The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that it would NOT enforce rules that would have required residential natural gas furnaces installed in 30 northern states to be at least 90% AFUE starting on May 1, 2013.
Instead, the DOE will await the outcome of a lawsuit challenging those rules. This means that even though the rules remain “on the books,” the DOE will not enforce them.
What does that mean to you? It means you can still have a contractor install a less-efficient furnace in your home.
Great, right? Sure, if you want to pay more for fuel costs.
AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilitization Efficiency. It’s a way to represent the average season-long efficiency of combustion equipment. So a furnace that has a 90% AFUE at its best means it puts out 90 BTUs (British thermal units) of useful heating for every 100 BTUs of natural gas input.
Let’s compare that with geothermal heating. Depending on local energy rates, a geothermal unit is about 15%-20% more efficient or cheaper to run than a 95% AFUE natural gas furnace and about 50% cheaper at this time than propane in most areas. Now that’s efficient!
In addition, there is no chance of carbon monoxide with geothermal so no gas dangers in the home.
Hmmmm, so your call: Do you want less efficient or very efficient and safe?