Sometimes, when homeowners are concerned about their utility bills, we get questions about how their heating equipment may be contributing. It’s a safe assumption; we often encourage people to keep an eye on their bills because heating systems take up a large portion of your monthly utilities. Higher-than-usual bills could be a sign of a problem within the system.
We also get questions about the heating efficiency of their furnaces. Many people wonder whether their heaters are simply not efficient enough and if they are simply stuck with these high bills. Below, we’ll show you how to tell what efficiency rating your heater has, but we also explain that efficiency isn’t everything.
Check the Yellow Tag
Typically, all you have to do to find out the efficiency of your furnace is to look at the furnace itself. Manufacturers are required to display the yellow EnergyGuide label, which tells you how much energy your furnace uses and compares it to other furnaces on the market of the same size.
All of this can give you a good idea about whether you’ve got an efficient product. The AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating shows you how much energy your furnace actually uses for heating, since some energy is wasted in the flue and elsewhere during the heating process. An AFUE of about 95 or greater means you have one of the most efficient furnaces on the market.
Remember that Efficiency Is More than the Rating
While you may be able to get a good idea of how efficiently your furnace will run with the EnergyGuide, this is only part of the efficiency equation. Even the highest rated furnace cannot save you money unless it is sized just right for your home, installed by professional technicians, and routinely maintained.
Make sure you only allow experienced heating technicians to work on your equipment. When efficiency is declining, it usually indicates the system is in need of maintenance or repairs. And if you have an older furnace without the EnergyGuide that costs you hundreds of dollars a month to run, it’s definitely time for a heating replacement.