Choosing and Maintaining an Energy Efficient Furnace
By: Danny Lipford
When buying a new furnace for your home, choose a unit with the highest AFUE rating (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) you can afford. The higher the AFUE number, the more energy efficient the furnace will be and the more you’ll save on your utility bills. While energy efficient furnaces cost more, they will pay for themselves over time in reduced utility bills.
The energy efficiency range for furnaces can vary widely. If your furnace is more than a decade old, it probably will fall in the 60% to 70% efficiency range.
The minimum AFUE rating allowed by the federal Department of Energy for a new furnace today is 78%. By recovering heat that would otherwise be wasted, energy efficient furnaces are available with AFUE ratings as high as 98% efficiency.
It’s also important to have your furnace tuned up annually, both for your safety and to increase energy efficiency. The maintenance fee involved will be returned over the course of a winter in increased energy savings.
In addition to recalibrating the burner on your furnace, the heating and cooling service technician will make sure the unit is properly vented and that harmful combustion gasses, which can produce poisonous carbon monoxide gas, are going up the flue and not in your home.
You may also want to have the technician check the heating ductwork from time to time, and seal any air leaks that are found. You can also check the ductwork yourself by turning on the system and feeling for any air escaping from the ducts. If you find leaks, seal them with special metallic tape that’s made for ducts, rather than standard cloth backed duct tape, then coat the tape and joint with duct mastic.
Watch this video to find out more.
- How to Improve Furnace Energy Efficiency (article)
- Tips for Dealing with HVAC Pros (article)
- HVAC System Heating and Cooling Maintenance Tips (video)
Danny Lipford: All of us are looking for ways to save money on our energy bill, especially during those cold winter months. That all starts with properly selecting the right furnace.
Now, if you’re building a new home, or your old furnace has gone out, what you want to do is select one with the highest AFUE rating that you can find. Now, that’s the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating. The higher the number, the more efficient the furnace will perform during those winter months.
Now another thing that you can do that’s very important is to have a regular tune-up of the system itself. The professional serviceman will come out and make sure that it’s calibrated properly, he’ll clean everything, and he’ll make sure that it’s not introducing carbon monoxide into your home, which really can be bad.
Now, there’s one thing that you can do yourself is to inspect your ductwork from time to time. Now, this one has mastic over it, so it’s the right way to go with everything being sealed up. But turn the system on, and just check to make sure no air is escaping into your attic or your basement.
And, if you have a situation like this, where someone’s using it for storage, put an end to that.