A strategy to boost home comfort often results in a decision about furnace efficiency. The efficiency of a gas-fired furnace is measured by the unit’s AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) percentage. Standard efficiency furnaces have an AFUE of 78 percent or less. High-efficiency furnaces have been those with AFUE above 90 percent. On May 1, 2013, all new furnaces installed in northern states (including Ohio) will be required to be high-efficiency furnaces with a 90 percent or better AFUE rating.
High-efficiency furnaces are known as condensing furnaces. They utilize a secondary heat-exchanger that extracts about 10 percent more heat from the condensation in the combustion process. This increases the ratio of fuel burned which actually produces heat for your home, lowering energy costs.
High efficiency furnaces also offer options that boost home comfort in other ways:
- Variable-speed blowers run at a lower output but more continuously than standard furnaces, which are either on or off at all times. This reduces the cool-down that takes place in rooms when the furnace is in the off cycle, saving energy that would be expended warming the room up again. The continuous airflow also reduces stratification of hot air at the ceiling, which is simply wasted and contributes little warmth to the occupants below.
- Multi-stage burners monitor the heating load on the home and adjust the burner output to meet the precise requirements of that load. This provides more comfortable heating than a standard unit running at 100 percent output at all times. An analogy would be riding in a car that operates at maximum speed all the time vs. one that adjusts its speed to a slower more, comfortable ride.
- High-efficiency furnaces improve interior humidity control. Standard units draw combustion air from inside the home, burning up natural water vapor and reducing interior humidity to uncomfortable levels. High-efficiency furnaces have a sealed combustion chamber that draws air from outdoors only, through a PVC pipe. This eliminates drying of indoor air for improved air quality and comfort.
In the greater Cleveland area, P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling is your local source of the latest HVAC technology to boost home comfort. Contact us for more information about high-efficiency heating.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.