Would you believe that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s so important 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 calculates 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 generating heat.

In 2022, the Biden Administration recommended new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly reduce emissions, save consumers money and stimulate 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 the next 25 - 30 years, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit annually.

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

So what does all of this mean for your existing furnace in 2023? 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 your furnace is nearing the end of its life and a replacement is needed in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are now available. Learn how these furnaces can lower your monthly energy bills.

Guide to Condensing Furnaces

How Condensing Furnaces Work

A condensing furnace is a type of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the amount of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions. It also involves less natural gas to generate the same rate 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 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 depends on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace should last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, the equipment may have a significantly shorter life span.

Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment

For the most part, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is much more efficient than conventional 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 handful 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 need to stay on all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds based on the temperature in your Mount Pleasant home as well as the amount of energy it uses to reach that temperature.

When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will increase to a higher speed in order to keep up with demand. This allows for 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 heating system with two settings of operating - high and low - is called a two-stage furnace. When set to the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to satisfy demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy enhanced energy efficiency and consistent temperatures all across your home.

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

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate All the Time?

A two-stage furnace should not run constantly. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at reduced capacity in order to sustain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the furnace shifts to its high stage and runs at full capacity. As a result, 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 performs at reduced capacity in order to sustain a desired temperature within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can operate at a variety of speeds in order to maintain a desired temperature more consistently 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 fan speed and operate either at full capacity or not at all. Consequently, the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired level of comfort 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 more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Olde Towne Heating & Air Today

Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Olde Towne Heating & Air specialists 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 best solution. Call us at 843-485-0967 to get started today!