Did you know that more than 50% of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s essential to secure 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 illustrates how effective your furnace is at converting 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 U.S. government proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially reduce emissions, save customers money and encourage sustainability.
This proposal is 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 three decades, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit each year.
Starting in 2029, the proposed rule would mandate all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would combust nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? Currently, very little, 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 already available. Find out 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 capture 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 create 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 capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.
How Long Condensing Furnaces Last
The life span of a condensing furnace is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace should last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the unit may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.
Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More
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, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.
Many 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 All the Time?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t need to stay on all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it needs to reach that temperature.
When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will increase to a higher speed to manage the higher demand. Doing this will ensure 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. During the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to meet demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy improved energy efficiency and consistent temperatures all across your home.
While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally efficient, not all all models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Run 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 sustain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit shifts to its high stage and runs at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are powerful enough to help reduce energy costs without operating constantly.
Comparing Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace works at reduced capacity in order to uphold a desired temperature within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at several speeds in order to keep 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 motor and operate either at full capacity or not at all. This translates to higher energy bills because the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired comfort level at home.
Two-stage furnaces, by comparison, 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 change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Northern Comfort Inc Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Northern Comfort Inc professionals are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the best solution. Get in touch with us at to get started today!