Did you know that more than 50% of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? This is the reason 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 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 producing heat.
In 2022, the Biden Administration devised new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially decrease emissions, save consumers money and encourage sustainability.
This proposal 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 the next 25 - 30 years, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit annually.
Starting in 2029, the proposed rule would demand all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would turn nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? As of now, 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 now available. Learn how these furnaces can lower your monthly energy bills.
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 amount of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also involves less natural gas to produce the same volume of heat in comparison to other types of furnaces.
How Condensing Furnaces Differ from Non-Condensing Furnaces
The main 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 other does not.
The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with appropriate 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
Generally, condensing furnaces are more cost most to install than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the extra components required to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the additional energy savings can help recoup the cost of purchase. So ultimately, it may be worthwhile investing in a condensing furnace.
Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces
Variable-Speed Furnaces: What Are They and How Do They Work?
A variable-speed furnace can vary its fan speed to better meet the heating requirements of your home. It runs at a slower speed until it detects a drop in temperature and then speeds up to produce more heat. This [precise fan is a lot more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy required 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 All the Time?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t need to stay on all the time. Instead, 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 demanded to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to handle the 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
As the name suggests, a furnace with two levels of operating (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. In the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity to help maintain the chosen 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 enjoy greater energy efficiency and steady temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are very efficient, not all all types are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Function All the Time?
A two-stage furnace won’t run all the time. 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 a greater demand for energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the furnace switches to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As a result, two-stage furnaces are proven 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 performs at reduced capacity in order to uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can operate at multiple speeds in order to sustain a desired temperature more consistently at home. With more options for temperature settings, you also have more flexibility for heating you home and can enjoy greater savings on energy 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.
Two-stage furnaces, by comparison, 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 additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning Today
Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Service Max Heating & Air Conditioning 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 ideal solution. Contact us at to get started today!