Would you believe that more than 50% of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s so important to have an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Furnace efficiency standards were last modified to an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80% in 2015. This rating system illustrates how effective your furnace is at natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace wastes about 20% of the fuel it uses while generating heat.
In 2022, the Biden Administration recommended new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly decrease emissions, save money and promote sustainability.
These revised standards are anticipated to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Lower carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over the next 25 - 30 years, 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 turn nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? Currently, next to nothing, as the proposed rule won't go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and doesn’t affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if you are considering furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already available. Learn how these furnaces can save you money on your utility bills.
Guide to Condensing Furnaces
How Condensing Furnaces Work
A condensing furnace is a kind of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the amount of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also requires less natural gas to generate the same volume of heat when compared 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 latter does not.
Expected Longevity of a Condensing Furnace
The life span of a condensing furnace depends on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with sufficient 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 enhanced precision is a lot more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy necessary to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a few are available in non-condensing models with lower AFUE ratings. If a manufacturer wants a furnace to be classified as a condensing furnace, it must offer an AFUE rating of 90% or higher.
Do Variable-Speed Furnaces Run All the Time?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t operate all the time. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it requires to maintain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is required to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will shift to a higher speed to manage the higher demand. This allows for more efficient heating in your home while also providing quieter operation.
Guide to Two-Stage Furnaces
Two-Stage Furnaces: What They Are and How They Work
As the name suggests, a furnace with two levels of operating (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. In the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the chosen temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience greater energy efficiency and comfortable temperatures throughout your home.
While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally efficient, not all all models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Function All the Time?
A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace performs at reduced capacity in order to sustain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the furnace shifts to its high stage and operates 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 functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace performs at reduced capacity as a way to maintain a desired temperature within your home. When more warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can operate at a variety of speeds in order to sustain a desired temperature more consistently 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 fan speed and operate either at full power or not at all. Consequently, the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired level of comfort at home.
Two-stage furnaces, on the other hand, 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 more warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Controlled Comfort HVAC Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Controlled Comfort HVAC experts are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the best solution. Call us at to get started today!