Would you believe more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are associated to heating and cooling? That is the reason why it’s critical to have an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Furnace efficiency standards were last updated to 80 AFUE in 2015. AFUE, or annualized fuel utilization efficiency, determines how effective your furnace is at transforming natural gas into heat. An 80 AFUE rating means your furnace will expend about 20% of the fuel it uses while creating heat.
In 2022, the Biden Administration offered new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly decrease emissions, save customers money and encourage sustainability.
This solution is anticipated to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Reduce carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over three decades, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit each year.
Starting in 2029, the recommended rule would mandate all new gas furnaces to be 95 AFUE. This means furnaces would change nearly all the gas they use into heat.
Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? For the time being, nothing, as the proposed rule wouldn’t go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and will not affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if you’re going to be needing furnace replacement in Mankato area soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are now available. Learn how these furnaces can help you save on energy bills now.
Guide to Condensing Furnaces
How Condensing Furnaces Work
A condensing furnace is a kind of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the volume of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also involves less natural gas to produce the same volume of heat 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 the condensing option's use of a secondary heat exchanger to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.
The life span of a condensing furnace varies on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the unit may struggle with performance and ultimately fail earlier than anticipated.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
Generally, condensing furnaces are more pricey than non-condensing furnaces. This is due to their increased efficiency and the extra parts essential to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. The added energy savings can usually balance out the cost of purchase, however, so ultimately, it may be worth investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: What Are They and How Do They Operate
A variable-speed furnace can regulate its fan speed based on the heating needs of your [[location]] home. It runs at a slower speed until it senses a temperature decrease and then increases speed up to supply more heat. This type of system is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only consumes the amount of energy required to heat your home, saving you money in the long run.
Many of the variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although some are available in non-condensing models with lower AFUE ratings. To allow a furnace to be classified as a condensing furnace, it must be 90 AFUE or higher.
Do Variable-Speed Furnaces Run Constantly?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t stay on all the time. In fact, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your [[location]] home and the amount of energy it needs to maintain that temperature.
When too much energy is required to maintain your preferred temperature level, the furnace will increase to a higher speed to handle the demand. This allows for more efficient heating and cooling 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. In the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain a desired temperature inside your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will run at maximum capacity to fulfill demands for greater warmth or cooling. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience enhanced energy efficiency and uniform temperatures in all areas of your home.
While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate All the Time?
A two-stage furnace won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at reduced capacity in order to retain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will flip to its high stage and run at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are proven to help reduce energy costs as it is not operating continuously.
Contrasting 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 to help uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces can run at a variety of speeds in order to maintain a more accurate desired temperature within your home. As such, variable-speed furnaces offer greater savings on your utility bills, because it has more options in terms of functionality.
Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces
One-stage furnaces have a single stage of functioning and operate either at full capacity or not at all. This translates to higher energy bills because the furnace will run constantly in order to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home.
Two-stage furnace, in comparison, have two stages of operation, low and high. Within the the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to maintain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Set Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Northern Comfort Inc Today
Making sense of all the modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why our Northern Comfort Inc experts are here to help with a free, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget, and then we’ll help you find the best solution. Contact us at 507-387-6596 to get started today!