higher, but your overall savings will make up for this initial investment.

Since May 2013, the Federal Trade Commission has raised the minimum efficiency ratings for indoor furnaces and boilers to the following:

  • Gas furnaces – 80 percent
  • Oil-burning furnaces – 83 percent
  • Electric furnaces – 78 percent
  • Gas hot water boiler – 82 percent
  • Oil-burning hot water boiler – 84 percent

If your current furnace is over 10 years old, it is likely that its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio could be around 70 percent. So even if you upgrade your system to a new furnace with a minimum rating, you will still save money heating your Frankfort, IL, home. If you choose a higher efficiency model, you may be eligible for rebates and incentives from your local utilities and tax rebates, in addition to the energy savings you can expect over the lifetime of the unit.

Our installation experts at Climate Master can help take the confusion out of understanding AFUE ratings. We will design an energy efficient heating system that meets your budget and will keep your home comfortable throughout our cold winter season. After installation, we will keep your system running smoothly with the reliable and professional service that our customers have trusted for more than 23 years.