Did you know that more than half of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? This is the reason why it’s essential 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 measures 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 creating 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 expected to:

  • Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
  • Cut 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 each year.

Starting in 2029, the proposed 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 won'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 ready and available. Find out how these furnaces can lower your monthly energy bills.

Guide to Condensing Furnaces

How Condensing Furnaces Work

A condensing furnace is a kind 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, enhances energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also demands less natural gas to produce the same amount 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 collect 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 is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, the unit may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.

Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment

Typically, condensing furnaces are more require a large upfront cost than non-condensing furnaces. This is on account of their increased efficiency and the extra hardware necessary to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the bonus energy savings can frequently cover the price 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 fine-tune its fan speed to minimize the energy necessary to satisfy the heating preferences of your home. It starts at a slower speed until it senses a drop in temperature and then speeds up to supply more heat. This [precise fan is a lot more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, saving you money in the long run.

The majority of 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 Savage home as well as the amount of energy it requires to sustain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is needed to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will shift 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

As the name suggests, a furnace with two levels of operating (high or low) is called a two-stage furnace. When set to the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the chosen temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain greater energy efficiency and steady temperatures throughout your home.

While two-stage furnaces are extremely efficient, not all all types 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 preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the heating system shifts to its high stage and runs at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are powerful enough to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.

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 runs at reduced capacity as a way to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can function at several 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 capacity or not at all. As a result, the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired temperature within your home.

Two-stage furnaces, by comparison, 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 more warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning Today

Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning professionals 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 best solution. Call us at 952-373-0377 to get started today!