Did you know that more than half of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s essential to secure an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Furnace efficiency standards were last updated 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 loses about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.

In 2022, President Biden devised new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly reduce emissions, save consumers money and encourage sustainability.

The updated standards are expected to:

  • Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
  • Cut 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 yearly.

Starting in 2029, the updated rule would mandate all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would combust nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.

Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? For the time being, not much, as the proposed rule will not 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 ready and 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 capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the quantity of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also will take less natural gas to create the same rate 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 gather 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 should last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, the equipment may not last as long.

Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More

Generally, condensing furnaces type of system is significantly more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy required 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 Constantly?

A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your Ellsworth home as well as the amount of energy it needs to maintain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to handle the demand. Doing this will ensure 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 performs at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the chosen 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 steady temperatures everywhere in your home.

While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally efficient, not all all models are condensing furnaces.

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate 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 sustain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the unit switches to its high stage and operates at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are proven to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.

Contrasting Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces

Two-stage furnaces have two stages of functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity to help uphold a desired temperature within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at a variety of 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 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.

Two-stage furnaces, by comparison, have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at lower capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC experts are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Get in touch with us at 715-318-6728 to get started today!