Would you believe that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? This is the reason why it’s critical 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, President Biden proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly lower emissions, save customers money and promote sustainability.
This proposal is 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 30 years, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit each year.
Starting in 2029, the updated 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.
So what does all of this mean for your existing furnace in 2023? Currently, 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. 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 collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the amount of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also will take less natural gas to produce the same rate 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 condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to gather any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other does not.
How Long Condensing Furnaces Last
The life span of a condensing furnace is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, the unit may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More
For the most part, condensing furnaces are more cost most to install than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the extra features required to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the additional energy savings can frequently cover the price of purchase. So ultimately, it may be more cost efficient to consider 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 fine-tune its fan speed based on the heating requirements of your home. It operates at a slower speed until it notices a drop in temperature and then ramps up to supply more heat. This [precise fan is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, which subsequently saves money on your utility bills.
Most 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 All the Time?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t operate 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 maintain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will shift to a higher speed in order to keep up with demand. Precise fan speeds offer 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 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 in order to maintain the preferred temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to meet demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience improved energy efficiency and stable temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are very 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 maintain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the unit switches to its high stage and runs at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are able 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 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 a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can operate at a variety of speeds in order to keep a comfortable temperature 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. As a result, the furnace is always running 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 a greater demand for warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Allstar Heating & Air Conditioning Today
Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Allstar Heating & Air Conditioning experts are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the best solution. Get in touch with us at to get started today!