Did you know that more than half of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s critical to maintain 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 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 creating heat.
In 2022, the U.S. government devised new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially lower emissions, save consumers money and encourage sustainability.
The updated standards are projected to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Reduce 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 convert 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 you need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are now 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 type of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This limits the extent of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also involves less natural gas to produce the same rate 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 other 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 proper maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, it may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
Generally, condensing furnaces are more expensive than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the extra components required to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the added energy savings can frequently recoup the cost of purchase. So ultimately, it may be worthwhile investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: What Are They and How Do They Work?
A variable-speed furnace can adjust its fan speed to minimize the energy necessary to satisfy the heating needs of your home. It starts at a slower speed until it detects a drop in temperature and then speeds up to generate more heat. This [precise fan is significantly more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.
Most 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 All the Time?
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 requires to sustain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed in order to keep up with demand. Precise fan speeds offer 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. In the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity to help maintain the chosen temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy enhanced energy efficiency and stable temperatures all across your home.
While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all all models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate All the Time?
A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace runs at limited capacity in order to maintain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the heating system switches to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As a result, two-stage furnaces are powerful enough to help reduce energy costs without operating constantly.
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 to help sustain a desired level of comfort within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at a variety of speeds in order to uphold a comfortable temperature at home. As such, variable-speed furnaces offer greater savings on your utility 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.
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 additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Custom Air Systems Inc Today
It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why Custom Air Systems Inc experts are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the best solution. Call us at to get started today!