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High vs Mid-Efficiency Heaters – Which Makes the Most Budget Sense

As you explore possible upgrade options for your home heating equipment, you may wonder what type of heater is best for your home. Efficiency levels are important, and higher efficiency levels make it possible to cut costs on keeping your home comfortable for the winter months. However, high efficiency comes at a cost, and the most efficient systems tend to be the most expensive. It may be helpful to compare features of high efficiency heaters to features of mid-efficiency heaters in order to make the best budgetary decision for your household.

Furnace Efficiency Levels

The annual fuel utilization efficiency, AFUE, of today’s furnaces can range from approximately 80 percent to more than 97 percent. As you explore your options, the savings comparisons for mid-efficiency and high-efficiency units will vary based on whether variable speed technology is a part of the system. For example, an AFUE of 80 with VS technology can save 13 percent on energy usage. A mid-range AFUE of 90 can save 16 percent over the usage of an AFUE 80 system. An AFUE of 95 can cave 23 percent, and an AFUE of 96.6 percent with VS technology can save 23 percent over the operation of a basic system.

Heat Pump Heating Efficiency

The heating seasonal performance factor, HSPF, of a new heat pump should be at least 8.2. The variations in heating performance and energy costs are slight for mid-efficiency systems, but a high-efficiency unit can provide significant energy savings. Heat pumps are more commonly compared because of their cooling efficiency, a factor that can lead to dramatic summer cooling savings.

Professional Input Is Essential

Efficiency levels alone can be deceiving as you consider the best heater for your home. The labels provide an indication of the maximum efficiency possible in a given system, and household factors can play a role in how much energy usage you will actually experience. Your heating contractor will need to calculate your home’s heating load to determine proper system sizing. Additionally, issues like local utility costs and climate will play a role in how your new system will impact your budget.

Installing a high-efficiency system without taking steps to optimize your home for efficient comfort and energy performance can be of limited benefit. Installation of a mid-efficiency heater combined with home sealing, duct sealing and implementing Energy Star guidelines for setting your furnace, meanwhile, can produce excellent savings on your energy bills. Your contractor can provide a personalized evaluation of your needs and options.

Consider 25C Tax Credit Options

As you evaluate the cost to install a new system, the 25C tax credit may provide added encouragement to opt for a more efficient unit. You can save up to $150 on an eligible furnace or up to $300 on an eligible heat pump. You must have the system installed in your primary residence prior to the end of the tax year to be able to claim the credit.

Climate Master Mechanical Contractors, Inc., is available to provide you with an estimate if you are ready to upgrade your existing heating system. We can also provide energy audits and home sealing services if you are looking for affordable ways to improve your energy usage. Contact our New Lenox, IL, office for assistance in scheduling an appointment.

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