What Do AFUE Ratings Have to Do With Your Cincinnati Home's Furnace?

by Greg Leisgang on October 31, 2013

Posted in: Furnaces

energy efficiency-furnace-Cincinnati, OhioMost Cincinnati homes are heated by a furnace. This machine converts a fuel source into heat energy and warms the air through a network of ducts. You know your furnace works to keep you warm all winter long, but do you know what AFUE ratings have to do with your Cincinnati home’s furnace?

What Is AFUE?

Annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE rating, indicates how efficiently your furnace converts fuel into usable heat for your home. Specifically, it’s a ratio of heat output compared to the total fuel consumed in the process.

For example, an 85 AFUE furnace converts 85 percent of the oil, natural gas or propane fuel into heat for your home. The remaining 15 percent escapes with combustion fumes up the chimney. The minimum rating allowed by law today is 80 AFUE.

It’s important to keep in mind that the only way a furnace can perform at its peak AFUE rating is if you seal and insulate the ductwork through which heated air travels. Leaky ducts don’t change the furnace’s AFUE, but they certainly impact your energy bills.

What AFUE Is Best?

Obviously, the closer the AFUE rating is to 100, the more efficient it is. However, it isn’t a no-brainer to choose the most efficient option because it costs significantly more up front than the average model. To help you decide what AFUE to look for, consider its return on investment. Cincinnati has cold winters, so you can expect a greater ROI when you opt for a high-efficiency model than someone living in the South would realize.

Another reason to opt for a high-efficiency furnace is the chance to take advantage of energy tax credits. These expire December 31, 2013, so you need to act quickly. Combustion furnaces rated at 95 AFUE or higher qualify for $150 in tax credits. Even though many electric furnaces achieve near 100 percent efficiency, they don’t qualify for tax credits because electricity is inefficient to produce at power plants.

For help selecting the perfect new furnace for your home, please contact us at JonLe Heating & Cooling. We proudly serve residents in the Greater Cincinnati area.

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