Where you aware that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s essential 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 natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace loses about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.
In 2022, the Biden Administration proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly decrease emissions, save consumers money and encourage sustainability.
This proposal is estimated to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Reduce carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over 30 years, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit yearly.
Starting in 2029, the proposed rule would demand 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, next to nothing, as the proposed rule will not go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and will not affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if your furnace is nearing the end of its life and a replacement is needed in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and available. Find out how these furnaces can help you save on energy bills now.
Guide to Condensing Furnaces
How Condensing Furnaces Work
A condensing furnace is a style of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This limits the quantity of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions. It also demands less natural gas to create the same amount of heat when comparing one 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 collect 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 is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the equipment may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
For the most part, condensing furnaces are more expensive than non-condensing furnaces. This is due to their increased efficiency and the extra features needed to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the added energy savings can frequently recoup the price of purchase. So in the long run, it may be worthwhile investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: What You Need to Know
A variable-speed furnace can fine-tune its fan speed based on the heating needs of your home. It starts at a slower speed until it notices a drop in temperature and then ramps up to supply more heat. This [precise fan is significantly more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy necessary to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.
Many 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 Nonstop?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Rather, 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 needed to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed in order to keep up with 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
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 performs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the preferred temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to meet demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience greater energy efficiency and consistent temperatures throughout your home.
While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally efficient, not all all models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Run All the Time?
A two-stage furnace won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at limited capacity in order to retain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the furnace switches to its high stage and operates at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are powerful enough to help reduce energy costs without operating constantly.
Contrasting 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 in order to sustain a desired level of comfort within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can function at several speeds in order to keep a more precise 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 capacity or not at all. This translates to higher energy bills because the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired comfort level within your home.
Two-stage furnaces, by comparison, 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 additional warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC experts 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 right solution. Contact us at to get started today!