Did you know that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? This is the reason 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 combusting natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace wastes 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 greatly reduce emissions, save homeowners money and promote 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 three decades, 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 convert nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? Currently, next to nothing, 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 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 kind of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the extent of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also requires less natural gas to generate the same volume of heat 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.
The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the unit may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
Typically, condensing furnaces type of system is a lot more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, saving you money in the long run.
Many 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 Nonstop?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t operate all the time. Rather, 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 demanded to maintain your preferred temperature level, the furnace will shift 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 operates at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the preferred temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to meet demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain improved energy efficiency and balanced temperatures all across 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 won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace runs at limited capacity in order to retain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the unit shifts to its high stage and runs at full capacity. As such, two-stage furnaces are powerful enough to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.
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 temperature within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at a variety of speeds in order to maintain 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. As a result, 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 additional warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Olde Towne Heating & Air Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Olde Towne Heating & Air experts are here to help with a no-cost, 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 to get started today!