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 so important to have 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 measures how effective your furnace is at combusting natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace wastes about 20% of the fuel it uses while generating heat.
In 2022, the Biden Administration proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially decrease emissions, save customers money and stimulate sustainability.
This proposal is projected 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 yearly.
Starting in 2029, the proposed 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.
So what does all of this mean for your existing furnace in 2023? As of now, very little, as the proposed rule won't go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and doesn’t affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if you are considering furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are now 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 trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the amount of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions. It also requires less natural gas to produce the same volume 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 that the former uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other does not.
The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace should last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, it may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
Typically, condensing furnaces type of system is significantly more efficient than standard, single-speed 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 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 Nonstop?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds based on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it needs to reach 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. In the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity to help 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 greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy improved energy efficiency and stable temperatures everywhere in 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 won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace performs at diminished capacity in order to retain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit switches 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.
Contrasting 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 as a way to sustain a desired temperature 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 a variety of speeds in order to sustain a comfortable temperature at home. As such, variable-speed furnaces offer greater savings on your utility bills .
Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces
One-stage furnaces have a single stage of operation and operate either at full power or not at all. In other words, the furnace is always running 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 a greater demand for warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Woody's Sudden Service Today
It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why Woody's Sudden Service experts are here to help with a free, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the best solution. Contact us at to get started today!