Where you aware that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? This is the reason why it’s critical to have 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 calculates how effective your furnace is at turning natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace will waste about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.

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

The updated standards are projected to:

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

Starting in 2029, the updated rule would require 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? As of now, very little, as the proposed rule wouldn’t go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and doesn’t 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 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 type of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the quantity of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also involves less natural gas to create the same volume 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 is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. Usually, a condensing furnace should last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the equipment may not last as long.

Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More

Generally, condensing furnaces type of system is much more efficient than standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only utilizes the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, which  subsequently saves money on your utility bills.

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 Nonstop?

A variable-speed furnace doesn’t need to stay on all the time. Instead, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your Covington home as well as the amount of energy it requires to sustain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is required 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 offering 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 operates at a reduced capacity to help maintain the desired temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to satisfy demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy enhanced energy efficiency and comfortable temperatures all across your home.

While two-stage furnaces are highly 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 runs at diminished capacity in order to retain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the furnace switches to its high stage and operates at full capacity. For this reason, two-stage furnaces are able to help reduce energy costs without operating continuously.

Differences Between Two-Stage and Variable-Speed Furnaces

Two-stage furnaces have two stages of operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace performs at reduced capacity in order to sustain a desired temperature within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can function at multiple speeds in order to uphold a comfortable 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 capacity or not at all. In other words, the furnace runs constantly in order to maintain a desired level of comfort at 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 additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.

Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Covington Air Systems Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Covington Air Systems professionals are here to help with a free, no-pressure estimate for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Call us at (770) 462-5319 to get started today!