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What Makes a Furnace High Efficiency?

In a lot of ways “high efficiency” is in the eye of the beholder. Luckily, you don’t have to depend on subjective opinion to understand what makes a furnace high efficiency. Here in Burlington, VT, heating is no laughing matter and a high efficiency unit can mean big savings during the cold winter months. But who determines what constitutes high efficiency? That is, how can you tell that a “high efficiency” furnace actually is what it claims to be, and not just empty rhetoric from some advertiser somewhere?

The answer starts with the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating, which all furnaces must possess. It measures the percentage of the energy a furnace uses that actually goes into heating your home. So a furnace with an AFUE rating of 80% would spend 80% of its energy on heating and 20% on waste and inefficiency. Obviously, the higher the rating, the more efficient the furnace, which is where the subjectivity comes in. If you spend 20 years using a furnace with an AFUE rating of 60% and install a new one with an AFUE rating of 75%, it’s going to seem very efficient indeed.

The U.S. Department of Energy has established formal criteria for furnace efficiency. The EnergyStar sticker is used to denote furnaces that are particularly energy efficient: with a 95% AFUE rating or higher for gas furnaces, and an 85% AFUE rating or higher for oil furnaces. (That number drops slightly for gas furnaces in warmer parts of the country.) The EnergyStar rating helps eliminate the uncertainty in the equation and let you choose an efficient heater no matter what the circumstances.

For more on what makes a furnace high efficiency, or for installation options, you can call upon Red Rock Mechanical for help. We stand by our assessments with an ironclad guarantee, and we won’t rest until you are completely satisfied with our work. Here in Burlington, VT, heating systems need to be as efficient as possible. Contact one of our trained technicians today and let us help you make that happen!

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