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Guide to Ratings
The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is set by the U.S. Department of Energy under the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987. The rating is expressed in percentages. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the heating system and less energy is needed to heat your home or hot water.
The minimum efficiency standard for furnaces is 78 percent AFUE, for gas-fired water boilers is 80 percent AFUE, and the minimum for gas-fired steam boilers is 78 percent AFUE. For example, a new, high-efficiency furnace with a 94 percent AFUE provides 94 cents worth of heat from every energy dollar.
Annual Savings: Simple Payback
If you install a residential warm air furnace at 90 percent AFUE vs. 80 percent AFUE, the estimated annual savings in energy costs is $115 with a simple payback of 2.6 years. (Analysis of annual savings provided by the Consortium of Energy Efficiency.)