Energy-efficient furnaces offer several benefits, including a reduction in the cost of heating a home and reduction of the emissions the home produces. Some consumers who install efficient heating equipment qualify for rebates from the government or utility provider.
As of 2015, all gas furnaces must have an annual fuel-utilization-efficiency rating of 80 percent or greater, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The design of the AFUE offers consumers an easy way to compare product efficiency. Most existing home heating systems operate at 75 percent efficiency, but high efficiency systems operate at above 99 percent, reducing the cost of heating a home.
AFUE percentages represent the amount of heat a furnace produces versus the total amount of heat available in the fuel it uses. Fuel that the furnace does not convert to heat forms waste gases that escape though the flue. These flue gases, including carbon monoxide, increase the pollution the home produces.
Homeowners who install energy-efficient furnaces sometimes qualify for rebates that cover part of the cost of the upgrade. As of 2015, United States residents who install a geothermal heat pump qualify for a 30-percent federal tax credit for the cost of the unit. Local utility companies sometimes offer other credits for energy-efficient upgrades.