Would you believe that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s essential to secure 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 converting 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 Biden Administration proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially reduce emissions, save homeowners money and stimulate sustainability.
These revised standards are projected to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Reduce carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over 30 years, 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.
Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for 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 already 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 kind of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the extent of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions. It also involves 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 biggest 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 is dependent 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
Usually, 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 some 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 All the Time?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t need to stay on all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it needs to maintain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is demanded 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. When set to the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the preferred temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain greater energy efficiency and balanced temperatures all across your home.
While two-stage furnaces are extremely efficient, not all all types are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Run All the Time?
A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at limited capacity in order to maintain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the unit will switch to its high stage and runs at full capacity. For this reason, 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 functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace performs at reduced capacity to help uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can operate at multiple 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 power or not at all. In other words, the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired temperature 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 peak capacity.
Schedule Your Furnace Installation with JTech Mechanical Today
Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why JTech Mechanical specialists are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Call us at to get started today!