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How Much Will a High-Efficiency Furnace Save Me?

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If you’re reading this blog post, you probably are considering getting a furnace replacement in Indianapolis, IN at some point in the near future. Maybe your current furnace is starting to fall behind and you’re ready to get a new one once the winter weather is past. Or perhaps your furnace is already on the verge of failing and you think the time for a replacement is imminent. 

Whatever the reason, you’re considering investing in a high-efficiency furnace with an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of 95% or higher. This can be a big change from an old mid-efficiency furnace with an 85% efficiency, or from an even older furnace with a meager 70% AFUE. How much can you expect to save with one of these high-efficiency systems?

The answer is … there’s no guarantee of savings

Now don’t start feeling glum. If you make the right choices and work with the right team (and you’re on our website, so you’re already heading in the right direction), you have a good chance of saving energy and money on your utility bills with your new furnace. 

But it’s important to tell you that just because a certain furnace has a higher efficiency rating does not automatically mean that it will save money for you. Energy savings from a heating system involves multiple factors, and the AFUE rating is only part of it.

AFUE is an average guideline, not a constant

Annual fuel utilization efficiency is a percentage of the fuel source a furnace converts into heat over a year of use. A natural gas furnace with 95% AFUE will convert 95% of the gas it combusts into heating during a year while losing 5% to exhaust. The important part is this is an average. The furnace will not always run at 95% AFUE when it turns on. Often, it will run at lower efficiency. If the furnace is not suited to the home—it may be too powerful, or an amateur gave it a sloppy installation—it will rarely get near its AFUE rating and end up costing more money to run than a well-installed furnace with lower efficiency. 

The electric furnace example

The AFUE rating of electric furnaces is a good example of how efficiency ratings can be tricky. All-electric furnaces have AFUE ratings of 100%. They don’t waste any electrical power because they lose no energy to exhaust. This doesn’t mean an electric furnace is an automatic cash-saver. Because electricity is often more expensive than natural gas, an electric furnace is frequently more costly to run than a gas furnace. The AFUE is not a good guideline in this case. 

The professional installation difference

Here is the way to get the best energy savings from a furnace replacement or new installation: have licensed professionals select the unit and install it. Our technicians will carefully size the new furnace so it matches the heating needs of the house, and they’ll also take into account your budget (high-efficiency furnaces are more expensive to purchase than mid-efficiency ones) and the furnace’s lifespan estimate. This will help us find the furnace that will not only help lower your bills but will deliver the comfort you need.

So if you want to know how much a high-efficiency furnace can save you, give us a call and we’ll help you find out. 

Always look to Vital Heating & Air because “Your Comfort Is Vital!” We are your Indianapolis Licensed HVAC Contractor.

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