Did you know that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s so important to maintain 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 calculates 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 creating heat.
In 2022, the U.S. government proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly lower emissions, save consumers money and stimulate sustainability.
The updated standards are expected 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 annually.
Starting in 2029, the proposed 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.
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 wouldn’t go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and will 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. Learn how these furnaces can lower your monthly energy 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 quantity of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also requires less natural gas to generate the same volume of heat when comparing one to other types of furnaces.
How Condensing Furnaces Differ from Non-Condensing Furnaces
The main difference between a condensing furnace and a non-condensing furnace is condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to collect any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other does not.
The life span of a condensing furnace is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the unit may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
For the most part, condensing furnaces type of system is significantly more efficient than standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, which subsequently saves money on your utility bills.
Many variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a few 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 Constantly?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it needs to reach that temperature.
When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to manage the higher demand. Precise fan speeds offer 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. During the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the preferred temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to meet demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy improved energy efficiency and steady temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally efficient, not all all types are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Run All the Time?
A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to retain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the heating system will switch to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As a result, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.
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 sustain a desired temperature within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can function at multiple speeds in order to uphold a comfortable temperature at home. With more options for temperature settings, you also have more flexibility for heating you home and can enjoy greater savings on energy bills.
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. This means that the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired comfort level at home.
Two-stage furnaces, on the other hand, have two stages of operation, low and high. While in 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 needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with US Air Heating and Cooling Today
It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why US Air Heating and Cooling professionals are here to help with a free, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Contact us at to get started today!