Did you know that more than half of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s critical 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 illustrates how effective your furnace is at natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.
In 2022, President Biden proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly decrease emissions, save homeowners money and promote sustainability.
These revised standards are anticipated 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 mandate all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would convert nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
So what does all of this mean for your existing furnace in 2023? Currently, next to nothing, 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 you are considering furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already available. Find out 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 trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the extent of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also will take less natural gas to produce the same amount of heat when comparing one 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 condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to capture 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. In most cases, a condensing furnace should last between 10-20 years with sufficient 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
For the most part, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is a lot more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.
Many 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 according to the temperature in your Laurel home as well as the amount of energy it uses to maintain that temperature.
When sufficient energy is required to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed in order to keep up with 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
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 desired temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to meet demands for more heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience improved energy efficiency and comfortable temperatures everywhere in your home.
While two-stage furnaces are exceptionally 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 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 furnace shifts to its high stage and operates at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are powerful enough to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.
Differences Between Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces
Two-stage furnaces have two stages of functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace performs at reduced capacity to help sustain a desired temperature within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can run at several speeds in order to sustain a comfortable 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 of operation and operate either at full power or not at all. As a result, the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired level of comfort 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 capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When additional warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.
Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment 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 specialists 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 best solution. Contact us at 301-960-3247 to get started today!