Would you believe that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s essential to secure 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 measures how effective your furnace is at turning natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while creating heat.
In 2022, the Biden Administration revealed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially lower emissions, save money and promote sustainability.
The updated standards are expected 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 proposed rule would mandate 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? As of now, not much, 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 you are considering furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and available. Learn how these furnaces can save you money on your utility 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 trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This limits the amount of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also requires less natural gas to generate the same amount of heat when 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 capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.
The life span of a condensing furnace is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the unit may not last as long.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
Generally, condensing furnaces are more require a large upfront cost than non-condensing furnaces. This is on account of their increased efficiency and the extra features necessary to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the bonus energy savings can frequently cover the price of purchase. So over time, 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 more precisely alter its fan speed to minimize the energy necessary to satisfy the heating requirements of your home. It starts at a slower speed until it detects a drop in temperature and then speeds up to produce 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, which subsequently saves money on your utility bills.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a few 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 Nonstop?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t need to stay on all the time. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds based on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it requires to sustain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your preferred temperature level, the furnace will shift to a higher speed to handle the demand. This allows for more efficient heating in your home while also providing 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 (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. On the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity to help maintain the preferred temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to satisfy demands for more heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience greater energy efficiency and consistent temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all all types 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 reduced capacity in order to retain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit shifts to its high stage and runs at full capacity. As such, two-stage furnaces are proven to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.
Contrasting Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity as a way to sustain a desired level of comfort 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 run at several speeds in order to sustain 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 motor and operate either at full power or not at all. In other words, 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 needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Farris Heating & Air Today
It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why Farris Heating & Air specialists are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Call us at to get started today!