Would you believe that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s essential to maintain 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 natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace wastes about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.
In 2022, President Biden recommended new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly decrease emissions, save homeowners money and encourage sustainability.
The updated standards are expected 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 updated rule would mandate 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, very little, as the proposed rule wouldn’t go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and doesn’t affect furnaces that are already in use.
But if you are considering furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and 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 type of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This limits the amount of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also requires less natural gas to produce the same volume of heat 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 that the former uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.
Expected Longevity of a Condensing Furnace
The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace should last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, it may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More
Generally, condensing furnaces are more expensive than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the added components necessary to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the additional energy savings can frequently cover the cost of purchase. So over time, 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 adjust its fan speed based on the heating preferences of your home. It runs at a slower speed until it detects a drop in temperature and then ramps up to produce more heat. This [precise fan is significantly more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.
Most variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although some 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 run all the time. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds based on the temperature in your Crystal and Twin Cities home as well as the amount of energy it requires to reach that temperature.
When sufficient energy is needed to maintain your preferred temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to manage the higher demand. This allows for 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 heating system with two settings of operating - high and low - is called a two-stage furnace. When set to the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the preferred temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to satisfy demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy greater energy efficiency and comfortable temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are very efficient, not all all models 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 performs at reduced capacity in order to maintain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit 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.
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 as a way to maintain a desired temperature within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at several speeds in order to uphold a more precise 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 motor and operate either at full power or not at all. In other words, 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. While in the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Schedule Your Furnace Installation with GV Heating & Air Today
It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why GV Heating & Air experts are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Get in touch with us at 763-535-2000 to get started today!