Spokane Heating Question: What is AFUE and Why Should I Care?

There are quite a few numbers attached to the components of your Spokane home’s heating system. One number that you’ll see a lot when looking for a new home heating system is AFUE. Used to describe the efficiency of gas furnaces, AFUE is an important measurement that can affect both the cost of installation and the cost of operating your furnace over time.

What AFUE Means

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and refers to how much fuel a device consumes per year compared to how much heat it produces in that same period of time. This is often averaged over the course of a full  year to account for extreme conditions.

Effectively, what AFUE measures is the percentage of fuel consumed by your furnace that is converted into heat. So, if your furnace burns 1 therm of natural gas, how much heat energy is produced from that combustion? The closer it gets to 1 therm of energy, the higher the percentage.

How Much AFUE Is Good?

Modern furnaces range between 80% AFUE and 98% AFUE. The lowest legally allowed furnaces on the market carry a rating of 80% which is still quite good if you consider that most systems build in the 1970s and 1980s have ratings below 70%. So, if you have an older system in your Spokane home, you can almost guarantee that even the most basic replacement furnace will save you money on your heating bills.

At the same time, if you can afford the top of the line, today’s high end gas furnaces offer near perfect conversion of fuel into heat, with exceptional 97% and 98% AFUE ratings. These devices cost more to install, but the lifetime savings on your energy bills are such that they are often well worth paying that higher installation cost for. In fact, they often pay for themselves in 10 years or less, making them a good fit for anyone eager to cut their heating bills by as much as possible.

If you’re looking to upgrade your furnace, give ACI Northwest a call today! Our Spokane heating technicians are experts in furnace installation and repair.

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