How to Measure a Furnace’s Efficiency

How to Measure a Furnace’s Efficiency

How to Measure a Furnace’s Efficiency

We mention all the time on this blog that furnaces are very efficient heating systems. While they don’t necessarily reach the efficiency of electric heating systems, natural gas is a cheaper fuel source than electricity in most cases, so a furnace will still be comparable in efficiency. But the truth is that they’re measured in different ways.

In this blog, we’re going to talk about the measurements we use to determine how efficient a gas furnace might be. We’ll also compare them to some of the ratings that electric furnaces and heat pumps use.

furnace stock

We want to make it very clear that gas furnaces are efficient, as long as you do two things–purchase a high-efficiency model and get it regularly maintained over the course of its lifespan. Don’t forget to call us for furnace repair in Knoxville, TN if you think your furnace isn’t working as efficiently as it should be.

Everything to Know About the AFUE Rating

The AFUE rating is a guide we use to measure how efficient a furnace is. It examines how much of the fuel that’s burned in the furnace is turned into heat, and how much is turned into the other fumes like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and how much is turned into water.

Old wood-burning furnaces have an AFUE of 40-60, which means that 40-60% of the wood that’s burned is actually turned into heat. That’s not very good if you’re trying to heat your whole home and stay comfortable without multiple layers.

For high-end gas furnaces, you might see an AFUE rating of 90-95, which is exceptionally good. That means that 90-95% of the gas that’s burned in the system is turned into heat which assumes that little will be wasted as exhaust.

If you’re concerned about efficiency, try looking at gas furnaces with high AFUE ratings that you can take advantage of. This will ensure that the system uses a minimal amount of gas while maximizing the heat it provides for your home.

Gas Compared to Electricity

Earlier we mentioned that gas burning furnaces aren’t as efficient as electric systems like heat pumps and electric furnaces, but this is a bit complicated.

Electric heating systems have an efficiency ratio of 100% since all of the electricity consumed by the system is then turned into heat, while gas furnaces can’t reach that amount because there are always some fumes and waste products (like water) when material is burned through combustion.

Here’s the thing–electricity can be more or less expensive depending on how it’s produced. If your municipality uses coal or oil to create their electricity, then it’s still going to be rather expensive.

Natural gas is relatively cheap throughout the United States because it’s locally sourced and produced. This can mean that while an electric system is more energy efficient, a gas furnace might have a cheaper source of energy, balancing out and making that system more financially worth it.

Choosing the Right System for Your Home

We can’t decide for you through a blog post if your home would be better off with a gas or electric furnace. But what we can tell you is that you should contact our team to get started when you know something needs to get done. We can even make repairs and adjustments to your system to ensure it works as efficiently as possible.

Fannon & Sons Heating Cooling can help you with your heating needs. Welcome to the Family! Contact us today.