Remember, your mom or dad constantly telling you as a child to not mess with the thermostat? We all do; because if there is one thing that is for certain, heating your home is an expensive endeavor. However, it doesn’t have to be. With modern advancements in heating systems and more readily accessible data than ever before, one can easily understand how efficient their furnace is working and if it’s time to get a new one.

Here are three ways you can tell if your heater is energy efficient:

  1. Check your bills

    While your bills will fluctuate from month to month because of a wide range of factors besides your furnace, it can be a helpful snapshot of the efficiency of your system. A great way to track how your system works as it begins to age is to compare bills from previous years. If you notice your heating bills were significantly up from the same time a few years ago, you could attribute that to the degradation of your furnace. Remember to keep in mind any external factors when making such a comparison, such as a cold snap or other home improvements that may change your home’s overall energy efficiency.

  1. Your furnace’s AFUE rating 

    Your furnace’s Annual Fuel Utilization Rate, commonly known as its AFUE rating, is an excellent measurement of how well your furnace uses fuel to heat your home. When using this rating, the higher the number, the more efficient your furnace.

    Understanding your rating is as easy as taking your furnace’s AFUE rating and subtracting it from 100. The number left is how much money you are losing per 1 dollar spent. For example, if your furnace has an AFUE rating of 85, you are losing 15 cents per dollar spent. If your neighbor has a modern unit with an AFUE rating of 97, they are only losing three cents per dollar spent.

    In the 1990s, the U.S. Department of Energy put in place regulations governing the minimum AFUE rating for all furnaces, requiring them to be at a minimum of 78. Since this regulation, the minimum allowed is up to 80, although almost all modern units run in the high 90’s.

    Considering your furnace’s rating in the context of its age is a great way to determine if a potential replacement may make sense economically. Some modern furnaces run so efficiently that they may offer immediate cost savings for some households or businesses.

  1. The age of your furnace.

    Most furnaces manufactured in the last 15-20 years have up to a 5% reduction in efficiency from year to year. Therefore, even if your home has a furnace with the highest AFUE rating on the market, your unit’s efficiency will eventually decline to a level where a replacement may be necessary.   

    One way of enhancing the longevity of your furnace is to seek regular maintenance. When our HVAC specialists inspect your furnace, repairing small issues at that time stops them from growing into more substantial ones. While routine maintenance and upkeep is a wise idea, eventually the furnace will indeed require replacement. Consider your unit’s age and AFUE rating when contemplating this decision.

Overall, the decision to replace a furnace can be costly and can scare away potential buyers. If you find yourself at these crossroads, consider the three points above, and the decision may be easier than one initially thought. If you still need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at RG Mechanical. With our years of experience, we can break down the costs and logistics of a replacement and determine if it is right for you.