While the weather is still fine and there’s no need to use your heating system, it may actually be wise to consider if your heating unit is in need of repair, or at the very least, if it is efficient. That should save you from unnecessarily worrying about it when it is actually time for you to use it, not to mention it will save you money because you’ll be spared from an unreasonably high energy bill and exorbitant fees from heating repair services that may be charging higher at times when their services are in most demand. So, here are three factors to check whether your heating system is efficient when it comes to power usage.
Check the AFUE Rating.
The first thing to check on your heating device is its AFUE rating. AFUE, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is a reliable factor to check your system’s energy efficiency. The higher a system’s AFUE percentage is, the more efficient it is. The percentages stand for how much of the fuel your heater converts to heat energy and how much is lost. Thys, for example, a heater with a 98% AFUE rating means that it only wastes 2% of the fuel it uses. Check your heater’s manual or look for a sticker on the unit itself that reads the AFUE rating. If you have a heater that has an AFUE rating below 80%, you might consider replacement options.
The most efficient furnaces on the market today top out at about 98.5% AFUE. The minimum allowable AFUE for newly manufactured furnaces in the United States is 80%.
Check your heater’s age.
How long has your heater been servicing your house or place of business? The heater’s age is an important indicator of its efficiency, only because just like any other machine or device, your heater is still obviously subject to normal wear and tear. So, while it is commendable that you take proper care of your heating unit and subject it to proper maintenance from a reputable heating repair establishment, it is inevitable that you may consider saving up for its replacement once it reaches 15 years old.
How long does a traditional furnace last? An average furnace is designed to operate for 15 to 30 years in a home. The easiest way to increase the life cycle of your furnace is to hire a certified technician to perform maintenance and repairs once a year.
Compare your energy bills.
Enviously, your energy bills will fluctuate depending on the seasons, but try to compare your bills on the months that you use your heater, year on year. If you see a drastic difference, say between your December 2010 and December 2020 electricity bills, try to check the difference in used kWh, not the total bill itself because obviously, unless you’ve turned into solar panels or other natural energy source, energy costs increase every year. But if there’s a huge difference between the energy your heater consumed from December 2010 to December 2020, your heater may have already become very inefficient.
If you’re looking for average heater energy usage data for research purposes (not for financial planning), in temperate (mild) climates, the average household uses 5,000 kWh to 30,000 kWh of energy per year for heating. That equates to an average heating cost of $1,000 to $6,000 USD per year at an electricity rate of $0.20/kWh (without factoring in taxes and other fees that may be applicable in your region).
If you still have questions or need further clarifications on your energy bills and the efficiency of your heater, check out this page.