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Understanding the AFUE rating for furnaces

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of furnaces has become one of the most important numbers to consider when choosing a heating system. Understanding what this rating means will help you make better, more economical choices when it comes to heating your home.

Introduction to AFUE ratings

The AFUE measures, in the form of a percentage, how efficiently your furnace uses fuel to heat your home. For instance, if your furnace has an AFUE of 70%, it means 70% of the fuel it burns is converted to heat for your home. The remaining 30% gets wasted during combustion. It’s a toxic byproduct and pollutant that escape through your chimney.

Thus, the higher the AFUE rating, the more energy efficient your furnace is. This is why Canada, for instance, imposes a minimum AFUE of 95% for gas furnaces installed in a home.

AFUE and heating costs

As you may have guessed, the higher your furnace’s AFUE, the less it costs for you to heat your home. Imagine that each litre of gas costs you a dollar. With an AFUE of 70%, you’re only using 70 cents of that dollar to heat your home, whereas with a furnace with an AFUE of 95, that dollar is going a lot further. Thus, replacing an older furnace with a newer, more efficient model could save you a lot of money. In some cases, switching could represent a reduction of your gas bill by up to 45%.

Comparing furnaces using AFUE ratings

Contrasting two furnaces based on their AFUE ratings is in itself straightforward: the higher the rating, the more efficient it is. However, it isn’t the whole story. The furnace’s heating capacity is another factor to consider. If your home isn’t particularly well insulated, a more efficient furnace may be outweighed by the fact it has to work harder to maintain an even temperature. The best thing to do is to speak with a professional.

Furnace and heat repair in the Vancouver area

Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating provides a full range of furnace repair and replacement services to residents and businesses in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster and surrounding areas. We also offer ongoing maintenance services to help you extend the life of your furnace. If you think you may be due for a new furnace, or if you want to make sure yours will last through the entire winter, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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