Did you know that more than 50% 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 updated to an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80% in 2015. This rating system illustrates how effective your furnace is at combusting natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace loses about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.
In 2022, the U.S. government revealed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly lower emissions, save money and promote sustainability.
This proposal is estimated to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Lower 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 demand 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 wouldn’t go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and doesn’t affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if you need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and 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 style of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the amount of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also involves less natural gas to create the same amount 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 condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to collect any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.
How Long Condensing Furnaces Last
The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, the unit may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.
Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More
Typically, condensing furnaces type of system is a lot more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy needed 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. 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 run all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it uses to sustain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is needed to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will shift to a higher speed to manage the higher 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
A two-stage furnace is a type of heating system that utilizes two different stages of operation — high and low. On the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity to help maintain the desired temperature for 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 maintain greater energy efficiency and consistent temperatures throughout 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 should not run constantly. In the low stage of operation, the furnace performs at diminished capacity in order to maintain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit will switch to its high stage and runs at full capacity. As such, two-stage furnaces are able 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 to help sustain a desired temperature within your home. When more warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can operate at several speeds in order to keep a desired temperature more consistently at home. Such precise functionality can also help reduce energy costs, as it is not constantly running on full power like many two-stage furnaces do.
Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces
One-stage furnaces have a single stage motor and operate either at full capacity or not at all. This translates to higher energy bills because the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired comfort level at home.
Conversely, two-stage furnaces 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 additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with James Heating & A/C, Inc Today
Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why James Heating & A/C, Inc 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 ideal solution. Contact us at to get started today!