Primary Categories of AFUE Ratings

technician fixing the furnace

Like all appliances, there comes a time when you have to replace even the best-maintained furnace. One of the crucial aspects that influence this decision is the furnace’s age. A furnace that has been used for more than 20 years should be replaced regardless of its condition.

When shopping for a furnace replacement today, there are various seemingly new things your Riverton installer will advise you to check. One of these is the AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating. This rating denotes how efficiently the furnace utilizes fuel.

Here are the primary categories of AFUE ratings:

78% AFUE

This is currently regarded as a low-efficiency furnace rating. It was the allowed minimum rating for new furnaces until 2015. Furnaces with a 78% AFUE rating typically feature a single-speed blower, electronic ignition, steel tube heat exchanger, and a natural draft for the flow of combustion gases.

80-83% AFUE

This is the mid-efficiency or standard furnace rating. Furnaces with an 80-83% AFUE rating feature electronic ignition, variable speed blowers and single or dual-stage heaters. They also have a natural draft for creation of combustion gases’ flow and steel tube heat exchangers.

90-99% AFUE

This rating is used for the furnace with the highest fuel efficiency. The highest AFUE rating currently is 98.2%. Furnaces with a 90-99% rating feature electronic ignition, variable-speed blowers, a sealed combustion chamber and a single, dual or modulating heater. They also have a main exchanger made of steel and a secondary stainless steel one for condensing flue gases.

When comparing the above AFUE ratings, consider the type of fuel your furnace is using. An electric furnace with a 98% AFUE rating, for instance, might be more costly to maintain compared with a gas furnace with a 90% rating, owing to the high cost of electricity. This, however, primarily depends on your locality. Though your furnace might be less than 20 years old, you can switch to a new model to boost your energy savings.

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