Where you aware that more than 50 percent of your home’s energy costs are for your heating and cooling? That’s why it’s so important to have 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 measures how effective your furnace is at combusting natural gas into heat. An AFUE rating of 80% means your furnace loses about 20% of the fuel it uses while producing heat.

In 2022, President Biden proposed new energy-efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces that would significantly lower emissions, save consumers money and stimulate sustainability.

These revised standards are projected to:

  • Save Americans $1.9 billion annually.
  • Reduce 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 proposed rule would require all new gas furnaces to feature AFUE ratings of 95%. This means furnaces would combust 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, next to nothing, as the proposed rule will not go into effect until 2029 at the earliest and doesn’t affect furnaces that are already in use.

But if you need furnace replacement in soon, highly energy-efficient furnaces are ready and 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 type of heating system that uses a secondary heat exchanger to trap wasted heat from the furnace's exhaust gases. This reduces the amount of energy wasted, enhances energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. It also demands less natural gas to generate the same volume of heat in comparison to other types of furnaces.

How Condensing Furnaces Differ from Non-Condensing Furnaces

The biggest 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.

Expected Longevity of a Condensing Furnace

The life span of a condensing furnace is dependent on the brand, model and other factors. In most cases, a condensing furnace will last between 10-20 years with appropriate maintenance and regular service. If you put off scheduled maintenance, the unit may struggle to perform as well, ultimately failing earlier than anticipated.

Why Condensing Furnaces Require a Higher Investment

Generally, condensing furnaces are more require a large upfront cost than non-condensing furnaces. This is because of their increased efficiency and the additional hardware required to capture any wasted heat from its exhaust gases. However, the bonus energy savings can help cover the price of purchase. So ultimately, it may be worth investing in a condensing furnace.

Guide to Variable-Speed Furnaces

Variable-Speed Furnaces: What Are They and How Do They Work?

A variable-speed furnace can vary its fan speed to minimize the energy necessary to satisfy the heating preferences of your home. It runs at a slower speed until it notices a drop in temperature and then speeds up to produce more heat. This [precise fan is much more efficient than conventional furnaces, as it only consumes the minimum amount of energy required to heat your home, which  subsequently saves money on your utility bills.

Most 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 run all the time. Rather, it runs at different speeds based on the temperature in your Streamwood home as well as the amount of energy it needs to sustain that temperature.

When sufficient energy is necessary to maintain your set temperature level, the furnace will switch to a higher speed to manage the higher demand. This allows for 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 runs at a reduced capacity in order to maintain the chosen temperature for your home more efficiently. During the high stage, the furnace will instead function at peak capacity to satisfy demands for more heat. With a two-stage furnace, you can enjoy improved energy efficiency and consistent temperatures throughout your home.

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

Does a Two-Stage Furnace Run All the Time?

A two-stage furnace should not run constantly. In the low stage of operation, the furnace operates at reduced capacity in order to sustain a desired temperature more efficiently within your home. When more energy is needed to maintain the set temperature, the heating system will switch to its high stage and runs 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 operation, low and high. During the low stage, the furnace works at reduced capacity to help maintain a desired level of comfort within your home. When additional warmth or cooling is desired, the furnace will shift to its high stage and operate at peak capacity.

Variable-speed furnaces, meanwhile, can run at several 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. This means that the furnace is always running in order to maintain a desired level of comfort at 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 additional warmth or cooling is necessary, the furnace will change over to its high stage and operate at full capacity.

Schedule Your Furnace Installation with Pure Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning Today

Making sense of modern furnace technology can be confusing. That’s why Pure Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning professionals are here to help with a no-obligation, no-pressure quote for furnace installation. We’ll assess your home, your heating needs and your budget before helping you find the ideal solution. Call us at 630-313-2509 to get started today!