How Furnace Efficiency Is Determined in Oak Ridge, TN

What percentage of your Oak Ridge, TN heating expense goes up the chimney? Most households place a high value on furnace efficiency. Here is some important information about how experts calculate your furnace efficiency.

AFUE Rating

Irrespective of the fuel source, every furnace goes through evaluation and earns an annual fuel usage efficiency (AFUE) grade. An impartial group within the HVAC community determines this ranking by figuring out how much of the available fuel powers your furnace.

The amount of heat lost through venting is also tracked. The rating for furnace efficiency takes into account the unit’s typical cycle as well as any potential energy losses brought on by variations in load. The homeowner’s modifications to the system and how the weather affects operation can also have an impact on the AFUE.

Does AFUE Raise the Cost?

A high-efficiency heating system will cost more due to the equipment and installation considerations. Because a high-efficiency system converts more fuel into heat, the leftover gas isn’t warm enough to ascend out of a chimney flue. It may be necessary to install a PVC ventilation tube to manage the condensation produced by the cooling gas.

Efficiency Equals Money Savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a furnace must have a minimum of 90% AFUE to be considered high efficiency. The most advanced contemporary furnaces can achieve 98% efficiency.

To apply this to your bills, picture spending 80 cents per dollar to heat your house. If you update to a 90% heater, you’d save 10 cents for every dollar spent on heating. This efficiency also contributes to enhanced comfort. It also means less gas gets into the surroundings, which is better for the environment.

However, AFUE is one of many factors to consider when evaluating a furnace’s efficiency. It is an essential metric, yet it is insufficient on its own.

Windows, Insulation, and Other Non-HVAC Components

Of course, getting new, tight windows improves the overall efficiency of your home. The same is true for insulation because a significant amount of heat escapes through your home’s roof.

However, regardless of your scenario, a new furnace will be beneficial. If you switch from a furnace that only operates at roughly 70% efficiency to a unit that operates at 95% efficiency, you’ll save 25 cents on every dollar you spend on heating your house.

Filters, Ductwork, and Ventilation

It makes no difference if you own a cutting-edge, 98% efficient furnace. When your filter becomes clogged, your true efficiency suffers.

This backup applies to many system components. Consider a scenario where your furnace is too strong for the ducting, which isn’t broad enough in certain locations to manage the airflow. You’ll start to notice leaks and backups in your airflow, resulting in cold and hot patches around the house.

Long term, these factors impact efficiency and might cost thousands of dollars. You’ll also be uncomfortable in your Oak Ridge, TN house. The solution is straightforward: Change your filters on a regular basis, invest in a good filter and schedule routine HVAC maintenance.

Do Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Help Furnace Efficiency?

Your air conditioner will have no effect on your furnace. A heat pump can offer supplemental heat, allowing you to operate your furnace less frequently in the spring and fall, but it has no effect on the furnace’s efficiency.

Have questions about selecting an efficient heating system for your Oak Ridge, TN home? Contact our team at Cook’s Comfort Systems, Inc. for professional furnace repair and installation. We also provide reliable air conditioning, maintenance, commercial HVAC and indoor air quality services.

Image provided by iStock

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