Would you believe that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s so important 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 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, the U.S. government proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly reduce emissions, save customers money and stimulate sustainability.

The updated standards are estimated to:

  • Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
  • Lower carbon emissions by 373 million metric tons and methane emissions by 5.1 million tons over three decades, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit each year.

Starting in 2029, the updated rule would demand all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would convert nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.

With these facts in mind, you may be asking yourself "what happens to my existing furnace"? Currently, very little, as the proposed rule will not go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and doesn’t affect furnaces that are already in use.

But if you need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and available. Learn how these furnaces can lower your monthly energy 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 capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces 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 in comparison 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 capture 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. Usually, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with sufficient maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, it may have a significantly shorter life span.

Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment

Generally, condensing furnaces are more expensive than non-condensing furnaces. This is on account of their increased efficiency and the extra features needed to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the additional energy savings can frequently offset the price of purchase. So over time, it may be worth investing in a condensing furnace.

Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces

Variable-Speed Furnaces: What You Need to Know

A variable-speed furnace can adjust its fan speed to better meet the heating needs of your home. It operates at a slower speed until it detects a drop in temperature and then ramps up to supply more heat. This [precise fan is much more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy necessary to heat your home, saving you money in the long run.

Many variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although a few 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 All the Time?

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

When sufficient energy is needed to maintain your preferred temperature level, the furnace will shift to a higher speed to manage the higher demand. Doing this will ensure 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. On the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity to help maintain the preferred temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to meet demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience improved energy efficiency and comfortable temperatures all across your home.

While two-stage furnaces are extremely efficient, not all all types are condensing furnaces.

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Function All the Time?

A two-stage furnace does not stay on indefinitely. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at limited capacity in order to retain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the heating system shifts to its high stage and operates at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are proven 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 runs at reduced capacity in order to maintain a desired temperature within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can function at multiple speeds in order to keep a comfortable temperature 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 fan speed and operate either at full power or not at all. This means that the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired comfort level at home.

Two-stage furnaces, on the other hand, have two stages of operation, low and high. While in the low stage, the furnace runs at lower capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When more warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Everest Heating & Cooling Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Everest Heating & Cooling professionals are here to help with a no-cost, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating requirements and your budget before helping you find the best solution. Get in touch with us at 913-845-9463 to get started today!