Did you know that more than one-half of your home’s energy costs are needed for your heating and cooling? This is 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 combusting natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace wastes about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.

In 2022, the U.S. government revealed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would greatly reduce emissions, save homeowners money and encourage 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 30 years, the equivalent of what 61 million homes emit yearly.

Starting in 2029, the proposed 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.

Considering these guidelines, you might be asking yourself what does that mean for my existing furnace? Currently, very little, as the proposed rule won't go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and doesn’t affect furnaces that are already in use.

But if you are considering furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already available. Find out how these furnaces can save you money on your utility 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 collect wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This decreases the amount of energy wasted, increases energy efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions. It also will take 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 gather 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. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance and regular service. If your heating system doesn’t have regular furnace maintenance, the unit may not last as long.

Why Condensing Furnaces Cost More

Generally, condensing furnaces enhanced precision is a lot more efficient than standard, single-speed furnaces, as it only uses the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, which  subsequently saves money on your utility bills.

Many variable-speed furnaces are condensing furnaces, although some 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 operate all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds depending on the temperature in your Zelienople home as well as the amount of energy it requires to reach that temperature.

When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your desired temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to handle the 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. When set to the low stage, the furnace runs at a reduced capacity as a way to maintain the chosen temperature at your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to meet demands for more heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy enhanced energy efficiency and consistent temperatures all across your home.

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

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Function All the Time?

A two-stage furnace won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at diminished capacity in order to maintain a planned temperature more efficiently within your home. When a greater demand for energy is needed to reach the set temperature, the furnace shifts to its high stage and operates at full capacity. As such, two-stage furnaces are proven to help reduce energy costs without operating around the clock.

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 as a way to maintain a desired level of comfort within your home. When a greater demand for warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at maximum capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can operate at multiple speeds in order to maintain a more precise 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 motor and operate either at full capacity or not at all. In other words, the furnace runs constantly 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. 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 peak capacity.

Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Knoechel Heating Today

It takes experience and dedication to stay up to date about furnace technology advancements. That’s why Knoechel Heating experts are here to help with a free, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the right solution. Get in touch with us at 724-425-5852 to get started today!