Given the recent developments in federal standards for furnace efficiency ratings, we have our minds on helping homeowners choose energy-efficient furnaces for their homes. As we’ve discussed before, looking at AFUE ratings is the best way to determine which units are more efficient than others. But efficiency ratings don’t tell the whole story. To pick the right energy-efficient furnace for your home, you also have to consider fuel type.

A quick recap about AFUE ratings

An AFUE rating is a measurement of a furnace’s fuel output to the amount of energy it consumes. A furnace with an 80 percent AFUE rating, for example, turns 80 percent of the energy it consumes into heat for your home. The rest of that energy is lost.

Electric furnaces: Don’t be misled by their high efficiency ratings

Furnaces that use electricity as their sole fuel source come with AFUE ratings between 95 and 100 percent. Although this might seem very attractive, things don’t look so great when you consider the high cost of electricity in the US. Even though electric furnaces can convert all of the energy they consume into heat, the high cost of that energy, when compared to the cost of natural gas, makes the operating costs of electric furnaces significantly higher than that of gas furnaces. If you’re going to use electricity as your fuel source, you’d be better off installing a heat pump or a dual-fuel system.

What are the most energy-efficient gas furnaces available today?

According to Energy Star, the most efficient gas furnaces on the market today come with AFUE ratings as high as just over 98 percent. That means they can turn nearly all of the fuel they consume into heat for your home.

The most energy-efficient furnaces on the market are called condensing furnaces and are available with AFUE ratings of 90 percent or higher. These systems are so efficient because they use a second heat exchanger to capture heat from the water vapor that would normally be vented out of your home.

If you have any questions about the most energy-efficient furnace for your home, or if you need a heating system serviced or installed, contact Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, your St. Charles furnace repair company. We service the St. Louis area and surrounding towns like Cottleville, Winghaven, and Maryland Heights.

photo credit: weblog via photopin cc

company icon