AFUE is simply the efficiency of the furnace. We can compare this to a motor in a car. Let’s say we have five motors. We will call them 50, 72, 80, 90 and a 95. The 50 gets 5 miles to the gallon, the 72 gets 7.2 miles to the gallon, the 80 gets 8 miles to the gallon, the 90 gets 9 miles to the gallon and the 95 gets 9.5 miles to the gallon. The higher the fuel economy the father you are going to be able to drive on a fixed budget. It is obviously cheaper driving a 95 than a 50 or 72.
It is easy to say 95, but that is not always the case. We have been performing a HeatMaxx survey on all of our heating systems since early 2011. A HeatMaxx survey on a heating system lets us discover how many btus a system is producing using a fixed amount of natural gas or electricity if it is a heat pump. After discovering what the common problems are in HVAC systems we have discovered that we can make at least ½ of all the 72 AFUE systems more efficient than the 95 AFUE systems that are installed here in Southern California and we can do it cheaper than changing out the furnace.
The systems that we have been working on here in Southern California are averaging right around 67% efficient. That means that a standard 95% AFUE furnace is operating at (95 x .67) 63.95 AFUE once you take into consideration the entire system. If we work on that 72% AFUE furnace and we get the entire system working at only 90% we get (72 x 0.90) 64.8% AFUE. In this very real case we have a 1970’s furnace operating at a more efficient rate than a brand new state of the art 95.5% AFUE furnace. I am not advocating keeping that old, noise t trap with a large standing pilot. What I am expressing to you is that just because a single component of your system is very efficient it does not mean that your system is efficient.
The heating and air conditioning equipment manufacturers have been very good for a very long time in projecting that energy conservation starts and ends with a box that they just happen to manufacture. They have had the utilities helping them out and the government helping them. Things are changing though. The EPA has performed studies, the National Comfort Institute has performed studies and the Air Conditioning Contractors Association has performed studies. These studies are backed up by University Studies and finally the Utility Company Studies.
Those rebates from the utility companies were not there to actually reduce energy consumption. They were to show the federal government that the utility companies care and that they should have carbon emission offsets and tax breaks because of all the conversation programs they were running. As it turns out many of those conservation programs were doing little to nothing to reduce the electrical and gas consumption by the average household. It has gone up year after year despite the push to replace older appliances.
The last couple of years have seen a push back against wasteful rebate money that served little more than a way to help remodel homes. The State of California rebates that started in 2009 screamed to a halt after their studies showed no savings. The money was already allocated so they changed direction and started insisting upon matched equipment that was certified for the efficiency that was claimed. Southern California Edison started a different type of rebate program whereas every home that claims to have a high efficiency system installed had to prove it through a series of tests.
When you give us a call and have us to your home for a free furnace replacement estimate we are going to look at your entire system. We will examine the venting, the ducting and the insulation levels in your home and we will make recommendations to you in writing. It is a free consulting service. After you have been educated as to the good things and the bad things about your heating and air conditioning system you will have the knowledge to make an educated choice about what should be done in your home.