In North America, most homes use forced-air heating systems. Your gas furnace, which is often located in the basement converts gas to heat using the heat exchanger. Air is moved across the heat exchanger, which is then distributed through the ductwork to heat the home. We will briefly review efficiency below before telling you the benefits of a high efficiency system:
What Factors Affect Efficiency?
Each gas furnace model has an energy efficiency rating in the form of a percent. This number is its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), or the ratio of annual heat output of the furnace compared to the amount of annual fuel energy it consumes. For example, if a furnace has an AFUE of 80%, it means 80% of the energy in the fossil fuel is being converted to heat while 20% escapes and is wasted.
What is my current furnace’s efficiency?
Many older furnaces may have efficiencies of only 56 to 70% AFUE, which costs the homeowner almost 30-42% when compared to a modern furnace. Switching to a newer, more energy-efficient gas furnace that can reach upwards of 98% AFUE means nearly all of the energy from the fuel is effectively used to heat the home.1
So, what are the benefits?
When your new furnace uses up to 33% less energy, you pay up to 33% less in your gas bills. The energy savings can easily pay for the new furnace’s cost during its lifespan. Let’s just say a new furnace costs $4000 and it saves you $400 a year ($33 a month, conservative estimate). It pays for itself in 10-years, while its still under warranty.
Colorado offers incentives through Xcel Energy and other utility providers when you buy a new high efficiency furnace or AC system. This amount can be up to $1750 in cash back. These incentives can offset the cost significantly and help you switch.
As your system is more efficient, it takes less time to achieve your desired temperature. This means comfort comes faster; You also save money!
Easier on the environment
While you may not see these effects directly, a collective quantity of homes using less and less gas contributes to less fracking, less resources to process and transfer the gas and allow the environment in which natural gas is collected and processed to recover.
While 15-33% savings in your heating bill are the main reason to switch to a high efficiency furnace, these modern units bring other benefits that will improve your quality of life in subtle but noticeable ways.