It’s been a couple of years since it snowed in Mobile, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still need your furnace. Over the course of the season, it can get quite a workout as you try to keep warm. And then your wallet gets the same workout when you have to pay your heating bills. As winter approaches, it’s important to make sure you have a furnace that can heat your home as efficiently as possible and not cost you a bundle. To ensure that, you need to check the furnace’s AFUE rating.
AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. It’s the measurement of how much of your furnace’s fuel is used to produce heat over the course of the year, on average, and how much is wasted. The higher the number, the more efficient the furnace. So for instance, if your furnace can convert 80 percent of its fuel into usable heat, with only 20 percent given off as exhaust, then it has an AFUE rating of 80.
Furnaces of 20 years ago or more could have AFUE ratings as low as 65 percent, so if you have an older furnace, it’s probably costing you quite a bit in utilities. Not to mention the fact that a unit’s AFUE rating decreases as it gets older, especially if it’s not well maintained. Modern furnaces, on the other hand, can have AFUE ratings of up to 98 percent, with a minimum rating of 80 to 81 percent for gas furnaces and 78 to 83 percent for oil furnaces.
Buying a new furnace may seem like a significant expense, but it can also be a good investment for your home. Particularly if your furnace is 15 years old or more, needs frequent maintenance and repairs, or just keeps driving your heating bills higher every year, a new, high-efficiency furnace with a good annual fuel utilization efficiency rating can keep you warm and comfortable all winter, while saving you a significant amount of money and hassle.
For more help with AFUE ratings in the Mobile area, or any other home comfort needs, contact Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. today.
Now’s the best time to upgrade your home’s heating and cooling system if you want to take advantage of the available federal tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades. In order to claim these credits on your 2014 federal tax return, you must purchase and have your new system in service by December 31, 2013. If you wait too long, you may miss out on savings of up to $500 if eligible.
What’s Covered Under the Tax Credit Program?
You can receive a tax credit for replacing any of the following:
Central air conditioners
– $300 credit
- Split system upgrades must have a minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 16 and a minimum energy efficiency ratio (EER) or 13
- Package system upgrades must rate 14 SEER or higher and have at least a 12 EER
Furnaces or boilers
– $150 credit
- Qualifying furnaces can be fueled by either natural gas, oil or propane and must have a minimum annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating of 95.
Air source heat pump
– $300 credit
- Split system upgrades must rate 15 SEER or higher and have at least a 12.5 EER and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) of 8.5.
- Package system upgrades must rate 14 SEER or higher and have at least a 12 EER and 8 HSPF
Carrier Systems Eligible for Tax Credits
You can’t go wrong when choosing a high efficiency air conditioning system, such as one of the split system units from Carrier’s Infinity Series. These units offer some of the highest SEER ratings available in the industry, with a range of ratings from 16 to 21.
The Infinity and Performance Series of gas furnaces offer energy-efficient split system models with AFUE ratings of 96 and above. You’ll immediately enjoy savings on heating bills once you have one of these systems installed.
For more information on making the most out of your tax credits for energy efficiency, contact the heating experts at Keith Air Conditioning, Inc. We’re proud to provide HVAC services to homeowners throughout Baldwin County.