Most heating units are rated, but the performance of combustion-type appliances is generally measured by the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratio. It’s the percentage of heat output produced by the furnace or boiler for every dollar of fuel the unit consumed over a year.
As technology advances, the performance of central heating systems improves. Modern furnaces and boilers are considered high-efficiency; the best ones can convert up to 98.5% of the fuel they burn into heat. In other words, only 1.5% is wasted energy.
However, experienced heating and air conditioning installation experts, including Superior Air, would say that looking for the highest AFUE doesn’t guarantee equipment efficiency. Before you shop around and check EnergyGuide labels to compare heating appliances, answer these questions first:
Why Shouldn’t You Rely on It Completely?
The AFUE ratings of furnaces and boilers were determined by the latest and most reliable tests, but they’re not perfect. They’re done under standard conditions, which may be inconsistent or irrelevant with your situation.
What Other Factors Should You Consider?
Consider the fuel type, the local climate and the size of unit when buying a central heating system. Any furnace, boiler and air conditioning repair specialist like Superior Air knows that these factors can help you predict how your equipment will perform and how much money you’ll spend on heating.
The cost of a particular type of fuel is typically tied to its availability in your area. In addition to the integrity of your home’s thermal enclosure system, seasonal weather determines your heating load as days go by. You may think that bigger is better, but an oversized unit can underperform and unnecessarily consume more energy than a smaller one.
Why Do Furnace or Boiler Performance Diminish Over Time?
It’s common knowledge that heating systems underperform with use and time. In most cases, inefficiency stems from worn-out components, but improper upkeep can result in premature performance issues too. Furnace, boiler and air conditioning maintenance may cost money, but it’s a small price to pay to maximize your HVAC system’s service life.