Did you know that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are from your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s critical to have 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 measures 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 creating heat.
In 2022, the Biden Administration recommended new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly reduce emissions, save homeowners money and stimulate sustainability.
The updated standards are anticipated 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 each year.
Starting in 2029, the proposed rule would mandate all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would combust nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.
Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? 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 your furnace is nearing the end of its life and a replacement is needed in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are now available. Learn 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 trap 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 will take less natural gas to generate the same amount of heat in comparison 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 is dependent 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 not last as long.
Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More
Generally, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only consumes 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 a handful 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 Nonstop?
A variable-speed furnace doesn’t run all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your Des Moines home as well as the amount of energy it requires to reach that temperature.
When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will increase to a higher speed to handle the 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 heating system with two settings of operating - high and low - is called a two-stage furnace. When set to the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the preferred temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to meet demands for greater heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain enhanced energy efficiency and comfortable temperatures throughout your home.
While two-stage furnaces are extremely efficient, not all all models are condensing furnaces.
Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate All the Time?
A two-stage furnace won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace runs at limited capacity in order to retain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the unit 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 constantly.
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 works at reduced capacity to help sustain a desired level of comfort within your home. When additional 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 a variety of speeds in order to uphold a desired temperature more consistently 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 of operation and operate either at full power or not at all. In other words, the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired temperature at home.
Conversely, two-stage furnaces 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 desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.
Make Your Furnace Installation Appointment with Heartland Heating & Cooling Today
Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Heartland Heating & Cooling experts are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Call us at 515-344-3579 to get started today!