Did you know that more than half of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? This is 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 turning natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace loses about 20% of the fuel it uses while generating heat.
In 2022, the U.S. government revealed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially reduce emissions, save customers money and stimulate sustainability.
These revised 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 mandate all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would turn nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
So what does all of this mean for your existing furnace in 2023? As of now, not much, as the proposed rule won't go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and does not affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if your furnace is nearing the end of its life and a replacement is needed 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 capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the quantity of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also demands less natural gas to create the same amount 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 condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to collect 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 depends on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, the equipment may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive
For the most part, condensing furnaces are more expensive than non-condensing furnaces. This is on account of their increased efficiency and the additional features necessary to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the added energy savings can often recoup the price of purchase. So ultimately, it may be worthwhile investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: What They Are and How They Work
A variable-speed furnace can adjust its fan speed to better meet the heating requirements of your home. It runs at a slower speed until it notices a drop in temperature and then speeds up to generate more heat. This [precise fan is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, which subsequently saves money on your utility bills.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a few 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 run all the time. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds based on the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it uses to maintain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your preferred temperature level, the furnace will switch 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
As the name suggests, a furnace with two levels of operating (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. On the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity to help maintain the preferred temperature in your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to satisfy demands for more heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain greater energy efficiency and balanced temperatures all across your home.
While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all all types are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Run 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 sustain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the heating system shifts to its high stage and operates at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are proven to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.
Comparing Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace performs at reduced capacity in order to uphold a desired temperature within your home. When more warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at several speeds in order to sustain a more precise 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 fan speed and operate either at full capacity or not at all. Consequently, the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired comfort level at home.
Two-stage furnaces, on the other hand, 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 additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with County Line Mechanical LLC Today
It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why County Line Mechanical LLC professionals 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 ideal solution. Call us at to get started today!