Family playing at home in winter

Most furnaces these days are purchased with two factors in mind (in this particular order):

  1. Price.
  2. Efficiency.

Modern furnace models are always more efficient than those made 20 or more years ago, and there is a range of performance options across budget levels. Price is closely tied to efficiency, and the efficiency rating of a new furnace is expressed through the Annual Fuel Utilization rating (AFUE).

Here’s how you can decode AFUE ratings and find the best balance between efficiency and price.

How AFUE Ratings Work

The AFUE rating applies to all furnaces using:

  • Propane
  • Natural gas
  • Oil

The rating is read as a percentage of fuel paid for vs fuel returned as heat. So a furnace with a 98% AFUE rating returns 98% of the fuel you pay for as heat. The remaining 2% is lost in the burning process.

The AFUE on your old furnace, if it looks like the unit pictured here, is probably around 70%.

How are AFUE ratings determined?

Once a new furnace is manufactured, it is evaluated (not by the manufacturer) based on the energy losses that occur due to changing demands, and during the cyclic on and off functions.

This calculation is made based on ideal circumstances, including error-free installation. It’s worth noting that not all furnaces are the same, and specialized installation knowledge for each manufacturer is required for error-free installations. That’s why our team attends regular manufacturer training and stays up on all new industry trends and techniques.

What is a good AFUE rating?

High-efficiency furnaces boast AFUE ratings of 90% and above, with the best being around 98.5%. Mid-efficiency units have ratings of 80% to 89%, and these are considered standard in today’s terms.

Minimum AFUE Requirements For New Furnaces

Canada is a leader in furnace energy efficiency requirements, and as of 2019, they have updated their regulations.  The federal government now requires a minimum AFUE of 95% on new furnaces.

How much money can I save with an efficient furnace?

Switching to a newer and more efficient furnace will lead to cost savings, but most homeowners don’t know exactly what to expect.

The American Council for Energy Efficient Economy broke down the savings that could be experienced when a homeowner switches from an old furnace of 50% AFUE to a new model with a 95% rating.

  • For each $100 a homeowner with the 50% model spent, a homeowner with a 95% AFUE furnace would spend $53. That’s potentially thousands of dollars in savings in a year.

For the sake of simplicity, it works out to about $1 per percentage of efficiency. So a 98% AFUE furnace will save about $40 per month on a $200 heating bill over an 80% AFUE furnace.

Essentially, over the lifetime of the furnace, it will pay for itself. Not bad!

Get a New Furnace Quote Today

It doesn’t take much to get an accurate quote on your new furnace and installation. We install and service the following brands: Lennox, Carrier & Napolean.

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Just contact a member of the Advantage Airtech team for the most accurate, transparent quote around.

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