Furnace efficiency affects everything from the heating performance of the system to the monthly costs of operating it. One basic aspect of efficient heating is easy to measure yourself: Is the house comfortable during cold winter weather?
In more technical terms, however, efficiency relating to furnace energy consumption is expressed by the unit’s AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. It’s a percentage that expresses the amount of gas consumed that actually contributes to heating the home versus the amount lost in the combustion process. Today’s standard efficiency furnaces have an AFUE rating around 80% while high-efficiency units that conserve lost heat offer AFUE as high as 95%.
Furnace efficiency isn’t written in stone. While you can’t make a furnace perform better than its original AFUE rating, certain factors can definitely reduce furnace efficiency over time. Here are some ways to ensure your furnace maintains the efficiency it was built to deliver.
Change the air filter regularly.
System airflow is a key element in sustaining maximum furnace energy efficiency. Ideally, the filter should be changed monthly during the heating season for optimum results. Its a simple task you can do yourself. If you don’t know how, ask your HVAC contractor to demonstrate.
Performed by a qualified HVAC service technician, this yearly procedure includes a list of manufacturer-recommended preventive maintenance procedures. These not only support optimum energy efficiency and lowest monthly costs, they reduce wear and tear, extend system service life and ensure safe operation. In most cases, annual professional maintenance is required by the manufacturer’s warranty, as well.
Upgrade to a programmable thermostat.
If you haven’t already done so, ditch the old-fashioned manual thermostat and invest in a new digital programmable model. These units make temperature adjustments at regular programmed times to keep indoor temperatures consistent and prevent excessive, unnecessary manual adjustments that extend furnace cycles and waste energy. Utilized correctly, a programmable thermostat can pay for itself in a year or so due to increased efficiency and lower heating costs.
Ask the Cool Power heating professionals about more ways to improve furnace efficiency.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnace efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.