During a chilly season, all you need is a heater to keep your home warm. The three main varieties of heaters are solar heaters, electric heaters, and gas heaters. Currently, nearly all homes and business premises in the U.S. have electric heaters installed as they are easier to deal with and are more reliable. As a resident or business in Mobile, Alabama, or another area in Baldwin County, one of the things that you should be aware of as you warm up your home or premises using a heater is its energy efficiency. This is because how energy efficient your heater is will impact how much you spend on your electrical or gas bills. You will spend less on your electric or gas bill if your heater is more energy efficient and vice versa. At Hansen Heating and Air Conditioning, we have been helping area residents and businesses deal with their heating needs for years. Here are our expert insights on how to find out your heater’s energy efficiency.
Find Out the Heaters’ AFUE Rating
The Department of Energy introduced AFUE ratings to encourage manufacturers of heaters to bring to market more energy-efficient products. Every commercially available heater has an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating. Checking your heater’s AFUE rating is the best option for determining whether it’s efficient or not. The rating measures how well the heater converts fuel or electricity to heat energy. The high AFUE rating is an indication that the heater is very energy efficient. If the AFUE rating on your heater is 98%, it means that the heater can convert 98% of the electricity of gas that it receives to heat energy. The remaining 2% of electricity or fuels is lost.
You can find the AFUE rating of your heater on its user’s manual. If you don’t have the user’s manual, you can check a sticker on the furnace cabinet’s side. The Department of Energy has put in place minimum AFUE ratings for furnaces for different regions. All heaters in the northern region are required to have a minimum AFUE rating of 90% while the minimum for the southern region is 80%. An AFUE rating of 80% is considered satisfactory for a home or business premises in Alabama as the state lies in the southern region.
Advancements in technology have allowed the AFUE ratings of newer heaters to rise dramatically over the last few years. Most new furnaces today have an AFUE rating of 90% and above. The most efficient heaters have an AFUE rating of 98%. However, a couple of decades ago, some of the heaters had an AFUE rating as low as 5%. If you are having difficulties figuring out the AFUE ratings of your heater, you can call heating experts like Hansen to help you with that.
The Age of Your Heater
Now that you know the AFUE rating of your heater, that’s not where the story ends; the age of your heater also affects its energy efficiency. You should understand that heaters don’t maintain the same level of performance throughout their lifespan. Heaters have a life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years. You should expect the energy efficiency of your heater to decrease by 5% every year. Undertaking proper regular maintenance can bring down the loss of energy efficiency for your heater to between 3% and 4 %. However, you will still need to replace your heater when it gets to between 15 and 20 years. Poor maintenance will lead to you having to replace your heater even before it hits its life expectancy as its energy efficiency will be too low that it will be unbearable.
At Hansen Heating and Air Conditioning, we advise our clients always to call qualified professionals for seasonal maintenance on their heater to enable it to reach its expected lifespan while still being desirably energy efficient. If you notice a problem with your heater, don’t wait, have an expert technician look at it as soon as possible. Additionally, preventative maintenance can go a long in helping your heater stay energy efficient for longer. This involves keeping your heater’s air filters and ductwork clean all the time.
Moreover, you should ensure that your heater is installed in a clean, dry place. This will help prevent rust which will eat away at the heater’s components like the heat exchanger. You should also install a programable thermostat to allow the heater only to run when someone is at home. This is because how fast your heater loses its efficiency is also determined by how much it runs. Using a programable thermostat means that the heater will not run constantly.
Keep Track of Your Energy Bills
Keeping track of your energy will also help you determine the energy efficiency of your heater. A heater has the maximum energy efficiency when new, and this is when your energy bill will be the lowest. However, as the years go by, the heater will keep losing a portion of its energy efficiency, and your energy bills will go up. Therefore, you should keep the energy bills for the first year of a new heater and compare them with the energy bills of the following years.
If everything is okay with your heater, the increase in your energy bills will be consistent. Since the heater will lose about 5% of its energy efficiency every year, you should also expect an increase of about 5% in your energy bills annually. However, if you notice any huge spikes in your energy bills, for example, a 20% increase in your energy bills from one year to another, this is an indication that something is wrong with your heater. We recommend that you call a technician to come and figure out what the problem might be. If the problem is sorted, your energy bills should reduce and go back to going up by 5% each year. If your energy bills for the following year after the repair don’t reduce or still have an abnormal spike, it might be time to consider getting a new heater.
While tracking your energy bills, you should keep in mind that other factors beyond your heater losing its energy efficiency may cause it to go up. These factors include having the heater run for extended periods, which means you will be heating your home for longer.
Hansen Heating and Air Conditioning Is Here for You
If you’re a resident or business in Mobile, Alabama, or the surrounding area, Hansen Heating and Air Conditioning is here to take care of every heating, air conditioning, electric, and plumbing need that you have. We have a highly qualified staff that provides industry-leading services with a satisfaction guarantee. At Hansen Heating and Air Conditioning, our clients are our most valuable asset. This is why there are no hidden fees, no weekend charges, and no overtime charges for any of the services that we provide. We have upfront pricing and offer free second opinions. You can also get easy financing from us to access any home comfort services you need. Contact Hansen Heating and Air Conditioning now for more information.