Ready to replace your furnace in the Atlanta area? Energy efficiency should be the top factor you consider. After all, heating makes up a large portion of your energy usage in your home—about 29%, according to ENERGY STAR. (That’s about $638 a year for the average household.) When shopping for a furnace based on energy efficiency, you’ll want to compare the furnaces of their AFUE rating. We’ll explain what AFUE is and how you can calculate how much money you save with different AFUE rated furnaces.

What is AFUE and why should you care?

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It’s a percentage that shows how much fuel the furnace uses to heat your home, and therefore how much it’s letting go up the flue pipe. For example: a furnace with an AFUE rating of 80% (the minimum rating for a new furnace), uses 80% of the fuel to heat your home. The other 20% goes up your flue pipe—wasted. OK, so let’s convert all those percentages to a dollar amount you can understand (and care about).

How to convert an AFUE rating to a dollar amount that makes cents

A furnace with an 80% AFUE rating efficiency means that, for every $1 you spend on gas, only 80 cents goes towards heating your home. So if you spend about $600 on heating, that means only $480 went towards heating your home, and $120 went up the flue pipe. Let’s say that 80% furnace lives 18 years. It will waste $2,160 worth of gas over its lifetime—the cost of a new furnace with installation. See how AFUE fits into the picture now?

Use calculators to choose the perfect furnace efficiency

Now that you see the importance of AFUE, you need to think of what level of efficiency you want for your new furnace. The more efficient the furnace, the more it costs. So there’s a balancing act with how much you can afford now vs. how much you’ll save in the long run through lower energy bills. Keep in mind that 80% is the legal standard for new furnaces and 90% is where the price starts to jump. Use these calculators to compare the costs of furnaces at different efficiencies.

How to slice $150 off the cost of a high-efficiency furnace

One way to save money on a high efficiency furnace is with federal tax credits. Act now though. The tax credits expire at the end of 2013. Check out ENERGY STAR’s website for details on the furnace energy efficiency requirements, and how to apply for the tax credit.

Get convenient financing for your furnace

Ragsdale offers financing options, making affording an energy efficient furnace easier than ever. Contact us for details. Ragsdale Heating, Air, Plumbing & Electrical has been serving the metro Atlanta area for over 25 years.

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