DOES A HIGH EFFICIENCY FURNACE SAVE YOU MONEY? - McMillin Air - Air Conditioner Repairs & Service


If your furnace’s life is approaching to its end or you’re simply considering upgrading to a newer model, then you’ll definitely want to know if a high efficiency furnace could end up saving you money in the long run. Sure, you’ll most likely pay a bit more when buying it, but the idea is that it is worth the investment due to the money you’ll be saving on your energy bills. Read on to find out how true it is for you!

What Is a High Efficiency Furnace?

If you’re wondering what exactly a high efficiency furnace is, then you’re not alone. Many manufacturers refer to their furnace with the term ‘‘high efficiency.’’ However, the designation only includes units with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) higher than 90%, while models with an 80% to 83% AFUE as ‘‘mid efficiency.’’ The thing is that depending on where you live, you may not actually need the highest efficiency furnace there is. While it does make sense in colder climates, where it will indeed help you make big savings on your energy bill, it could not end up making that bit of a difference in places with a milder winter. If your house doesn’t need that much heating, then the upfront cost of the more efficient furnaces won’t make it worth the small savings you’ll make.

How does it Work?

One of the most prominent features of a high-efficiency gas furnace is the electronic ignition technology. While a pilot light (for gas furnaces) is constantly activated, an electronic ignition is only engaged when the furnace is being used; this means less wasted fuel/energy. This is especially significant, in terms of savings, when you have a bigger home to heat and in a colder weather. High efficiency furnaces keep close control over the amount of air mixed with gas and vary the speed of the blower motor depending on the demands of your home; this maximizes heat from the fuel. They have a second combustion chamber, which collects any gas fume runoff that would usually simply escape out of the flue, condenses it into a liquid, and repeats the burning process to generate heat. Then, a second set of heat exchanger coils or tubes are added to take pressure of the first heat exchange. It ensures the two exchangers run evenly with less energy, all the while creating more heat.

How much can it Save You?

A crucial point when considering a new furnace is that the more you have to rely on your furnace, the more important efficiency is. If the furnace is working hard for a long and cold winter, then homeowners will have more time to benefit from the energy efficiency. This also means that the time to recoup costs will be lower for a furnace in a cold climate than for a similar furnace in a warmer climate. As the AFUE is in percentage form, it is easy to estimate savings. Natural gas costs fluctuate from year to year, the weather will change and different variables at home can affect overall furnace performance. Homeowners can get a rough estimate for future savings with a relatively simple calculation. Heating costs differ according to the season, so the best strategy is to review monthly bills of the most recent 12 months. So first, add the cost of heating for all 12 months together. Then, subtract the average AFUE for your current furnace from the high efficiency furnace you would like to buy. You can use the standard 90-95% as a default if you need to. Next, multiply the resulting percentage by the total cost over the 12-month period. The result you get is the annual savings you can expect from your high efficiency furnace.

Now you know how a high efficiency furnace works! If your old furnace has stopped working and it’s time for a new one; then you can make an educated decision on whether a high efficiency furnace is for you. In the end, it all depends on your home and your needs, and also on where you live. Think it through and do the calculation, because how much money a high efficiency furnace will save you will vary from home to home.


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