Would you believe that more than half of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s essential to secure 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 illustrates how effective your furnace is at converting 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 Biden Administration recommended new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would substantially reduce emissions, save customers money and promote sustainability.

This proposal is projected 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 updated rule would demand 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"? As of now, not much, as the proposed rule wouldn’t go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and will not affect furnaces that are already in use.

But if you are considering furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are already 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 trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the quantity of energy wasted, improves energy efficiency and lowers carbon-monoxide emissions. It also demands less natural gas to generate 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 that the former uses 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. Generally speaking, a condensing furnace is likely to last between 10-20 years with appropriate 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 a lot more efficient than traditional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy necessary to heat your home, resulting in more savings on your utility bill.

Many 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 Nonstop?

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

When sufficient energy is demanded to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will shift to a higher speed in order to keep up with 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 two-stage furnace is a type of heating system that utilizes two different stages of operation — high and low. In the low stage, the furnace operates at a reduced capacity to help maintain the preferred temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead run at maximum capacity to meet demands for increased heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can experience enhanced energy efficiency and comfortable temperatures throughout 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 won’t run all the time. In the low stage of operation, the furnace performs at limited capacity in order to retain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When additional energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the heating system 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.

Comparing 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 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 maximum capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can work at a variety of speeds in order to maintain a more precise 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 capacity or not at all. In other words, the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired comfort level at home.

Conversely, 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 the desired temperature more efficiently. When additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Arrange Your Furnace Install Appointment with Comfort Zone, LLC Today

Modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Comfort Zone, LLC 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 right solution. Get in touch with us at 239-214-0411 to get started today!