Furnaces with near-total efficiency, or an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of around 97 percent, are recommended for reducing heating costs, according to Consumer Reports. Using more energy-efficient furnaces leads to lower energy bills for heating.
The AFUE rating of a furnace shows how efficient it is in converting gas into heat energy, explains Consumer Reports. A higher AFUE rating indicates greater efficiency, meaning the furnace utilizes each therm of gas. Energy-efficient furnaces are also environmentally friendly, as they generate low emissions.
U.S. law dictates that gas furnaces should have an efficiency of at least 78 percent, notes Consumer Reports. Fuel-efficient furnaces are typically expensive, but homeowners can save on costs in the long run, as efficient furnaces result in lower bills. The amount of savings associated with the use of energy-efficient furnaces depends on the region’s climate, the home’s heat retention capability, and the gas and electricity rates. Furnaces with an AFUE rating above 90 percent are ideal in areas with harsh winters, especially in the Northeast and Midwest.
When buying a new furnace, homeowners should persuade the contractor to choose models within a specific efficiency range, advises Consumer Reports. The contractor should calculate the annual estimated operating cost of several models. Homeowners should also ensure that installation quotes include the cost of venting changes required by some home appliances.