Did you know that more than half of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s so important to have an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Furnace efficiency standards were last modified to an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80% in 2015. This rating system calculates how effective your furnace is at turning 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, the U.S. government proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially decrease emissions, save money and encourage sustainability.
The updated standards are expected 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 annually.
Starting in 2029, the proposed rule would require 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"? For the time being, very little, as the proposed rule will not go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and does 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 already available. Find out how these furnaces can save you money on your utility 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 capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This limits the amount of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also requires less natural gas to generate the same amount of heat when comparing one to other types of furnaces.
How Condensing Furnaces Differ from Non-Condensing Furnaces
The primary difference between a condensing furnace and a non-condensing furnace is condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.
How Long Condensing Furnaces Last
The life span of a condensing furnace depends on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace is likely to 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 Are More Expensive
For the most part, condensing furnaces are more require a large upfront cost than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the additional hardware necessary to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the added energy savings can often recoup the cost of purchase. So ultimately, it may be worth investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: What They Are and How They Work
A variable-speed furnace can vary its fan speed based on the heating requirements of your home. It starts at a slower speed until it senses a drop in temperature and then ramps up to generate more heat. This [precise fan is a lot more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a handful are available in non-condensing models with lower AFUE ratings. If a manufacturer wants a furnace to be classified as a condensing furnace, it must offer an AFUE rating of 90% or higher.
Do Variable-Speed Furnaces Run Constantly?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds according to 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 increase to a higher speed in order to keep up with 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. During the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the chosen temperature in 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 enjoy improved energy efficiency and balanced temperatures all across your home.
While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally 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 performs at reduced capacity in order to retain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit shifts to its high stage and operates at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are proven 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 works at reduced capacity to help uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can function at multiple 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 capacity or not at all. This means that the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired comfort level at home.
Two-stage furnaces, by comparison, 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 full capacity.
Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Pliescott HVAC Services LLC Today
Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Pliescott HVAC Services LLC specialists are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Call us at to get started today!