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Know the Degrees of Furnace Efficiency in a Home

A woman drinks coffee and looks out the windowWhen the cold, Alberta winter sets in, it’s important to have a quality furnace. It’s also just as important to have furnace efficiency that can keep you comfortable without driving up your energy bills. How efficient a furnace do you need? Did you know that there are different degrees of furnace efficiency? Here’s how to tell what’s best for your home.

High-Efficiency Furnaces

Furnace efficiency on a unit is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. It’s expressed as a percentage, signifying how much fuel the furnace uses as heat in a given year. In Canada, most new gas furnaces must have a minimum AFUE rating of 90%, which means that 90% of the fuel is utilized as heat and 10% is given off as exhaust.

However, if you have a furnace manufactured before 2010, it may have a lower AFUE rating. An 80% AFUE furnace operates differently from a 90% model. Mid-efficiency furnaces pull air from your home, heat it and recirculate it via what’s called an open-combustion system. High-efficiency models, however, use a sealed combustion system via PVC pipe to pull in air from the outdoors.

If your home currently has a mid-efficiency furnace, upgrading to a high-efficiency model may carry extra installation costs to put in the system of PVC pipes. However, it’s also worth the money in the long run. Not only is it more efficient, it’s safer.

Sealed vs. Open Combustion

An open-combustion system vents exhaust through a chimney. This is fine as long as your basement has proper ventilation. If not, it can cause backdrafting, wherein harmful carbon monoxide gas is pulled back into the basement and can end up circulating throughout your home, a dangerous occurrence which can cause severe illness and even death to the home’s occupants.

In the sealed-combustion system of a high-efficiency furnace, exhaust is vented directly outside via the same system of PVC pipes. The fresh, outdoor air helps improve your Indoor Air Quality, and the sealed system greatly reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

For help maximizing your furnace efficiency, contact us at Arpi’s Industries. We provide Calgary with top-quality home-comfort solutions.