Did you know that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s so important to maintain 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 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 creating heat.
In 2022, President Biden recommended new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly lower emissions, save customers money and promote sustainability.
The updated standards are anticipated to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Cut 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 proposed rule would require all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would combust 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, not much, 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 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 kind of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the quantity of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also will take less natural gas to generate the same amount of heat in comparison 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 capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.
Expected Longevity of a Condensing Furnace
The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with appropriate 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 Require a Higher Investment
Typically, condensing furnaces are more cost most to install than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the extra hardware required to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the bonus energy savings can help cover the price of purchase. So long term, it may be worthwhile investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: What You Need to Know
A variable-speed furnace can adjust its fan speed to better meet the heating preferences of your home. It starts at a slower speed until it detects a drop in temperature and then speeds up to generate more heat. This [precise fan is significantly more efficient than standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, saving you money in the long run.
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 need to stay on all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it uses to sustain 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 providing 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. On the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the desired temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to meet demands for more heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy improved energy efficiency and steady temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally efficient, not all all types are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Function All the Time?
A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace runs at limited capacity in order to maintain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit switches to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As a result, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating constantly.
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 performs at reduced capacity to help sustain a desired temperature within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can run at several speeds in order to uphold a more precise 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 fan speed and operate either at full capacity or not at all. This means that the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home.
Conversely, two-stage furnaces 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 more warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Patterson & Stirling Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Patterson & Stirling specialists 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 right solution. Contact us at to get started today!