If you have started shopping for new heating equipment, you are likely to have seen the term AFUE. This is a rating system that measures the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and power output. With all the ratings and information on sales material, it can be easy to overlook the AFUE rating, but it is actually the most important factor to consider when you decide to purchase new equipment.
The AFUE Basics:
The AFUE rating is actually quite simple. It is based on a percentage of the energy consumed that is actually translated into heat. There will be some degree of wasted energy on any equipment, but obviously the lower the amount of waste, the more energy efficient your new equipment. For example, a furnace that has an AFUE rate of 75%, translates 75% of the energy consumed into heat. This means that 25% of the energy is lost to inefficiency and waste. So, when shopping for new equipment, it is important to look for the highest possible AFUE rating to ensure maximum energy efficiency. In the modern marketplace, there are heaters available that have an AFUE rating of 95% or more, so you are likely to find that your new heater is far more efficient than your current model.
The Importance of Proper Power Output Levels:
Unfortunately, HVAC equipment is rarely this simple and you will also need to consider the proper power output levels. The reason for this is that even the best energy efficiency won’t actually matter if your new heating equipment is not properly sized. So, if you need a heater that has a 40,000 BTU power output and AFUE rating of 90%, a heater that has an AFUE rate of 95%, but only produces 10,000 BTU won’t be suited to your requirements. The lack of output in the more efficient unit in the above example would mean that the unit would need to run for prolonged periods, eliminating the benefit of the greater efficiency. This also applies to choosing an overly powerful heater, which will short cycle and waste energy, eliminating the benefits of a higher AFUE rating. So, you need to check that you achieve the balance of AFUE and power output to ensure that you choose the right heating unit.
Choosing the Right Heater For Your Home:
Every home is unique and has its own particular characteristics. This means that choosing a new heater is rarely as simple as just reading the ratings on the box. In most cases, you will need to consult a professional technician who can help you to determine the required proper power output levels for your new heater and guide you through the options in that size range that offer the highest AFUE rating within your budget.
This will ensure that your new heating equipment is not only properly sized for the specific requirements of your home, but also offers the best energy efficiency. While a higher AFUE rated appliance may cost a little more initially, it will offer energy savings and lower heating bills for many years to come.