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Are New Furnaces More Energy Efficient?

If you have to replace your furnace, you'll be glad to hear that today's more-efficient heating oil and natural gas furnaces can save you up to $40 for every $100 you spend on fuel compared with older models. They are also, on average, less likely to need repairs, according to our survey of subscribers, who told us about 21,132 furnaces they bought between 2008 and early 2014. (Consumer Reports)

3 Things to Consider When Shopping for a New Furnace

  1. AFUE
    The efficiency of COMBUSTION HEATING APPLIANCES (such as FURNACES AND BOILERS) is measured by ANNUAL FUEL UTILIZATION EFFICIENCY (AFUE). The higher the number, the more heat the furnace can achieve from oil or gas. Since efficient furnaces generate fewer emissions, environmental considerations might also influence your decision. The price of a furnace generally rises in step with its fuel efficiency. A furnace with a 90% AFUE might cost $1,000 more than a similar size unit with an 80%t AFUE. But you can often recoup that additional cost through lower fuel bills over the life of the furnace, especially in regions such as the Northeast and Midwest, where winters can be harsh.
    Upgrading your furnace or boiler from 56% to 90% efficiency in an average cold-climate house will save 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year if you heat with gas, or 2.5 tons if you heat with oil (Energy.gov)

  2. Reliability
    Reliability is especially important because when a furnace failed, 77% needed significant work. A majority of those broke down completely, with nearly a third producing no heat for more than a day. For 40 percent, the repair cost $150 or more.

  3. Unit Size
    A furnace has to be sized properly for your home and installed correctly by a capable, experienced company. Otherwise you won't see the fuel savings you expect.

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