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Heater Replacement 101: What Is AFUE?

If it’s time to upgrade your existing heater, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. You want your new heater to perform for many years, and that’s a decision that takes some thought. One of the things you will have to decide is what level of efficiency you want in your new system. 

Mission AC & Plumbing doesn’t expect all homeowners to know every term in the industry. As the premier Houston heater installation service, we know that knowledge can be more powerful than action. That’s why we’re here to break down what efficiency means for your heater and how you can be well informed to choose a heating system. Let’s start with AFUE — what does it mean?

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)

Heater efficiency basically means the amount of fuel or energy a heating system has to use in order to produce the heat you desire from it. The less energy a system has to use, the more efficient it is.

In 1975, the Department of Energy (DOE) finally created a standardized way to rate heating systems for efficiency. The AFUE is a rating that every manufactured heater or furnace will have. This makes it far easier to compare different systems and get an accurate understanding of their fuel usage. This also allows the DOE to enforce a minimum efficiency rating across the board. As of today, the minimum AFUE rating is set at 78%. 

What Affects The Efficiency You Need In Your Home?

Every home is different. That’s why there is not really a “most efficient furnace”. The best way to determine what efficiency you need for your home is by taking into account the following factors:


First of all, we live in Houston. While you may consider investing in a more efficient HVAC system to ensure better cooling in the summer, our heating needs are usually not as desperate. Make sure you know what you need out of your heating system according to the weather and climate you live in. Houston has outrageous humidity, so that might be a more important factor for you than heating power alone.


Heaters and furnaces that can operate at high efficiency will naturally cost more upfront. They can do their jobs better, so it makes sense that they will be more expensive. This is still a great way to narrow down the unit that you can afford and will also work for your home. 

Indoor Air Quality Needs

Another important thing to remember is that your heater is also responsible for the quality of your air. If you have members in your household that have severe seasonal allergies or respiratory vulnerability, you may need to consider a high-efficiency unit. These units are designed with stronger filters that can keep the air in your home cleaner.

Need More Heater Replacement Help?

Luckily, Mission AC & Plumbing has seen it all when it comes to heater installations. Trust us to use our passion and determination to find the system that works best for you. Give us a call today for more information or to start a service request!

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