Would you believe that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s critical to secure an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Furnace efficiency standards were last revised to an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80% in 2015. This rating system illustrates how effective your furnace is at turning natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace loses about 20% of the fuel it uses while generating heat.
In 2022, President Biden revealed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly lower emissions, save customers money and encourage sustainability.
These revised standards are expected to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Lower 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 yearly.
Starting in 2029, the updated rule would mandate all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would turn nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to my existing furnace"? As of now, very little, as the proposed rule wouldn’t 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 now 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 type 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 greenhouse gas emissions. It also will take less natural gas to generate the same rate of heat when compared 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 gather any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other does not.
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 put off scheduled maintenance, it may not last as long.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
Typically, condensing furnaces type of system is a lot more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, which subsequently saves money on your utility bills.
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 Nonstop?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t operate all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it uses to reach that temperature.
When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will increase to a higher speed in order to keep up with 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
As the name suggests, a furnace with two levels of operating (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. In the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the preferred temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to satisfy demands for more 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 models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate All the Time?
A two-stage furnace should not run constantly. In the low stage of operation, the furnace runs at limited capacity in order to sustain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operates at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are proven to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.
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 in order to uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can function 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 of operation and operate either at full power or not at all. This means that the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired comfort level within your 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 shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Pepper AC & Heat Today
It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why Pepper AC & Heat professionals are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Call us at to get started today!