Would you believe that more than 50% of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? This is the reason why it’s so important to secure an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Furnace efficiency standards were last revised to an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80% in 2015. This rating system measures how effective your furnace is at combusting natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace wastes about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.
In 2022, the U.S. government revealed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially decrease emissions, save homeowners money and stimulate sustainability.
These revised standards are estimated to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Lower carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over three decades, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit each year.
Starting in 2029, the updated rule would require all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would combust nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to my existing furnace"? As of now, not much, as the proposed rule will not go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and does not affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if you are considering furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and available. Find out how these furnaces can save you money on your utility bills.
Guide to Condensing Furnaces
How Condensing Furnaces Work
A condensing furnace is a type of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This limits the amount of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also demands less natural gas to generate the same amount of heat in comparison to other types of furnaces.
How Condensing Furnaces Differ from Non-Condensing Furnaces
The biggest difference between a condensing furnace and a non-condensing furnace is that the former uses a secondary heat exchanger to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other does not.
How Long Condensing Furnaces Last
The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, the equipment may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment
For the most part, condensing furnaces type of system is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a handful are available in non-condensing models with lower AFUE ratings. In order for a furnace to be classified as a condensing furnace, it must offer an AFUE rating of 90% or higher.
Do Variable-Speed Furnaces Run Nonstop?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds based on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it needs to sustain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is required to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to manage the higher demand. This allows for more efficient heating in your home while also offering quieter operation.
Guide to Two-Stage Furnaces
Two-Stage Furnaces: What They Are and How They Work
A two-stage furnace is a type of heating system that utilizes two different stages of operation — high and low. In the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity to help maintain the preferred temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy enhanced energy efficiency and stable temperatures all across your home.
While two-stage furnaces are extremely efficient, not all all types are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Function All the Time?
A two-stage furnace won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at diminished capacity in order to maintain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the unit will switch to its high stage and runs at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating constantly.
Comparing Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity to help sustain a desired temperature within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at several speeds in order to maintain a more precise temperature at home. Such precise functionality can also help reduce energy costs, as it is not constantly running on full power like many two-stage furnaces do.
Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces
One-stage furnaces have a single stage of operation and operate either at full power or not at all. Consequently, the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired temperature within your home.
Conversely, two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at [lower|reduced} capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling specialists are here to help with a free, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Call us at to get started today!