Would you believe that more than 50% of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? This is why it’s critical to secure 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 illustrates 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 generating heat.

In 2022, the U.S. government devised new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly reduce emissions, save homeowners money and stimulate sustainability.

These revised standards are anticipated to:

  • Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
  • Lower 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 updated rule would demand all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would turn nearly 100% of the gas into usable heat.

Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? For the time being, not much, 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 you need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and available. Learn how these furnaces can help you save on energy bills now.

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 limits the quantity of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also demands less natural gas to produce the same rate 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 collect any wasted heat from its exhaust gases, while the latter does not.

How Long Condensing Furnaces Last

The life span of a condensing furnace depends on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If you don’t schedule routine maintenance, the equipment may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.

Why Condensing Furnaces Are More Expensive

Generally, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is much 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 a handful 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 operate all the time. Alternatively, it runs at different speeds based on the temperature in your Narvon home as well as the amount of energy it needs to reach that temperature.

When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your preferred temperature level, the furnace will increase to a higher speed in order to keep up with 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. In the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the preferred temperature in your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead operate at full capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience enhanced energy efficiency and stable temperatures all across your home.

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

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Operate 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 sustain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to sustain the set temperature, the unit shifts to its high stage and operates at full capacity. Because of this, 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 functionality, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace works at reduced capacity to help uphold a desired temperature within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is needed, the furnace will switch to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can operate at several speeds in order to maintain a comfortable temperature at home. As such, variable-speed furnaces offer greater savings on your utility bills .

Differences Between One- and Two-Stage Furnaces

One-stage furnaces have a single stage fan speed and operate either at full capacity or not at all. Consequently, the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired comfort level within your home.

Two-stage furnaces, by comparison, have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace runs at reduced capacity in order to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently. When more warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.

Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Ameri-Tec Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Ameri-Tec professionals 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 717-479-4950 to get started today!