AFUE, an acronym for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is a type of energy efficiency rating used for furnaces and boilers, including those fueled by heating oil. The AFUE number—usually found on a yellow sticker attached to your heating system—represents how much of the fuel your equipment consumes is being directed toward producing heat for your living space.
For example, in a heating unit with an 85% AFUE unit, 85% of the fuel consumed by the heating system goes toward heating your home; the remaining 15% is lost in the combustion process—usually getting wasted up the chimney.
Another way to think about AFUE is to consider it in terms of the dollars you spend on fuel. In an 85% AFUE furnace, 85 cents of every dollar go toward heating your home. But if your oil-powered furnace or boiler is old and not well maintained, your actual AFUE could drop into the 60s or even 50s. This is a big reason why the decision to upgrade your heating equipment often pays for itself fairly quickly.
Today’s advanced equipment operates with improved efficiency, so you use less energy to keep your home comfortable. You’ll also see savings on maintenance and repairs when you update your system.
Knowing the AFUE rating remains an important bit of information when it comes time to invest in new high-efficiency home heating equipment. Of course, AFUE doesn’t tell the whole efficiency story – proper heating system installation and periodic heating system maintenance are also extremely important pieces of the equation, as are several other factors.
So, while efficiency ratings can be a good general starting point, it’s important to remember that the tests to determine AFUE are all done in a laboratory. Efficiency performance is only as good as your installer. Equipment needs to be installed to the manufacturer’s specifications so you can get the best performance and value for your investment.
Only a full-service heating oil company can escort you through the process that results in an ideal home comfort solution. That’s because everyone from the equipment service manager to the technicians to the installation team is a certified expert.
Don’t wait until your system fails on the coldest day of winter! Start doing your homework now by contacting your full-service heating oil company about your options in new heating oil equipment. Read more about oil boilers and oil furnaces.