Plumbing and Heating Services in Calgary | Wiehler Mechanical

What is a high-efficiency furnace and is it worth it?

Wiehler team member

Boiler installation


Today’s furnace companies in Calgary sell units with a variety of AFUE ratings.  When choosing your home furnace here in Calgary, one of the most important factors to consider is energy efficiency. A furnace’s Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is a measure, expressed as a percentage, of how efficiently a furnace uses the fuel it burns to produce heat. 

High-efficiency gas furnaces are defined as those with an AFUE rating of at least 90%. Some are rated as high as 98.5%. However, some homeowners have old model furnaces that may have AFUE ratings as low as 60%. This means that only 60% of the fuel going into the furnace becomes heat used to warm your home. The other 40% is simply wasted fuel.  


The Job of a Furnace 


Any furnace you buy is meant to do two things: 

  1. Heat the air in your home. 
  2. Move that heated air throughout your home to where it’s needed. 


What differentiates one furnace from another is how this heat is produced and how it’s distributed. The more efficient your furnace is at these two things, the more economical your heating system is, meaning the fewer dollars required to heat your home. Studies show that as much as 50% of your home’s total energy costs go toward heating. So trading up from an outdated 60% or 70% AFUE furnace to a 90%-98.5% AFUE unit represents a significant saving, especially over the multiple-decade life expectancy of today’s new furnace models. 


Why High-Efficiency Furnaces are Better 


A couple of technological developments in furnace design are responsible for the energy savings high-efficiency furnaces provide:  

  1. These modern furnaces feature two heat exchangers rather than just one. The second exchanger takes the exhaust from the first heat exchanger that traditional furnaces expel (as wasted heat) and turns this compressed gas into additional, useable heat. What little exhaust is left is cool enough to expel via PVC pipe through a wall.
  2.  Sealed combustion, where air required for combustion is pulled from outside rather than using warm air from inside your home. 


Is it Worth it?


The upfront cost of buying a high-efficiency furnace makes sense any way you look at it. Start saving on energy costs from day one and for many years after. Of all the furnace companies in Calgary, Wiehler Plumbing and Heating is rated #1. We’re here to keep your family warm 24 hours a day. 


To learn more about AFUE in Alberta click here