What Do Furnace Efficiency Ratings Mean?

There are a number of things to consider when buying a new furnace. However, the primary one for most consumers is energy efficiency: finding a model to properly heat the home, without needless expense and pollution.

It is wise to do as much research as possible before making such a major purchase. Fortunately, the government has a program in place allowing consumers to receive valuable efficiency information to use as the basis for choosing their next furnace.


As the name suggests, this is an energy guide implemented to help Canadians make the best choices when it comes to essentials like furnaces. EnerGuide requires certain products and equipment to adhere to minimum energy performance standards calculated using our country’s Energy Efficiency Regulations. The goal is to reduce environmental impact and lower utility bills by saving energy and improving performance.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rating

An important component of EnerGuide is the annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, rating. The rating provides consumers with an easy and accurate way to compare furnaces in regards to efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The AFUE rating number calculates how well the furnace converts energy into heat. In the past, most furnaces only successfully converted about 65% of the energy they received. This is completely unacceptable in these days of high energy bills and concerns about the environment. Think about how much money is lost running any product using less than two-thirds of the power provided!

Don’t worry—today’s high-efficiency furnaces are much better than the one you grew up with. The best models on the market carry AFUE ratings in the high 90s. That means almost none of the energy going into your furnace is lost.


Models with higher AFUE ratings typically cost more. However, if you have the capital, investing some more up front will save you money in the end through lower fuel bills.

Let’s say your current furnace has an AFUE rating of 80 and you are thinking of a new model with a rating of 95. Sit down and figure out how much electricity or natural gas you typically use in a year to heat your home. With this new model, you can reduce those costs by 15% annually.

It may not sound like a lot when you are paying, say, $1,000 to $2,000 more for the unit. However, today’s furnaces typically last over 20 years, so you will make up the extra upfront cost back several times over. Don’t forget the government also offers rebate and incentive programs to help Ontario residents and other Canadians with those additional initial costs.

The professionals at Applewood have been providing Ontarians with the absolute best in air conditioning and heating service for almost five decades. The mission of our family owned and operated service is to help consumers attain maximum home comfort and energy efficiency while keeping costs to a minimum. Contact our knowledgeable team today to learn more about how we can help you meet your home comfort goals.

Related Articles