Trying to reduce your monthly heating bill while operating an inefficient furnace is like trying to reduce your monthly water bill while having leaky pipes. You may be able to implement some measures that lower your heating bill, but you won’t be addressing the issue at its most critical point. In evaluating the best furnaces for efficiency, there are two criteria that should be examined above others: the efficiency of individual furnaces, and the experience of individual heating contractors at judging energy efficiency and implementing energy efficient design.
1. Furnace Efficiency Ratings
Two of today’s most energy efficient and reliable lines of furnaces are American Standard/Trane and Rheem/Rudd, with American Standard heating being the most well-known. But more important than a furnace’s brand is its annual fuel utilization efficiency rating (AFUE), also known as its energy to heat conversion ratio. A furnace with an AFUE rating of 80 percent (80 percent of energy converted into usable heat) is typically considered efficient. But there are also furnaces with 90 percent AFUE ratings. These are the ones to look for.
2. Experience of Contractors with Energy Efficiency
There aren’t many heating and air conditioning contractors that don’t offer energy efficient furnaces. But harnessing the benefits of an efficient furnace depends in part on a thorough evaluating of your home’s heating needs. For example, if your home has a highly efficient envelope and highly efficient doors and windows, implementing a less powerful furnace could be a significant cost saving option, but one that only a contractor skilled in efficiency assessments could realistically recommend.
Other Measures Pertaining to the Best Furnaces for Efficiency
Implementing an efficient furnace is the best first move for reducing your monthly heating bills for years to come. But there are other critical measures that should be considered in addition to installing a more efficient furnace. We list two of the most important ones below.
1. Having Your Ductwork Inspected for Leaks
Over time, most ductwork gradually develops leaks that allow warm air to escape into ceilings and walls instead of being pumped into living areas, causing homeowners to crank up their thermostat to gradually higher levels to achieve a desired temperature. Having leaky ducts repaired is generally inexpensive, but not having them repaired can gradually increase your heating cost until it becomes unaffordable.
2. Having your Home’s Doors and Windows Inspected for Leaks
Almost everyone knows that older windows and doors rarely have a high efficiency rating. But replacing windows and doors can be expensive, often demanding a five-figure investment. If you have old windows and doors that you currently can’t afford to replace, re-insulating them is an inexpensive way to increase their efficiency. Many people re-insulate old doors and windows on their own, but heating and air conditioning services also perform re-insulation of doors and windows for a nominal fee.