Would you believe that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are from 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 calculates how effective your furnace is at natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace will waste 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 substantially lower emissions, save customers money and encourage sustainability.
This proposal is anticipated 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 each year.
Starting in 2029, the proposed rule would demand 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? As of now, very little, as the proposed rule won't 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 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 trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This limits the amount of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also involves less natural gas to produce the same rate of heat when compared 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 gather any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other does not.
The life span of a condensing furnace depends 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 you don’t schedule routine maintenance, the equipment may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More
Usually, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, saving you money in the long run.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although some 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. Instead, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it uses to maintain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is required to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will increase 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
A heating system with two settings of operating - high and low - is called a two-stage furnace. On the low stage, the furnace runs 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 function at peak capacity to meet demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain enhanced energy efficiency and balanced temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are extremely efficient, not all all models 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 performs at limited capacity in order to sustain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the furnace will switch to its high stage and runs at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are powerful enough to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.
Comparing Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace works at reduced capacity as a way to uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can function at a variety of speeds in order to maintain a comfortable 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 motor and operate either at full power or not at all. This translates to higher energy bills because the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired temperature within your home.
Conversely, two-stage furnaces 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 desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Precision Mechanical Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Precision Mechanical experts are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Contact us at to get started today!