Energy Efficient Furnaces

If your furnace isn’t running like it should, and you’re thinking about an energy-efficient furnace, there are many things to consider. Of course, an energy-efficient furnace will help to cut costs on energy expenses. Yet, there are other factors to consider before purchasing. We’ve listed some of the most important factors to consider when looking for at replacing your furnace.


AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency, and measures how well the appliance converts fuel energy to heat over one year. All new furnaces are required to display their AFUE for consumers to compare the energy efficiencies of different models of furnaces. If a heater has an AFUE of 90%, that means 90% of the fuel will become heat for the home with the other 10% escaping through the chimney or elsewhere. A good rating is between 90 and 98%.

Up to 35% of the energy of the furnace can be lost through piping or the duct system, and this is not included in the AFUE. As you shop for a high efficient furnace, you will likely find an ENERGY STAR logo on there. Energy Star was developed by the US department of Energy to reduce energy use and air pollution by labeling energy efficient, cost-saving appliances. Some ENERGY STAR approved brands are, Ruud, Trane, Goodman, York, Lennox and many more.

Why Upgrade?

An energy-efficient heating system can cut your furnace pollution and heating bill in half. A good heating system will have sealed combustion bringing outside air into the burner. The exhaust flue gases condense in another heat exchange and go directly outside the home eliminating any need for a damper or draft hood. Additionally, 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions are eliminated.

Before You Buy

It is important to improve the energy efficiency of your home by sealing air leaks and adding insulation. The home size, window condition, climate and usage needs to be considered as it will affect the size of the furnace, and an AFUE of 80% is often adequate for homes in areas with mild winters. Choosing a certified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor can be frustrating for homeowners. It is always good to check online reviews, or ask friends or neighbors for recommendations. Your contractor will determine what size of furnace using a load calculation and which AFUE is needed based on the layout of your home. When evaluating a contractor it is important to learn about the warranties they provide to protect your investment for years to come.

Maintaining Your Heater After Installation

Poor maintenance causes twice as many furnace problems as faulty equipment. So it is important to have your baseboards, radiators, air registers, and air filters maintained and cleaned once a year. Furnace heat exchangers especially need to be checked as they will mix house air and combustion gases if they leak. Ask your contractor or local Utility Company to perform a free routine safety inspection to make sure the house air is tested for carbon monoxide. It is also important to clean and oil the blower, adjust the fuel input and flame characteristics if necessary, seal the connections between the ducts and furnace and check the combustion chamber for cracks. The furnace controls need to be adjusted to provide the best air and water temperature for both comfort and furnace efficiency.

If you’re considering upgrading your furnace to an energy-efficient model, we encourage you to call Bell Brothers. We would be more than happy to work with you to find the model that is right for your home.