Would you believe more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are associated to heating and cooling? That is the reason why it’s critical to have an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Furnace efficiency standards were last updated to 80 AFUE in 2015. AFUE, or annualized fuel utilization efficiency, measures how effective your furnace is at turning natural gas into heat. An 80 AFUE rating means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while generating heat.
In 2022, the U.S. government proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly reduce emissions, save consumers money and promote sustainability.
This solution is expected to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Cut down on 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 each year.
Starting in 2029, the recommended rule would require all new gas furnaces to be 95 AFUE. This means furnaces would change nearly all the gas they use into heat.
So, what does all of this mean for your existing furnace in 2023? As of now, not much, 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’re going to be needing furnace replacement in Cambridge soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already available. See how these furnaces can save dollars each month off your 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 collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the volume of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also will take less natural gas to generate the same amount of heat compared 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 gather any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter 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, it may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment
Oftentimes, condensing furnaces are more pricey than non-condensing furnaces. This is the result of their increased efficiency and the extra parts needed to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. The extra energy savings can frequently counterbalance the expense of purchase, however, so over time, it may be worth investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: What Are They and How Do They Operate
A variable-speed furnace can adjust its fan speed dependent on the heating needs of your [[location]] home. It performs at a slower speed until it senses a temperature decrease and then fires up to produce more heat. This type of system is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only utilizes the amount of energy required to heat your home, and thus, saves you money on your utility bill.
Many of the 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 be 90 AFUE or higher.
Do Variable-Speed Furnaces Run Continuously?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your [[location]] home and the amount of energy it takes to keep that temperature.
When too much energy is necessary to maintain your chosen temperature level, the furnace will shift up to a higher speed to handle the demand. When this happens, you can expect more efficient heating and cooling in your home while also offering 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 (low or high) is called a two-stage furnace. On the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity to help maintain a chosen temperature within your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will run full throttle to satisfy demands for increased warmth or cooling. With a two-stage furnace, you can achieve much better energy efficiency and steady temperatures throughout your home.
While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate All the Time?
A two-stage furnace won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace performs at reduced capacity in order to sustain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the unit will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs as it is not operating continually.
Comparing Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace works at reduced capacity as a way to uphold a desired temperature within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces can run at a variety of speeds in order to uphold a precise temperature within your home. Through this ability it can also help reduce energy costs as it is not constantly running on full power like many two-stage furnaces are required to do.
Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces
One-stage furnaces have a single stage of operation and operate either at full capacity or not at all. As a result, the furnace will always run in order to maintain a desired comfort level 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 reduced capacity in order to maintain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Pliescott HVAC Services LLC Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why our Pliescott HVAC Services LLC specialists are here to help with a free, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget, and then we’ll help you find the best solution. Connect with us at 410-228-4822 to get started today!