What is AFUE?
You’ve probably heard the term AFUE before. But do you understand what it means – and what it means for your heating bills?
AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient your heating equipment is (it’s a lot like MPG for your car).
AFUE is used to display the energy efficiency of appliances that burn fuel, including furnaces, boilers, and water heaters. The AFUE number (usually displayed on a yellow sticker on the unit) represents the amount of fuel that is used to create heat in your home compared to the amount of energy it consumes to produce it.
For example, in an 80 AFUE unit, 80 percent of the fuel consumed by the machine goes to heating your home; the remaining 20 percent is wasted somewhere along the way (usually in the chimney). In 2015, the US government raised the minimum AFUE rating on furnaces from 78 to 80 percent. Gas- and oil-fired boilers have minimum AFUE requirements of 82 and 84 percent, respectively.
One way to think about AFUE is to consider it in terms of dollars: For every dollar you spend on fuel for an 80 AFUE boiler, for example, 80 cents go toward heating your home’s air. In a 95 AFUE gas furnace, that number jumps up to 95 cents – a big difference on your monthly bills, and a big reason why a new furnace or boiler often pays for itself relatively quickly (especially if your unit is old – the 78 AFUE mandate began in 1992).
Of course, AFUE doesn’t tell the whole heating efficiency story – proper installation and maintenance are also extremely important pieces of the efficiency equation, as are several other factors. But knowing the AFUE rating of your heating equipment is definitely important information when it comes time to invest in new high efficiency heating equipment for your home.
Looking for an energy efficient replacement for your furnace, boiler, or water heater? We can help! Contact us today for a FREE estimate on a unit that’s sized for your home, budget, and lifestyle.