When it’s time to purchase a new heating system for your San Diego-area home, energy efficiency is one of the first things that should come to mind. The higher level of efficiency the better your furnace will keep your home comfortably warm without wasting energy ― saving you money in the process.

Heating equipment is rated using AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) which must be displayed on the equipment to allow consumers to easily compare products. AFUE is the ratio of heat generated by a furnace compared to the fuel consumed over an average heating season.

An example would be a furnace with a 90 percent AFUE rating: indicating that 90 percent of the fuel becomes useful heat in your home, while the other 10 percent of heat energy is lost, escaping up the chimney or flue.

In addition, heat lost from your ductwork system is not accounted for in the calculation. The average home leaks approximately 30 percent of the heated air into the attic or crawlspace because the home’s ductwork isn’t properly sealed, insulated and/or well-designed. This is a significant loss and should be addressed when replacing your old equipment with a new high-efficiency furnace.

With older furnaces having efficiency levels between 60 and 72 percent and the addition of leaky ducts in your home, installing a new furnace with new ductwork can save you quite a bit on your monthly utility bills once your new heating system is installed. In addition, this will make your home safer and healthier.

If you want to research a furnace, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website for information about current medium-efficiency furnaces (defined as having an AFUE of 80 to 83 percent) or high-efficiency units (90 to 97 percent AFUE ratio).

Right now there are federal tax credits, local utility rebates and even manufacturer rebates for certain high-efficiency furnaces.

If you have questions about heating system efficiency, contact the local experts at ASI Hastings Heating, Air & Solar. The “White Glove Guys” provide complete HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) services from system design to installation, repairs and maintenance.