An Efficient Furnace Is a Good Buy in SW Illinois—but How Efficient?

Posted On: February 02, 2014

Furnace efficiency is an important factor in keeping your energy costs low. A furnace’s efficiency is measured by a percentage using the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. Available new furnaces come with AFUE ratings ranging from 78 percent for standard-efficiency models to 90-98 percent in high-efficiency condensing furnaces. The AFUE rating measures what percentage of fuel gets converted into heat in your home. Obviously, the more heat the furnace produces per therm of gas, the more efficiently it operates, and the lower your utility costs.

Because Southwest Illinois is subject to major swings in temperatures and experiences cold winters, a high-efficiency furnace could be a sound investment for your home. While a high-efficiency furnace does cost significantly more to purchase and install, it uses much less gas or heating oil, and the monthly savings will begin accruing immediately. In a cold-weather climate with several heating months, the energy savings will more quickly provide a return on investment.

Your ideal furnace efficiency depends on a number of factors including local utility costs, heat retention in the home and other factors related to your home’s size and layout. To determine the efficiency level of your new furnace, consult with a trusted contractor.

Ask the contractor to calculate efficiency ratings for a range of models. The contractor should plug the models’ AFUE ratings, specific metrics related to your home’s energy usage, and local utility rates into a computer program designed specifically for this purpose. The technician should calculate the target efficiency level as precisely as possible, as opposed to just estimating it.

If you are located in Hamel, Staunton, Troy or other nearby communities in the Metro-East, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling for more information about how furnace efficiency can impact your home’s energy usage.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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