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Understanding AFUE Ratings

One of the most confusing things about picking out a new furnace for many people is the fact that each one comes with what is called and AFUE rating. This rating is generally at least 80% and can get as high as 97% or 98% for some models. What this rating reflects is the energy efficiency of the furnace in question.

Of course, you’re probably inclined to think that the greater the energy efficiency, the better the product, and to a certain extent that’s true. However, the higher energy efficiency furnaces also typically come with a higher price tag than some of their less efficient counterparts. And keep in mind that 80% is still a great energy efficiency rating.

Certainly none of this means that you would be wrong to buy a furnace with a higher AFUE rating, but in some cases it simply may not make financial sense. That’s because the amount that you’ll save on your monthly heating bills won’t come close to offsetting the higher cost of the more energy efficient furnace for many years to come.

In fact, the only time it would make sense to get a top rated energy efficient furnace is if you have a large home or you live in a colder climate where heat is used for a substantial part of the year. Otherwise, you’re probably better off with the more moderately priced but still effective 80% AFUE model.