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Why Invest in an Energy-Efficient Furnace

Posted: 2019-11-28

During the frosty months of winter, heating typically accounts for about half of your monthly utility costs. Since your furnace needs to constantly run, it consumes more energy and there’s the possibility that certain parts are already deteriorating, especially if you have an older unit.

If you are operating an older, low or mid-efficiency furnace, you probably have been spending way too much to heat your home. Not only does an old, inefficient heating system consumes more fuel, it also causes major temperature and comfort issues.

As much as you’d hate it, but furnaces are never built to last forever. At some point, your system will show signs of failure and will cause you to spend more to maintain it. If you have been benefitting from your furnace for the last 15 years, you may notice a rise in your heating bills and frequent need for repairs.

The good news is that new and advanced heating systems incorporate more efficient technologies to provide your home with ultimate comfort at minimal operating costs.

Four Seasons Air Specialists is a top heating company in White Bear Lake MN that offers high-efficiency furnaces designed to provide top-notch comfort with minimal energy consumption.

What is AFUE?

A furnace’s efficiency is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). AFUE is a measure of how efficient the appliance is in converting energy in its fuel to heat over the course of a typical year. Particularly, AFUE is the ratio of the annual heat output of the furnace compared to the total annual fossil fuel energy it consumed.

How does it work? A furnace with 90 percent AFUE converts 90 percent of the fuel to heat. The remaining 10 percent goes up the chimney or elsewhere. Old furnaces from 30 years ago typically had an AFUE of 78 percent or less. This means that 20 percent of the heat is being wasted.

There are even older models from 40 years ago that had an AFUE of 60 to 65 percent. If you still have one of those units, you really need to upgrade as your furnace is wasting 35 to 40 cents in gas costs for every dollar you spent.

Today, the minimum AFUE for brand-new furnaces is set at 80 AFUE. On the other hand, high-efficiency heating systems have an AFUE of 90 percent or more.

The Federal Trade Commission demands manufacturers display their AFUE on their furnaces so consumers can compare the heating efficiencies of different models.

Benefits of High-Efficiency Furnaces

Also known as a condensing furnace, a high-efficiency heating system uses a vent damper that is programmed in such a way that it automatically shuts the flue pipe when the burners are turned off. This results in shutting in the warm air inside, in turn minimizing the amount of heat loss. It uses a second heat exchanger to catch much of the heat that would normally escape up the chimney.

High-efficiency furnaces incorporate multi-speed and variable-speed blowers, which reduce electricity usage by matching the blower speed to the heating demands of the room.

Modulating or variable-capacity gas valves and an electronic control system enable you to make fine adjustments to the burner setting and blower motor speed for improved temperature control and energy-efficiency.

Certain high-efficiency units also reduce electricity consumption by pairing an advanced, programmable or smart thermostat to a variable speed motor. This allows the system to run the blower for longer periods of time at lower speeds. It provides quieter and more consistent and comfortable heat and doesn’t unnecessarily consume electricity.

These furnaces use a sealed combustion chamber, which mixes combustion air from outdoors and the fuel at a controlled rate, maximizing the heat generated by the fuel.

Though you can use highly advanced filters in any heating system, newer furnaces come automatically with these filters. The MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating is the efficiency rating used to measure the effectiveness of filters. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is in catching airborne contaminants. In other words, the higher the MERV number, the smaller the contaminant that can be captured by the filter. 

Ask the Heating Experts

Technological advancements have paved the way for manufacturers to make furnaces that offer unparalleled comfort and outstanding energy efficiency. If you have any questions about high-efficiency furnaces, do not hesitate to call Four Seasons Air Specialists, your top Dellwood furnace installation company.