Would you believe that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s so important to secure an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Furnace efficiency standards were last modified 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 wastes about 20% of the fuel it uses while generating heat.
In 2022, President Biden devised new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly decrease emissions, save money and encourage sustainability.
The updated standards are estimated 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 annually.
Starting in 2029, the updated 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.
Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? For the time being, not much, as the proposed rule will not go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and will not affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if you need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already 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 type of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the quantity of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also requires less natural gas to create the same rate of heat when 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 condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the other 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 should last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, the unit may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More
Usually, condensing furnaces type of system is significantly more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy necessary to heat your home, which subsequently saves money on your utility bills.
Many variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a few 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 need to stay on all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your Mankato area home as well as the amount of energy it needs to sustain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is required to maintain your preferred 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 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 performs 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 function at peak capacity to satisfy demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain greater energy efficiency and consistent temperatures all across 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 should not run constantly. In the low stage of operation, the furnace runs at diminished capacity in order to maintain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the furnace switches to its high stage and operates at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are powerful enough to help reduce energy costs without operating constantly.
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 in order to uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, 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 sustain a comfortable temperature 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 motor and operate either at full capacity or not at all. This means that the furnace runs constantly 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 capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When more warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Northern Comfort Inc Today
Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Northern Comfort Inc specialists are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Get in touch with us at 507-387-6596 to get started today!