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 essential to have 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 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 greatly reduce emissions, save customers money and encourage sustainability.
This proposal is projected to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Cut 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 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? As of now, very little, as the proposed rule won'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 capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the extent of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also requires less natural gas to produce 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. Usually, a condensing furnace should last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the equipment may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More
For the most part, condensing furnaces are more expensive than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the added components necessary to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the bonus energy savings can often offset the cost of purchase. So over time, it may be worth investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: What They Are and How They Work
A variable-speed furnace can more precisely alter its fan speed to better meet the heating needs of your home. It runs at a slower speed until it notices a drop in temperature and then ramps up to produce more heat. This [precise fan is significantly more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a handful 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 operate all the time. Instead, 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 demanded to maintain your preferred 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
As the name suggests, a furnace with two levels of operating (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. During the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature in your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to meet demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience greater energy efficiency and balanced temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are very 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 desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As a result, two-stage furnaces are proven to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.
Differences Between Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace works at reduced capacity to help uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can run at several speeds in order to maintain a more precise 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 fan speed and operate either at full power or not at all. As a result, the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired level of comfort within your 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 switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc. Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc. professionals are here to help with a free, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the best solution. Contact us at to get started today!