In the 1970s there was a petroleum shortage due to world events. It awakened many industries that depended on petroleum products. This included the oil furnace – also known as boiler – manufacturers, whose technology has strived to engineer more efficient heating units ever since. The advent of better burners was a huge step to improve the efficiency of the home and commercial oil furnaces. This lowered utility bills and consumed less oil. Over the past few decades, the oil furnace fire has continually become more efficient. Many homeowners and companies are considering the latest high-efficiency oil furnace systems as a cheap way to heat a large volume of space during the cold weather. This article is focused on the efficiency of the burning system inside the furnace, the fuel itself is not taken into account here. For efficiency gains through recycling, please refer to the waste oil furnace.

The high-static burner

Today, the new high-efficiency oil furnace has gotten a bit of an upgrade with what is called a high-static burner. It now has a high-static burner, which produces, even more, heating from the fire. These new burners are a vast improvement. Some companies have engineered condensing furnaces that cool the combusted gases sufficiently to recapture the heat that is lost in the form of water vapor. Some even have a newer technology that permits the high-efficiency oil furnace to heat water and the air at the same time.

A Chimney-less oil furnace

In the past, the oil furnace like any combustion furnace required a chimney, so that the exhaust could be vented to the outside. In the extreme cold of the Canadian winter, there is now a high-efficiency oil furnace that needs no chimney at all and is nearly 100% efficient. It actually has an oil-fired system that will vent the furnace smoke through a small tube on the roof or even a side wall of the home or business.

What is an AFUE?

An oil furnace must use at least 86% of the fuel as energy for the classification of “high efficiency”. This means only 14% or less is exhaust with combustion. Its rating is, therefore, AFUE 86%. AFUE is an acronym for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, which is a standard unit of measurement worldwide. The more energy converted to heat, the higher the AFUE rating.

Condensing and non-condensing oil furnaces

In today’s homes, the high-efficiency oil furnaces are of two types, condensing or non-condensing. It depends on how efficiently the furnace extracts heat from the exhaust. If any furnace is above about 88% it is called a condensing high-efficiency oil furnace due to the water vapor formed. Ordinarily, this type has a condensate pump to remove any accumulated water. The condensing furnace can save your heating bill by as much as 35% from an older model, which was typically around 60% AFUE.


Today’s high-efficiency oil furnace is a remarkable improvement over any model prior to 2010 and was designed with both the user and the environment in mind. It is so energy efficient that, with some as high as 98%, it can save you from 25% to 35% on your heating bill. It is cheap to maintain and often has a lifetime warranty for the basic parts. There are many fine high-efficiency oil furnace systems offered today, so shop around for the one that suits your place before the snow starts falling again. But keep in mind that in order to keep the efficiency at it’s the highest level, annual maintenance will be required. If your bills are getting higher, you might be in need of some oil furnace repair. To be sure about the issue, have a look at the basics of oil furnace troubleshooting.

Recommended Posts