Did you know that more than 50% of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s critical 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 calculates how effective your furnace is at converting natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while creating heat.
In 2022, the U.S. government recommended new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly lower emissions, save money and promote sustainability.
This proposal is expected 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 yearly.
Starting in 2029, the proposed 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? For the time being, next to nothing, 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 need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already available. Find out how these furnaces can lower your monthly energy 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 limits the extent of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also demands less natural gas to create the same amount of heat 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 that the former uses 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 will depend on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, it may not last as long.
Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More
Generally, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is a lot more efficient than standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy necessary to heat your home, saving you money in the long run.
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 Constantly?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t need to stay on all the time. Alternatively, 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 desired temperature level, the furnace will increase 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. In the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity to help maintain the desired temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience enhanced energy efficiency and consistent temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally efficient, not all all types are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate All the Time?
A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at diminished capacity in order to maintain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the furnace shifts to its high stage and operates at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.
Differences Between Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace works at reduced capacity as a way to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home. When more warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can run at several speeds in order to maintain a desired temperature more consistently 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 runs constantly in order to maintain a desired temperature 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 needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Rapids Sheet Metal Works Inc Today
Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Rapids Sheet Metal Works Inc professionals are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Call us at to get started today!