As Of May 2013, New Requirements for Furnace Efficiency

new requirements for furnace efficiency, Long Island, New YorkNew AFUE requirements soon will be in place that dictate new minimum requirements for furnace efficiency.

AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is a rating indicating how much fuel the unit converts into usable heat for your home. Currently, the minimum AFUE required is 78 percent. But on May 1, 2013, the new requirement for indoor residential furnaces will increase to 90 percent, encouraging homeowners to benefit from a high-efficiency furnace when they upgrade.

Who does this new regulation affect?

This change affects every residence in the northern half of the United States, including Long Island. The new minimum furnace efficiency requirement in the southern half of the country will be 80 AFUE.

If your existing furnace is below 90 AFUE, you are not required to replace your furnace by May of next year; only new installations of furnaces need to meet the requirement.

Why the change?

This minimum efficiency increase has been put into place largely to benefit the environment. As new installations are made by homeowners across the country, emissions are expected to decrease by nearly 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That also means that once you make the upgrade, you’ll save on heating bills as well.

Benefits of high-efficiency furnaces

Furnaces rated at 90 percent AFUE or above are considered high-efficiency appliances, and these systems offer many benefits, including:

  • Greater indoor comfort — High-efficiency furnaces utilize features like a variable-speed air handler, which offers continuous low-speed operation, leading to more even temperatures throughout your home.
  • Lower energy bills — It’s generally true that a high-efficiency furnace features a two-stage gas valve, allowing the system to use just enough fuel to meet the heating load of the home, encouraging lower energy bills.
  • Environmentally friendly — Less energy consumption means lower energy bills, but it also means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The more you can lower your home’s carbon footprint, the more beneficial it is for the environment.

Remember, to take full advantage of high-efficiency furnaces, they must be sized and installed correctly, a process you should leave in the capable hands of professionals. Contact T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating  in Long Island today to learn more.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).   For more information about other HVAC topics,  download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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