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What Is a Good AFUE Rating for a Furnace?

AFUE rating for a furnace

You’ve probably heard the term AFUE before. But do you understand what it means?

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Think of AFUE like MPG for your car: the higher the AFUE, the more efficient the equipment.

AFUE is used to display the energy efficiency of appliances that burn fuel, including furnaces, boilers, and water heaters. The AFUE number (usually displayed on a yellow sticker on the unit) is a ratio that represents the amount of fuel that is used to create heat in your home compared to the amount produced by the heating unit.

For example, in an 80 AFUE furnace unit, 80 percent of the fuel consumed by the machine results in heat for your home; the other 20 percent is wasted in the delivery chain (heat that is usually lost up your chimney). One way to think about AFUE is to consider it in terms of dollars: For every dollar you spend on fuel for an 80 AFUE boiler, 80 cents go toward heating your home’s air; In a 95 AFUE furnace, that number jumps up to 95 cents – a big difference on your monthly bills.

Typical furnace AFUE ratings

So what’s a typical AFUE rating for a furnace? That depends on how old your unit is. Older furnaces were held to considerably lower efficiency standards than they are today, and any furnace will lose efficiency over time – especially if your equipment is not properly maintained by a professional.

Here are some efficiency guidelines for typical furnaces according to the U.S. Department of Energy:

  • Low-efficiency (older systems): 56-70 percent AFUE
  • Mid-efficiency (older or newer systems): 80-85 percent AFUE
  • High-efficiency (mostly newer systems): 90-98.5 percent AFUE

As of 2015, the minimum standard AFUE for new furnaces Is 80 percent.

Of course AFUE doesn’t tell the whole heating efficiency story – the energy efficiency of your home, how well you maintain your equipment, the condition of your ducts, and how well your heating equipment was installed all come into play when determining how much heating bang you get for your buck.

For these reasons and more, it always pays to hire a professional to install, maintain, and repair your furnace.

Looking for an energy efficient replacement for your furnace? We can help! Contact Needham Oil Complete Heating & Cooling today for a FREE, no obligation estimate on a furnace that is sized for your home, budget, and lifestyle.