Would you believe that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? This is the reason why it’s critical 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 calculates how effective your furnace is at turning natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while creating heat.

In 2022, the Biden Administration revealed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly decrease emissions, save customers money and stimulate sustainability.

These revised standards are projected to:

  • Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
  • Reduce carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over 30 years, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit yearly.

Starting in 2029, the proposed 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.

With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to my existing furnace"? For the time being, very little, 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 need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already available. Learn how these furnaces can save you money on your utility 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 collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the amount of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions. It also requires less natural gas to create 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 condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to collect any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.

How Long Condensing Furnaces Last

The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, the equipment may not last as long.

Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More

For the most part, condensing furnaces type of system is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.

The majority of 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 operate all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your Dundas and Northfield home as well as the amount of energy it requires to maintain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will increase to a higher speed in order to keep up with demand. Precise fan speeds offer 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. When set to the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the preferred temperature in 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 experience enhanced energy efficiency and stable temperatures throughout your home.

While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all all models 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 limited capacity in order to retain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the furnace switches to its high stage and runs at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are proven 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 level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for 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 a variety of speeds in order to uphold a comfortable temperature 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 fan speed and operate either at full power or not at all. Consequently, the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired level of comfort at home.

Two-stage furnaces, by comparison, have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Better Air Today

It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why Better Air professionals are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the best solution. Contact us at 507-663-1208 to get started today!