95% vs. 80% AFUE Furnace: How Much Money Can You Expect to Save?

If you’re looking to replace your furnace, you probably have one that’s 10+ years old and has an efficiency rating of 60% AFUE or worse.

Upgrading to an 80% AFUE furnace can save you about $726/year*. That’s $10,890 over its 15-year expected lifespan.

A 95% AFUE furnace can save you $1050/year* or $16,050 over 15 years.

*We got these numbers by using this calculator. The calculator is based on upgrading from a 60% AFUE furnace and uses average heating costs for Minnesota homeowners, as compiled by energy.gov.  

Of course, these are just estimates. Several other important factors will also affect your new furnace’s energy efficiency, including:
Getting the right size furnace
Quality of the installation
How much your air ducts leak

Let’s look at each of these in more detail to see how they can affect your new furnace’s energy efficiency savings.

Getting the right size furnace

Furnace “size” is the amount of heat it can put out at once, not the physical size of the furnace. 

And contrary to what most homeowners think, bigger isn’t always better. If you get a furnace that’s too large, it’ll turn on and off for short periods of time. This is called short cycling and will run up your energy bills.

So how do you get the right size furnace? A furnace installer should perform a Manual J Heat Load Calculation. Think of this calculation like measuring your foot to find the right shoe size—but with way more numbers involved.

Some furnace installers will skip this important step and use a rule of thumb. Don’t trust it! This is just one of the reasons getting a good installer is so important...

Quality of the furnace installation

A poorly installed furnace will not only be inefficient, but also won’t provide the level of comfort you expect. 

Think about painting your home. You could purchase the best, top of the line paint. But if it’s not applied correctly, it can peel just days later. It’s the same way with your furnace.

An installer that doesn’t know what they’re doing can destroy a high-end furnace’s energy efficiency. In fact, a furnace with a lower AFUE that’s installed correctly will be more energy efficient than a poorly installed but high-AFUE furnace.

So how do you find a good installer? Here’s our guide to finding one in Minnesota.

How much your air ducts leak

In a typical house, about 20% to 30% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts, according to ENERGY STAR.

If your ducts are leaking that seriously, you should get them fixed first (or at the same time). Otherwise, you’ll just be more efficiently heating your attic or crawlspace.

Further reading:

Want a free estimate? Contact One Hour Heating today. We serve Hastings, MN and the surrounding cities, including Apple Valley, Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Woodbury, Lakeville, Rosemount and Stillwater. 


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