Did you know that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s critical to secure 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 generating heat.
In 2022, President Biden revealed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly reduce emissions, save consumers money and encourage sustainability.
These revised standards are anticipated to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Cut 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 annually.
Starting in 2029, the updated rule would require all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would turn nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to 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. Learn how these furnaces can lower your monthly energy bills.
Guide to Condensing Furnaces
How Condensing Furnaces Work
A condensing furnace is a style 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, improves energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also will take less natural gas to create the same volume of heat when comparing one 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 that the former uses a secondary heat exchanger to capture 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 depends on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, the unit may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.
Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment
Usually, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is much more efficient than standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, which subsequently saves money on your utility bills.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although some 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 need to stay on 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 maintain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is needed 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 heating system with two settings of operating - high and low - is called a two-stage furnace. On the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the chosen temperature in your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to satisfy demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience greater energy efficiency and consistent temperatures throughout your home.
While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all all models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Function All the Time?
A two-stage furnace won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace runs at diminished capacity in order to retain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the furnace shifts to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As such, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.
Differences Between Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity as a way to maintain a desired temperature within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over 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 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 of operation 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 level of comfort at home.
Two-stage furnaces, on the other hand, have two stages of operation, low and high. During 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 switch to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces Today
It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces experts are here to help with a free, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Get in touch with us at to get started today!