What Is an AFUE rating?
The annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating that comes attached to just about every furnace on the market measures how energy efficient that particular model is. Modern furnaces typically have at least an 80% AFUE rating, with some even reaching into the high 90s. Knowing how energy efficient a furnace is certainly is important when you're trying to decide which one to buy, but you should also take into account the relative price of each model and how much you project that you will use the furnace.
The more energy efficient models tend to come with a higher price tag, and although you'll pay slightly less on your monthly heating bills because of the added efficiency, it's not always enough to make up the difference. Discussing your heating needs with a home heating professional is the best way to get an idea of what type of AFUE rating you're looking for in a furnace.
Why doesn't my heat pump have an AFUE rating?
Heat pumps operate by pulling heat out of the outdoor air in the winter to bring into your home and removing heat from indoor air in the summer. Some of them do also heat air like furnaces, but because they operate on different principles, their energy efficiency is measured differently. The heating energy efficiency of a heat pump will be reflected by its HSPF number, and just as with an AFUE rating, the higher the number, the more efficient the model.
Is an electric furnace safer than a gas furnace?
Modern furnaces, no matter what they're powered by, are generally quite safe and energy efficient. There are advantages and disadvantages to both gas and electric furnaces, but safety is almost exactly the same between the two types of systems.
Technically, the presence of gas fuel may pose a very small safety risk, but because of the way modern gas furnaces are designed, that risk is almost nonexistent. Particularly if you keep your furnace well maintained, your gas or electric furnace will continue to work efficiently and safely for many years.
How long will my new heating system last?
While the life span of a home heating system can vary from one model and type to another, you can generally expect a new system to last from 10 to 15 years. Some types do last longer and with proper maintenance service, many home heating systems can outlast their projected lifespan.
How do I know which type of home heating system to choose?
There are a lot of factors that will help to determine which type of home heating system is best for you and your family. Because the sheer volume of data you need to sort through in order to make a good decision can be pretty overwhelming, it's wise to have an expert help you through the process.
Heating technicians can come out to examine the particulars of your home and determine how powerful of a home heating system you need. They can also offer some expert advice on which type of system will be the most appropriate given the dimensions and location of your home and your family's specific heating needs.