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A-Avis Home Services Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

New Furnace Buying Tip: Efficiency Ratings for Electric Furnaces

heating-elementAlthough “cold winter” is a relative term in Southern California, we’re experiencing a chillier stretch than usual this season. You may be in a situation where you realize your old furnace can no longer do the job you need from it. Time for a new furnace installation in Bloomington, CA. Call our technicians to do the best job for heating needs.

We’ll help you pick out a new furnace to replace your old one. This requires considering several factors, such as the system’s heating output and its energy efficiency. Energy efficiency can be tricky for a non-professional to grasp, since it’s easy to misunderstand the long-term effects of the rating. Many homeowners assume a higher efficiency rating means a furnace will cost less to run and save money over its service life. This isn’t necessarily true, and when it comes to electric furnaces the efficiency rating can mislead people.

AFUE: How Furnace Efficiency Is Rated

Regardless of the type of furnace—natural gas, oil, propane, electric—they all use the same energy efficiency measurement: annual fuel utilization efficiency or AFUE. This is a percentage representing how much of its energy source a furnace converts into heat. Whatever remains goes to waste as exhaust.

For example, an old mid-efficiency gas furnace might have an AFUE of 70%. This means for every 100 units of natural gas, 70 becomes heat energy and 30 escapes as exhaust. Newer gas furnaces have high AFUE today thanks to advances in technology. Many mid-efficiency furnaces have AFUE in the mid-80s, and condensing furnaces can score 97.5%.

Electric Furnaces and AFUE

A higher AFUE means better efficiency. But it doesn’t mean the furnace is automatically less expensive to run—and the electric furnace is the best example. All electric furnaces have the same AFUE: 100%.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? No electricity goes to waste!

However, this is the nature of electric heating. There’s no energy waste because there’s no exhaust. The electricity sent through the heating elements all goes to use. In most cases, it costs more to run an electric furnace than a gas furnace because of the price of electricity. Natural gas is less expensive today, making even a mid-efficiency gas furnace cheaper to operate than an electric one.

This doesn’t mean an electric furnace is always a bad choice. If a home doesn’t have natural gas access, an electric furnace is often a better option than an oil or propane furnace, both of which have limitations. (In fact, oil and propane furnaces are rare in Southern California.)

If you’re looking at the possibility of installing an electric furnace, work with our pros so you’ll end up with a unit that best meets your needs. We’ve been family-owned since 1947 and have decades of experience working with different furnaces. We’re dedicated to quality: we never leave the customer unhappy and our techs are not to leave until the customer is 100% satisfied.

Call A-Avis Home Services Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. for your HVAC needs. Like our shoe covers, our customers are the coolest!

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