Would you believe that more than 50% of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s essential to maintain 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 calculates how effective your furnace is at turning natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace wastes about 20% of the fuel it uses while creating heat.

In 2022, the U.S. government devised new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly decrease emissions, save consumers money and encourage sustainability.

These revised 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 annually.

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.

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 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 help you save on energy bills now.

Guide to Condensing Furnaces

How Condensing Furnaces Work

A condensing furnace is a type of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to capture wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This limits the amount of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also demands less natural gas to create the same amount of heat when 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 condensing models use a secondary heat exchanger to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.

How Long Condensing Furnaces Last

The life span of a condensing furnace will depend on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, it 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 standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy needed to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.

The majority of 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. Instead, it runs at different speeds according to the temperature in your Ames home as well as the amount of energy it needs to sustain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your preferred temperature level, the furnace will shift to a higher speed to manage the higher 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 runs at a reduced capacity to help 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 more heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can maintain improved energy efficiency and steady temperatures everywhere in your home.

While two-stage furnaces are extremely efficient, not all all models 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 reduced capacity in order to retain a preferred temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit will switch to its high stage and operates at full capacity. Because of this, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.

Comparing 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 in order to uphold 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 operate at a variety of speeds in order to uphold a more precise 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 comfort level within your 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 reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Haselhoff Air Solutions Today

Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Haselhoff Air Solutions experts 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 best solution. Call us at 515-450-8739 to get started today!