Where you aware that more than half of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? This is why it’s critical to have an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Furnace efficiency standards were last modified to an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80% in 2015. This rating system calculates how effective your furnace is at combusting natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while generating 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.

This proposal is 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 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 combust nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.

With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to my existing furnace"? As of now, not much, 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. 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 style 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 greenhouse gas emissions. It also demands less natural gas to generate the same amount of heat compared 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 latter does not.

Equipment Lifespan

The life span of a condensing furnace is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, it may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.

Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive

Typically, condensing furnaces are more expensive than non-condensing furnaces. This is partially for their increased efficiency and the added components required to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the additional energy savings can help recoup the price of purchase. So in the long run, it may be worthwhile investing in a condensing furnace.

Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces

Variable-Speed Furnaces: What You Need to Know

A variable-speed furnace can fine-tune 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 supply more heat. This [precise fan is a lot more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only consumes 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 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 Constantly?

A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your Croydon home as well as the amount of energy it needs to maintain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is required to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to handle the demand. Precise fan speeds offer 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. In the low stage, the furnace performs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature in your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to meet demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy greater energy efficiency and stable temperatures everywhere in your home.

While two-stage furnaces are highly efficient, not all all models are condensing furnaces.

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Run All the Time?

A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace runs at diminished capacity in order to retain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the furnace shifts to its high stage and operates at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.

Contrasting 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 to help maintain a desired temperature within your home. When more warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at several speeds in order to maintain 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 fan speed and operate either at full power or not at all. Consequently, 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 reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC Today

Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC specialists are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Call us at 215-741-5505 to get started today!