With energy bills rising in the Decatur, AL area and everywhere else, you may be wondering just how efficient your furnace is, and whether it’s worth it to upgrade to a newer model.

Knowing the efficiency of your furnace is key to knowing whether swapping out for a new model will lower costs. If you are wondering how to find out this information, there are a few simple ways to do so.

Your Furnace’s AFUE Rating. You may not have heard of AFUE, but it’s an important metric when it comes to efficiency. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating can be found on your furnace’s faceplate, provided it was installed after 1987. You can also look up the serial number of your furnace.

You’ll find a number between 56 and 100. The higher the number, the better. For example, a furnace with an AFUE of 90 can turn 90% of its fuel into heat, wasting only 10%.

Older furnaces tend to have lower ratings than newer models, which tend to have ratings in the 80’s. Energy-efficient furnaces (with the energy star) must have ratings above 90%.

Energy star ratings can vary by region, as temperatures and seasons are different in each one. In the Decatur area, look for the “U.S. South” energy star logo. Northern areas will have the standard energy star rating.

How Maintained Is Your Furnace? One way to determine whether your furnace is as efficient as possible is to review your maintenance record. If you’ve changed the furnace filters every few months, and had the furnace cleaned and inspected regularly, then you likely have your current model running as efficiently as possible. But what if you’ve just purchased a home, and need to know this information? Ask the former owner or get in contact with the HVAC company that’s serviced the furnace.

Failing to maintain your furnace can reduce your energy-efficiency, even if you have an energy-star rated furnace.

Talking to your HVAC professional may be a good way to check your furnace’s overall performance, especially if you have an older model.

Look At Your Energy Bills. It’s easy to spot the difference between efficient and less-efficient furnaces by watching your bills. While other factors such as gas prices can affect your bills, you may spot an overall trend, such as rising bills, over time that aren’t entirely explained by prices.

How can you tell the difference? Some power companies allow you to track your energy usage, as well as costs, over time. If you’re finding that you use more gas or electricity than you used to, and your habits haven’t changed, then you may have a furnace that’s less efficient than it used to be. You may need to do a bit of math to determine if it’s time for a new furnace.

Check Your Ductwork. Sometimes, the efficiency issues lie not with your furnace, but with your ducts. Leaks and ductwork that’s not the right size for your furnace can force your unit to work harder and to consume more fuel. The good news is that ductwork is far less expensive to fix or replace than a furnace.

Ready to Tackle Your Energy Bills? Here at Southeastern Mechanical Services in Decatur, Alabama, we can help you tackle your electric bills and bring them down, especially since heating and cooling is the largest part of your bill. Contact us today to get started.