Decreasing the cost of energy bills is all very popular these days. Everyone is looking for ways to save money, and in some cases, improving energy efficiency is an easy way to do so. This winter, many homeowners will be faced with the need to purchase a new heating system for their home. When doing so, energy efficiency should be at the top of your priority list. However, don’t just look at the furnace’s ability to use gas efficiently. You must also check to see if the unit will use electricity efficiently as well!
AFUE Doesn’t Cut it!
AFUE ratings are important, but they are not the only measure of energy efficiency. AFUE ratings give a percentage of how much gas the furnace will use to heat the home and how much gas will be lost to combustion. For example, a 95% efficient furnace will use 95% of its natural gas to produce and only 5% is lost to combustion. Older furnaces hover around 60% AFUE, so you can see how a new system could offer huge savings. The only flaw is that AFUE only measures natural gas usage. It does not address the way that the furnace uses electricity.
The Importance of Variable Speeds
The furnace’s circulating motor uses electricity to move air throughout the home. There are other parts of the system that use electricity as well, but the blower motor by far uses the most. There are two big choices when it comes to this part of your furnace and though the low tech version may be cheaper, you may regret not upgrading. The standard blower motor kicks on and pushes out heat at one speed and one speed only. There is no variety. A variable speed motor, on the other hand, will operate at a multitude of speeds in order to heat the home evenly and use as little electricity as possible. In fact, a variable speed motor will use two thirds less electricity when compared to the standard single speed motors that are out there. Make sure that your new furnace has a variable speed motor in it and you will enjoy maximized energy savings this winter!