Did you know that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? This is the reason why it’s so important to secure 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 illustrates how effective your furnace is at 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 U.S. government revealed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially lower emissions, save consumers money and stimulate sustainability.
These revised standards are projected to:
- Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
- Lower 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 yearly.
Starting in 2029, the updated 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.
So what does all of this mean for your existing furnace in 2023? Currently, 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 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 style of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the amount of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also involves less natural gas to create the same volume 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 that the former uses 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 equipment may have a significantly shorter life span.
Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment
Usually, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is significantly more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, which subsequently saves money on your utility bills.
The majority of variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although some 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 Nonstop?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your home as well as the amount of energy it requires to sustain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your set 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 two-stage furnace is a type of heating system that utilizes two different stages of operation — high and low. In the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the preferred temperature in your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to satisfy demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy greater energy efficiency and steady temperatures all across your home.
While two-stage furnaces are highly 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 performs at reduced capacity in order to retain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the furnace shifts 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 runs at reduced capacity as a way to uphold a desired level of comfort within your home. When more warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at multiple speeds in order to keep a desired temperature more consistently 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 power or not at all. This translates to higher energy bills because 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 necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Schedule Your Furnace Installation with H&C Heating and Cooling Today
It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why H&C Heating and Cooling experts 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. Get in touch with us at to get started today!