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What are 3 ways that you can tell if your heater is energy efficient?

Let's be honest – the last thing on your mind when you have to heat up your home is the cost of doing so. However, it is important that you pay close attention to what kind of heater you have in your residence. If used incorrectly, a high degree of energy could be used unnecessarily. Have you ever wondered, "what are three ways that I can tell if my heater is energy efficient?" Here are some tips.

AFUE rating

A furnace's AFUE rating, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, tells you the efficiency of your heating system. To understand what this means, you first need to know how a furnace works.

The burner, fueled by natural gas or propane, heats the air and then sends it through ducts to the various rooms in your home. A blower motor sends air through the ducts to heat your home. Warm air rises, so the hot air is sent into the upper levels of your home via ducts on the ceiling. The cooler air that was displaced by the heated air falls down and collects at floor level; this allows cool air to be heated as well and pushed back up into the upper levels of your home.

What AFUE measures

The AFUE rating is determined by measuring how much fuel (usually propane or natural gas) is used in heating for an entire year: one season's worth of fuel usage divided by a full year's worth of heating potential. The rating is expressed in a percentage. For example, if a furnace uses 20 units of fuel a year to provide 200 units of heat (100% efficiency), it has an AFUE rating of 90%. You can find AFUE ratings on labels attached to furnaces and water heaters.

Heaters age

The older your heater gets, the less efficient it becomes and the more likely it will have a breakdown that turns into a costly home repair bill. If you have purchased a new home and are unsure of the age of your actual heater, it's a good idea to check the data plate that should be located on the side of your furnace or hot water tank. The serial number will tell you how old your heater is and what size capacity it was made for.

If you are dealing with an older unit, it may not be able to handle the work needed to keep up with your household demands. You may also find that you need to run your unit longer or at higher temperatures in order to keep your home adequately heated, which can add up to a huge expense over time.

Energy bill comparison

There are a number of different ways to check whether your heater is energy efficient. The first way is to compare your energy bill for the time period during which you used a heater and the time period when you did not use any heater. If the bill is less in the second time period, then your heater is definitely not energy efficient.

If you want to know if your heater is all that it could be, try out the tips we outlined above. They're easy tests to conduct, so you don't have to be a pro to give them a go—but they'll help you get the most from your heater.

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